There is an art to casting: it is an essential and often unrecognised element of all film, television and theatre productions. It is also one of the least understood jobs in the industry, largely because it is conducted behind closed doors.

This brand new Certificate course is supported by the CDG (The Casting Directors' Guild of Great Britain & Ireland).

Casting Directors and their associates must have a wide range of skills at their disposal; an encyclopaedic knowledge of actors built up over years, aptitude for interpreting material and understanding how it can be brought to life, instinct about which actors best serve the script  with the ability to articulate and demonstrate the reasons why, a well-developed support system within the industry and financial acumen. Keen observation and organisational skills and the ability to communicate well are paramount to becoming successful in this field.

This new blended learning Certificate course is supported by the CDG (The Casting Directors' Guild of Great Britain & Ireland). From knowledge and experience to building relationships within the industry, this evening course, meeting weekly online with occasional sessions at the NFTS teaching space in London's Golden Square, will teach the elements needed to start your career in casting, with insight from influential Casting Directors and key players in the business.

Masterclasses and Screenings

All NFTS students can attend Masterclasses. Recent guests include David Fincher (Fight Club), Greta Gerwig (Little Women), Steve McQueen (12 Years A Slave), Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz), Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag), Ben Wheatley (Free Fire), Rapman (Blue Story), Louis Theroux, Debra Granik (Winter’s Bone), Denis Villeneuve (Bladerunner 2049), Lynne Ramsay (You Were Never Really Here), Sam Mendes (1917), Asif Kapadia (Senna), Joanna Hogg (The Souvenir), Russell T Davies (Doctor Who) and Roger Deakins (1917).

The School also regularly provides access to screenings and events both in Beaconsfield and London.

Recent credits and successes

Peaky Blinders promo still

Advisory Board member and visiting tutor Shaheen Baig's credits as Casting Director include Peaky Blinders, Yardie, National Treasure, Lady Macbeth and Black Mirror.

Black Mirror Promo Still

Advisory Board member and visiting tutor Jina Jay's credits as Casting Director include Black Mirror, Bird Box, The Night Manager,  Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and The Grand Budapest Hotel.

What you will study

This course has been carefully designed by working Casting Directors to help participants develop the skills needed to jump into a busy office as a Casting Assistant. It takes time to build knowledge of actors and to develop meaningful and supportive relationships within the industry. This course offers rigorous training and insight, arming students with the practical skills and knowledge needed to hit the ground running as an assistant. 

Still from Top Boy

During the course, which runs over 24 weeks and across six modules with a mix of online and face-to-face sessions, students will learn the fundamentals of the entire cycle of casting. From how the role of the Casting Director evolved to the basics of how a casting office works and the differing roles within it. Students will be taught how a project is cast from start to finish: from reading scripts and pitching for a job, to finding, presenting and auditioning actors. You will learn how Casting Directors work effectively with producers and agents, navigate codes of conduct and keep a firm hold of schedules, budgets and deal negotiations, and will learn the basics of British PACT, Equity, Cinema and TV union agreements. From street casting to working with minors, down to how open call auditions are organised, no casting stone is left unturned. In addition, you will be given assistance finding a work experience placement within a Casting Director’s office. 

Pictured: Behind the scenes on Season 1 of Netflix's Top Boy

Module 1 – Casting Fundamentals

The course begins with learning the background of the casting industry. Students will then look at examples of casting in films and TV shows and compare and contrast them. Participants will explore how a casting office works and learn at what stage a Casting Director comes on board a project. You will discover the basics of casting a project from start to finish: reading scripts and pitching for a job, presenting actors, auditioning and closing deals. Getting to know script etiquette and distribution is key, as is knowing what a role breakdown vs a script breakdown is. You will consider how to challenge stereotypes and underwritten roles considerately and carefully.

Module 2 – Actors

Working with actors is a fundamental part of a career in casting. You’ll learn how Casting Directors build their knowledge of actors and their bodies of work and how to best present their ideas to Directors and Producers. You will develop your knowledge across the board distinguishing lead actors to day players to supporting artists. Knowing who’s who is at the heart of casting. While it’s easy to be aware of bankable actors, spotting up and coming talent is one of the most important and rewarding parts of the job. How do you hone this skill and what is the difference between an audition, a pre-audition, a self-tape, a screen test and a chemistry read. You will learn the etiquette behind organising one to one meetings with a Director and actor and the requirements of setting up and ensuring the smooth running of a casting session. Finally, you will look at etiquette and codes of conduct in the workplace: in front of and behind the camera.

