There is one person that directors, producers, agents and even writers depend on to get their movie or stage play made: the casting director. Because of their direct involvement with actors and other similar talent types, casting directors are able to supply talent upon demand. They also build their talent pool by posting notices for talent to submit their credentials (photo and resume) for specific projects. Casting directors are paid by the entities that employ them, theatre companies, movie studios, producers and, in some cases, writers. Often, they cast for movies, stage plays and other entertainment projects.
According to Simplyhired.com, the average salary for a casting director is £44,850 annually as of 2011. In New York and Los Angeles, where most movies and stage plays are produced, casting directors earn £52,000 and £49,400 respectively as of 2011. In comparison, Salary.com lists the average salary for casting directors at £37,073 annually as of 2011. Jobs for casting directors in other cities are not as prevalent and annual salaries may be considerably lower than the average salary.
From the Mouth of a Casting Director
In a December 2006 article for Payscale, Los Angeles-based casting director Amy Klein cites several salary figures for casting directors. According to Klein, the weekly salary for starting casting directors is between £227 and £260 per week. With more experience, the salaries for casting directors vary according to project. For independent films, casting directors may receive no upfront payment. Instead, they may receive a percentage of the profits from these films. Klein notes that casting directors for major Hollywood films may earn as much as £65,000 per film. For other feature films, casting directors may earn £3,250 per feature role they cast or £6,500 for a two-week casting session.
For casting directors, specifically in New York or Los Angeles, who wish to receive guaranteed wages and additional perks such as health and pension benefits, they can join Local 399 in Los Angeles and Local 817 in New York. Under both unions, casting directors working for movies must receive £1,625 weekly as of 2009 for the duration of their involvement in the production. Casting directors on television shows earn £1,300 per week as of 2009. Studios that are signatories to the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers must comply with these wages for signatory casting directors.
Outside of the Movies
According to New York film, television and theatre casting director Kristian Sorge, casting directors for theatre and student thesis films may earn as little as £7,800 a year, as of 2011. In a 2007 interview for Goodtaste International, Lamont Pete, casting director for MTV and reality shows such as "Blind Date" and "Fifth Wheel," states that casting directors for reality television shows can make starting salaries between £975 and £1,300 per week.