According to media critics a great film is a lot like a fantastic meal. In the process, crew cooks the meal, the director supervises the entire process, actors present it to the customer and walks away with the accolades. If we visit the backside of the pantry one can find unacknowledged people wearing content smiles on their faces. These are people in industry who burn mid-night oil and search for special ingredients, unknown spices and untried veggies which bring together the sumptuous meal known in the industry as casting agents.
Casting agents have critical role to play in Media and Entertainment industry. They organise and facilitate the casting of actor for all the roles in movies, TV soaps, music and corporate videos etc. Casting agents works closely with director and producer to understand their requirements and suggests ideal artists for each role, as well as arranges and conducts interviews auditions. For a Casting agent negotiation skills are invaluable for agreeing actors’ fess and arranging terms and conditions of their contracts.
In Bollywood there was a time when casting for roles depended on whims and fancies of the director or even lead actor in the movie. However, things are changing now. The new-age casting agents are fast gaining prominence in the industry by slowly but steadily shaking the foundations of the star system and breaking the tradition of random selection of actors in Indian film industry. Now bigger production houses have institutionalised casting as a part of film making process. Therefore, casting agent as career is also gaining prominence in the market.
There is no formal education required to become a casting agent, but experience is necessary. Normally casting agents begin their careers as casting assistants, interns for talent agencies and production houses. Individuals seeking careers as casting agents can increase their opportunities by completing bachelor's degree programs or taking classes in theatre or film production, acting, or business. Casting agents must have in depth knowledge of new and existing talents. Directors and producers have to be highly selective in order to cast the ideal actor and may be extremely demanding, so it is vital that casting agents are patient and hardworking.
Even though casting as a profession still has a long way to go, casting agents are now gaining better recognition in the industry. Now in India, casting agents are being given credits in the opening title. Directors and producers are beginning to understand that it has its own niche and only professionals can to do the job. This tectonic shift of casting process in Indian Media and Entertainment industry would serve best meal to customer.