If casting directors could hunt the perfect talents for the roles in a snap of a finger, that would be an ideal world!

But the reality is - you will need to do some paperwork and some fill-outs before you can hop on a journey of filming with your perfect cast.

Don’t get discouraged, for this we have a solution - a casting sheet! Read through to discover what it is and how to nail a casting call in 8 easy steps!

Newbie at filmmaking? Learn the basics with our ultimate guide on filmmaking.

casting director casting sheet film director

What is a casting sheet?

A casting sheet is a list with a talent’s description for a particular role in a production. Don’t mistake it with the cast list, though - if you’re unsure, explore all about cast lists here!

To help you through the casting process, it has to include some essential information about an actor auditioning for a role:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Address (personal or of agency, if repped)
  • Email (personal or of agency, if repped)
  • Agent (if repped)
  • Willing to be an extra?
  • Ethnicity
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Hair Color
  • Eye Color
  • Chest Size
  • Waist Size
  • Shoe Size
  • Special skills

Don’t forget to ask the actor to include how current headshot and resume.

If they’re filling out the casting sheet by hand, you can ask them to bring the printed headshot and resume with them to the audition.

If you’re offering them to fill it in digitally, then leave some space for a headshot and resume links on Drive or other cloud services.

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8 steps for doing open casting calls

A casting call is an announcement of an open audition. Through casting calls, film directors and producers hunt talents for their upcoming productions.

The casting process only looks easy - in fact, it’s a thorough process that can take months or preparation and approvals to get your final cast list. However, don’t even begin to worry: If you follow these 8 simple steps, you’ll nail your casting process!

And if you want to simplify the process, even more, download our casting sheet template and have your talents fill it in!

Here’s what you have to do to prepare:

1. Know your script in and out

Getting the right actors for the rights part makes it essential for you to know the script almost by heart. You should be able to remember who says what, when, with which attitude and intonation.

It’s important to remember how you want your characters to be portrayed so that when actors come to audition, you can see at an instant if it’s a fit or not.

2. Create a casting breakdown

A casting breakdown is a short bio with the main info about the character - their age, ethnicity, body type, personality, special skills.

It’s written to give actors, agents, and casting directors a better perspective and understanding of the character and potential talent for it.

Keep in mind: when writing a casting breakdown, you need to describe the role, not the actor. List the traits, emotions, and general vibes you’re looking for.

Age and ethnicity are mentioned in your breakdown, but only to give you a standing point as to which age range you’re seeking.

Don’t fixate on this too much: sometimes an actor that is slightly older than his character will be more convincing in portrayal than the one who fits the desired age completely.

3. Scout a casting space

The space where you hunt talents says a lot about you and your production.

Find a clean, spacious, modern studio or another space to make sure you’re perceived as a professional. Don’t try to cut costs on this part if you want to end up with the desired list of actors.

You can hire a casting company that will take care of the space search and rent for you. All you need to do in this case is just send some audition sides - we will explain what those are a bit later in the guide.

If you’re searching for the space yourself, remember that you have to make it comfortable for long lines of actors to wait for their turn.

Thus, look for a big waiting room in your potential audition place.

4. Post a casting notice

Just as you need to promote your product or service when running a business, the same applies to your audition.

No one is going to know it’s happening unless you tell the world about it.

Casting notices are usually sent to agents, posted on dedicated websites like Backstage, and spread through acting schools, if the production is on a budget.

The talent agencies will use your casting call to choose a fitting talent from their database and recommend to you the actors they think are the best for a particular role.

open audition casting sheet casting call film

5. Ensure actors fill out casting sheets

When talents show up to the audition, you have to collect as much information as possible about them - that’s where the casting sheet comes in.

Get your actors to fill it in as precisely as possible. This will save you time when choosing a talent - with a thorough description at your hands, it will be easier to make a choice.

6. Hand over audition sides

Whether you’re having in-person or self-tape auditions (when the talents record their audition and send it), you will need to provide them with audition sides.

These are small samples or dialogues and actions the actor has to perform.
Audition sides feature a part of the screenplay that portrays the essence of a character.

Audition sides showcase the talent’s ability to get into the character’s core. They have to be short and to the point.

7. Record every audition

You can write notes as the audition goes, but a safer and better option is to record the process.

This will help you on a later stage of choosing the right actor for the part - you won’t be able to memorize everyone’s performance.

Designate a mark in the audition room where the talent has to stand, and make sure the camera captures his body fully so that you not only record the facial expressions but also the body language.

8. Setup callbacks

When you are casting, it’s important to see as many talents as possible to broaden the pool of actors to choose from.

It can happen that you might need to call some actors several times and ask them to perform different scenes to ensure that they’re a fit for the role.

Callbacks help to cast directors to narrow their search for the perfect talent and make the right choice.

If the actors you want to set up for a callback appointment are repped, give a call to their agent. If they work independently, call the number they indicated on the casting sheet.

casting sheet free download audition filmmaking

Up next: Explore the pre-production process

Now you’re ready to hand out your casting sheets and find the most Oscar-winner-looking actor for the role!

But wait, is there more to the pre-production process before you’re ready to shoot with your talent dream team?

Actually, yes! Pre-prod is a whole world to explore, and for a filmmaker, it’s vital to understand it as thoroughly as possible.

Dive deep into the 7 essential aspects of pre-production with our ultimate guide!

What is a casting sheet?

A casting sheet is a list with a talent’s description for a particular role in a production.

How do you create a casting sheet?

A casting sheet includes essential information about an actor auditioning for a role. The easiest way to create it is to fill in a casting sheet template.

How do you take notes for an audition?

You can write notes as the audition goes, but a safer and better option is to record the process.

How do you start a casting call?

Notices about casting calls are usually sent to agents, posted on dedicated websites like Backstage, and spread through acting schools, if the production is on a budget.

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