Talent Director: Employment Info & Requirements

A talent director works with a director to help select actors to appear in an entertainment program. Read further to learn more details about entering this profession, including the education and skills required, as well as the salary and career outlook.

Career Definition for Talent Directors

Also known as a casting director or artistic director, a talent director reviews resumes; takes photographs and clips of prospective actors; conducts casting calls, auditions and interviews; and maintains files of applicants. Higher-profile cast positions are typically chosen by the director from a slate of candidates compiled and presented by the talent director.

Education Bachelor's degree in the fine arts or business recommended; experience in the field preferred
Job Skills Communication and interpersonal skills, organization and information processing skills, recognition of talent and skills for specific roles
Median Annual Salary (2017) $71,620 (all types of producers and directors)*
Job Growth (2016-2026) 12% (all types of producers and directors)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational Overview

Requirements vary considerably, depending upon the project and budget. A bachelor's degree in the fine arts, particularly in media production or the visual arts, provides a useful background for the entertainment industry; however, with or without a formal degree, on-the-job experience with movie, television, stage, or radio production is crucial. A degree in business is also useful for talent directors who hope to manage their own agencies. Also, professional organizations, such as the Casting Society of America (CSA), are available for eligible talent directors. While membership isn't required, it is recommended for resource and networking opportunities.

Skills Required

The ability to work with people is key to talent management: the talent director must work well with the director, as well as communicate effectively with large numbers of actors. Good organizational skills are required to conduct casting calls and auditions, and a talent director must quickly and decisively record, recover, and process large amounts of information. Special talents, such as the ability to recognize acting potential or an eye for subtle character traits, are invaluable.

Career and Economic Outlook

A talent director's economic success depends greatly on the jobs acquired, the budget for each, and the deals cut. While established agencies in production-rich locales like Hollywood or New York can afford to support a large, well-paid staff, aspiring talent directors in locales with fewer production opportunities may find the competition for jobs quite challenging and earnings sparse. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in May 2017, the median annual salary for producers and directors was $71,620, and jobs in the field were projected to grow by 12% from 2016-2026.

Alternate Career Options

Art Directors

A career as an art director generally requires a bachelor's degree in a fine arts or design subject. These professionals oversee visual layouts for various media projects in print, film, and product design. These individuals also supervise others on the design team and generally have work experience in some type of art production. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the median annual salary for art directors in May 2017 was $92,500, and the job growth rate was predicted to be about average from 2016-2026 at 5%.

Actor

A faster-than-average employment growth rate of 12% was anticipated for actors, who often work part-time and earned a median hourly pay of $17.49 in 2017, according to the BLS. Although a degree isn't usually required, many aspiring actors who portray fictional characters in film, theater, and television complete some formal courses in drama or film.


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