Module 3 – Union Agreements and Equal Opportunities

This module takes a step by step look at the myriad unions, guilds and agreements you will need to be familiar with primarily PACT British Equity Film and TV Agreements. You will be armed with information on how to analyse the complex issues around portrayal on screen relating to fair representation of gender, ethnicity, disability and LGBTQ+, ensuring fair representation behind and in front of the camera. You will learn the format of a deal memo,   Special Stipulations for contracts and how they may be applied and used in negotiation by agents and lawyers.

Module 4 – Specialist Fields

This module turns the spotlight on a range of different casting fields from casting for both subsidised and commercial theatre to fringe and regional venues, from street casting and open calls, to commercials and casting children with expert guest speakers who will share their experience, expertise and advice. Students will be given the opportunity to attend a theatre performance and to analyse  and compare the differing demands of casting for the stage with those of other platforms.

Module 5 – Benefits of Training

Module 5 explores the skills needed to work effectively and efficiently and develop your role within a casting office.

Before applying for any work as an assistant in casting you will need to be aware of how the industry operates and have an understanding of the contribution of an assistant. You will create a CV that is accurate and honest to help facilitate your entry into the industry  and learn about resources you should utilise to look for industry vacancies.

Is casting a freelance world? If you land a job that is self-employed and not PAYE you will need to take care of your taxes each year. What are the pay expectations within the industry and how do earnings as an Associate or Assistant vary?

Advice on how to become eligible to join the CDG (Casting Directors Guild) will be provided.

Module 6 – Final Assessment

The six month course culminates with a Final Assessment presentation where you will demonstrate your knowledge and understanding in a real world task which you will present to an industry panel.

The schedule of in person and online sessions will be confirmed in the summer.

Course Leader and Advisory Board

The course leader is Jane Arnell. Jane is a Casting Director whose career has spanned award winning productions across BBC and ITV to independent film and TV projects. Jane has worked with a range of directors from Terence Davies on The Deep Blue Sea to improvised ITV drama Suspects with emerging directors, enabling her to pursue her commitment to nurturing and supporting new talent both in front of and behind the camera.The Initiative for the course came from Jina Jay (Black Mirror, Bird Box) and Shaheen Baig (Peaky Blinders, Free Fire) who will head up an advisory board with others and will deliver special master-classes.

Fees and funding options

Fees for this course are as follows:

Fees for this course are as follows:

Home/EU/EEA £3,450

This course is only open to UK applicants and EU/EEA applicants with EU settlement status.

A non-refundable deposit of £500 is required against the cost of your fees on confirmation of your place.

Scholarship Information

The NFTS wants to encourage applications from the brightest and best talent out there, whatever your background. That’s why we have made scholarship funding available for this course. Six students will receive a full or partial scholarship to undertake the course. You will be invited to apply for a Scholarship should you be offered a place on the course.


Entry requirements

We are looking for people who are passionate about entering the world of casting. It is a tough, competitive field and to be successful it requires excellent communication and collaborative skills, a hunger to get ahead with an awareness of the discretion and sensitivity essential to the casting process. You will have strong opinions on writing you admire across film, TV, theatre and non-traditional formats and be able to articulate the reasons why. You should have a good general education, but no other specific educational requirements or casting experience are needed for this course. You need to be 18 years or over. Application to the course is competitive.

How to apply

Application deadline: 23 Jun 2022

In addition to completing the online application form, applicants must submit the following:

  • Please tell us about any relevant experience you may already have, if any, in theatre/film/TV. (300 words max.)
  • What characteristics do you have that you think make you a good Casting Director? (300 words max.)
  • Summarise a film or TV show that exhibits exceptional casting. (300 words max.)
  • Video applications may be accepted in the place of the above written statements. Please include the link in the first textbox field if this is your preferred option.

You can apply online by clicking on BEGIN YOUR APPLICATION below. We are happy to receive applications at any time up until the midnight of the application deadline date.

Begin your application