top of page

How To Cast Actors In Tokyo

Ok so lets say you’re shooting a movie or something in Japan, specially Tokyo and you need some actors. What do you do?

Use Facebook. It might seem weird but in Tokyo there are very good Facebook groups dedicated to acting, filmmaking, many things. There really isn’t a “LA Casting” or “Backstage” type of service in Tokyo that I know of.

The Facebook groups I found that helped me the most are,

“Japan-based Filmmakers & Actors” (English and Japanese language)

“映像映画関係フリーランス自己紹介” (Japanese language group)

*You can also use Craigslist but its not as popular as the Facebook group so you wont find as many actors.

In Japan most actors, Japanese and non Japanese belong to an agency and there are hundreds of them. That’s how they do things in Japan. The pros of contacting an agency is that they make it easy to find the exact type of actor you’re looking for and the actors have professional experience. The downside is they charge you for everything, require a lot of paper work and have a lot of rules.

However it is worth calling or emailing them, they might be able to help you a lot.

To search in Japanese for talent agency’s use this key word it means “Entertainment talent”

” 芸能タレント”


Lets take it a few steps further and ill show you how the casting process works. When looking for a person or actor use these details and messages to help you articulate your project.

Casting Notice Example 1

Casting Actors for a __________ about an (or for) ______ **We are looking for a man or women age 21-30 for the Lead Role** **And men age 25-40 for supporting roles** **(what ever else)** Shooting starts Mid January Experience and skill of all kind are encouraged to apply. Please send email with head shot and resume to __________________ *Paid gig*

Casting Notice Example 2

Project Information

We are casting for an ______ to be shot in the NY and Tokyo area starting early March 2022.

The film is a Crime Thriller titled “______________”, written by ___________

Please submit a video audition, head shot and a message to the email [____________________________] Please specify what role you are applying for. Experience and skill of all kind are encouraged to apply.

Submission deadline is April 2, 2021.

Movie Synopsis

The daily routine of a cocaine dealer, Lee-Lee, goes wrong when he has a vision of his friends betraying and murdering him. Lee finds himself in the middle of a huge conflict that will either make him rich or cost him his life.

Casting Notice Example 3

Production title: Happy Happy Joy Joy Union / Non-Union: Non-Union Production Type: Independent Film Project length: ________ (90 minutes) Project format: 16:9 Posted on: Friday, February 13, 2021 Production location: _________ Production Company: Big & Bad Company website: _________ Director: _________ Casting Director: _____________

Audition Location: Bing studios & Online/ Virtual submission Email: ___________ Compensation: $125/day


Auditions: Please submit online from February 13, 2021 to April 2, 2021 Call Backs: February 25 - April 15th Shooting Starts: Mar 1, 2022 Shooting Ends: June 1, 2022

Synopsis: The daily routine of a cocaine dealer, Lee-Lee, goes wrong when he has a vision of his friends betraying and murdering him. Lee-Lee finds himself in the middle of a brawl that will either make him rich or cost him his life.

*Before you put up the casting call it’s a good idea to have a character biography for the fictional character you are casting for. These bios can be as long or short as you want but generally have what they look like and a little bit of their personality. For example….

Character BIOS


-Ichika only cares about herself. She feels powerful when she is mean to people.

- She is a tall girl with long hair who likes to wear pink. Ichika is spoiled and does not think far into the future.

- She ran away from home when she was 20 and rarely speaks to her family.

OR, like this.


Muscular, martial arts background, arrogant. Lee likes to fight and doesn’t let anyone tell him what to do. He is young and foolish and thinks no one can touch him.

He is Impulsive, Cocky and Alert


After you find the actors you want you can send them a message like this.

Acting acceptance letter

Hi ____ thank you for submitting your resume and head shot for the film _______.

You have the right look and experience for this role. We want you to audition for the role of __________.

The Rate for this role is $300 total for 2 days of shooting. Also transportation and lunch will be provided.

We want to start shooting around February 1st and will finish shooting around February 9th.. We will shoot mostly on the weekends, and around your schedule. The shoot days will be short about 5 to 6 hours a day.

Now, we would like you to send us a video audition. Attached is a “scene” with Riku, from the script.

After you send your audition we would like to meet you face to face to talk more about the shooting schedule, fitting for costume, and other details.

If you have any questions at all please let us know.

Thank you,


*Sometimes you have to reject an actor, here is a nice say to say it.

Acting rejection letter

Hi _____,

This is _______ im the Director of the film _____.

Thank you for your submission for ________ . We were fortunate to have many people apply but unfortunately the roles have been filled. I was impressed with your resume and headshot and will keep it on file for future projects.

Thank you for your time and all the best.



Managing the expectation. When dealing with actors the best thing to do is to tell the truth and not over hype anything. “Managing the expectation” is a good skill to have because it can avoid disappointment and keep everyone grounded. Personally I try to undersell it then over deliver the final product. Over delivering can come in the form of good crafty, having a couple rehearsals, being very prepared, giving them a should out on social media, taking lots of pictures of them or anything else to put the actors out there and feel good.


At this point in the casting process you should meet the actor and introduce yourself, talk about the project a little bit and get to the person you’re casting. Do you have similar interests? Do you feel good talking to them? What’s their shirt and pants size? Is the wardrobe for the movie going to be supplied or do they bring their own? Do they have any questions?

The next step is to have a rehearsal with more then 1 actor and have them read the scenes together. Depending on the size and length of the project one or two rehearsals might be all you need. The actors can also meet on their own without you, if they want more practice, but they usually set this up themselves.

The last step is to shoot the damn thing. Make their call times later then the crews and also allow them one hour to prepare before you start shooting. Have some snacks ready for everyone and a nice lunch ready for the crew and cast and your shoot will go very well.


An overlooked detail about your shoot, especially with actors is the “wrap time”. The wrap time, to me, is more important than the “call time”. People usually don’t mind getting to set early as long as they know they can leave by 7pm or whatever time you say. It’s when the shooting goes for an extra 2 or 3 hours that people get pissed.

Sometimes you don’t have the luxury of going for an extra hour but sometimes directors do and try to push it and at the very end it falls apart and everyone gets mad especially the actors. As the director you have to bite the bullet and when the wrap time comes, if you can finish in the next 15 minutes, end it. It’s not easy but if you don’t your cast and crew might not want to work with you again and If you have another day of shooting they will come to set pissed and not stay long again.


My final thoughts are to be truthful and realistic, treat the actors like a professional or a friend, cast people you can easily talk to and get along with and have all the information ready. Casting is important and it’s a skill that can learned, you just have to try. Try it once with 1 actor and see how it goes, then try it again with 2 actors. Then try acting yourself. You will be surprised by how easy/fun/difficult it is.

On a side note if you need help casting in the Tokyo, LA or NY you can contact me I can help you find an actor. And if you need Tokyo Camera Rentals we got that too. Who’s your favorite actor?

41 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page