The Tepper Semeter Program in Casting is an unparalleled look inside the world of Casting Directors. I had the opportunity to work side by side with some of best in NYC while seeing over 30 Broadway and Off-Broadway shows. It was such a thrill to see a show knowing that I was exposed to the process of casting the actors on stage and the program really solidified my desire to be a part of this industry.”
Casting Student, Ebony Hardin, 2012

Program Casting Apprenticeship Program

Syracuse University's Department of Drama and Casting Society of America have formed a new premier training program

As the casting director's contribution to film, television and theater becomes ever more acknowledged by the Entertainment Industry, it is natural that the same should be true of the profession itself. In an ongoing effort to maintain a high standard of professionalism and artistic integrity within the field, the Casting Society of America (CSA) and the Syracuse University Department of Drama's Tepper Semester have constructed a unique, premier apprenticeship and training program for college and graduate students. In the changing climate of the modern business model, we feel a responsibility, as professionals and educators, to foster the next generation by identifying, developing and training a select group of young people who show a unique aptitude and keen interest in casting for film, television and/or theatre.

Program Overview

Throughout the course of this exceptional new casting semester, designed in collaboration with the Casting Society of America (CSA), students will participate in a unique apprenticeship program. Students will be selected and placed into a participating NYC casting office to work full-time (4 days a week) as defined by the Tepper program. The selected students will assist that casting director and her/his staff in day-to-day office operations. Student casting apprentices will be active in the preparation for and will observe all aspects of the casting process - creative and business alike - for a film, television, and/or theatre production, as designated by the casting director. They will actively serve the office as instructed where the level of involvement is of most educational benefit.

This apprenticeship is intended to be an intensive, hands-on study. While each apprenticeship will be distinctly structured by the individual participating casting offices, all student casting apprentices will be called upon to assist in preparing and delivering casting sessions. Participants will be given tasks where responsibility, smart listening and acumen are required. They will be developing skills such as script and character analysis and will assist in scheduling while being exposed to the professional business and creative abilities that a casting director needs in order to be employable and valuable to a production. They will be exposed to what it takes to evaluate a resume and to learn why or why not an actor was a smart selection for an audition. They will interface with assorted industry representatives, producers and actors and will be expected to present the most professional image for that casting office. Apprentices will begin to establish and create new professional industry relationships with all departments and parties involved in on-camera and/or theatrical casting, and will also attend a regularly scheduled meeting with the executive casting director to deepen the educational aspect of this mentorship.

In addition to the in-depth apprenticeship, students will take a series of classes as a part of their immersion experience, while participating in the New York City Program. The 15-credit curriculum (6 credits of classes and 9 credits of independent study apprenticeship) includes seeing up to 28 Broadway and Off-Broadway shows along with a theater analysis class and an Advanced Directing Scene Study class - from a casting perspective. The core curriculum is rounded out with master classes and cultural/museum field trips.

By the end of this apprenticeship program, students will understand the fundamentals of:

  • Character and script analysis for the purpose of casting
  • How to serve a director's vision and needs for the characters
  • Systems and technologies used in preparation for auditions and evaluating submissions and auditions

While the individual strengths, interests and preferences of each applicant will be taken into consideration, placement in a casting office will be evaluated and ultimately decided upon by a committee of the Casting Society of America (CSA).

Curriculum

  • DRA 451: Theater Immersion and Analysis
    As a part of the class students attend up to 28 Broadway and off-Broadway shows
  • DRA 390: Independent Study
    Apprenticeship in a professional casting office
  • DRA 531: Advanced Directing
    Scene Study from a Casting perspective

In addition to the core curriculum students will participate in:

  • Master classes with professionals in the entertainment and theater community, including exposure to Tech Expo classes. The students will gain an essential education on key technical devices as well as software programs specific to the profession of casting.

Museum and Field Trip Fridays:

  • Students will participate in activities and field trips that expose them to the cultural resources of NYC. On-going activities include: a weekly trip to a museum, tours of Broadway and/or off-Broadway theaters and special events at New York City Theaters.

Eligibility/Application

The Casting Director program will be open to Syracuse University students as well as eligible students from other universities and colleges.

Students will be chosen via application and an interview process. An interview committee will include professional members of the Casting Society of America and the Syracuse University Department of Drama.