Casting Through the Actor's Lens with Backstage


By Assemble

May 1, 2023

Backstage recently joined us to share their decades of experience in casting and how to position your casting outreach to attract the top talent for your film. Check out this live workshop below to learn more about running a top notch casting process.

Backstage has also created their own casting notice template, which you can access for free below. This casting notice template includes all of the details you need to professionally publish a casting notice, and is fully customizable so you can adapt it to your project needs.

casting notice template

Casting Notice Template

Use Backstage's casting notice template to outline the roles for your film and attract top talent.

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View the live workshop here:


00:00 The webinar begins with an overview of Backstage's history, starting as a magazine in the 1960s and evolving into an online platform. The focus is on empowering actors through digital tools, allowing them to be more selective in the casting process. The goal is to help creators view casting from the actor's perspective.

01:23 Nate from Assemble discusses a customized template created in collaboration with Backstage for casting breakdowns. Assemble is introduced as a project management tool, emphasizing its document creation features. The Backstage casting notice template within Assemble is highlighted as a tool for future projects.

04:06 Jerry elaborates on the details required for a casting breakdown, emphasizing the importance of a compelling project title, project type, production company details, and union status. Key considerations include a clear production synopsis, payment information transparency, NDA contracts, and specific union agreements.

09:00 The focus shifts to individual role details within the template. Jerry advises on providing a name for each role, focusing on character traits over physical attributes, specifying role type, gender identity, age range, ethnicity, and skills. Sensitivity to scenes involving nudity, intimacy, violence, or stunts is highlighted, urging transparency to attract suitable talent.

13:00 Casting Minors: Specify age and consider legal work hours due to child labor laws. Tip: Cast someone older who looks the part to avoid child labor laws.

13:40 Crafting Breakdowns: Emphasize personality traits over physical descriptions. Avoid discriminatory language (racism, sexism) in character descriptions.

14:30 Inclusive Casting: Consider a broad age range, include all ethnicities, genders, and abilities. Specify openness to special accommodations.

15:30 Attracting Talent: Pay industry rates, include various project types, mention the creative team's legitimacy, and provide clear project descriptions.

17:37 Transparency: Be specific about stunts, nudity, or violence in project descriptions. Respect performers' time when requesting self-tapes.

18:30 Audition Structure: Start with self-tapes, followed by virtual callbacks and in-person chemistry reads for top choices.

20:50 Audition Day Scheduling: Plan breaks, allow time for unexpected delays, and use tools like Backstage's scheduling tool for a streamlined process.

22:00 Audition Basics: Greet actors warmly, allow run-throughs, provide as-if directions, and create a collaborative environment.

25:50 Backstage Offer: Use code "assembleVIP" to post unlimited casting breakdowns on Backstage. Also, a 20% discount on with the code "backstage."

26:20 Q&A: Questions discussed included being specific about age in casting calls and integrating tips into Assemble for collaboration.

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