A little over a decade ago, the self taped audition started making an appearance. With today’s accessible technology, it is more prevalent than ever.
In fact, I’ve never even met my Des Moines based agent, Steve Meyers, in person. We had a Skype interview a few years back and I’ve been self taping auditions for him since.
He gave us some key takeaways that might seem obvious, but he said that actors continually make the same mistakes…
1) Stand in Front of a Blank Wall or Screen.
We reviewed several auditions that had distracting items in the background. It’s best to just find a solid colored wall (or use a screen or sheet).
As far as color, it’s preferred to have a muted white, blue or grey. These colors help the performer pop out in front so all the focus will be on him/her.
Speaking of distracting items in the background, we also noticed harsh shadows in a few of the videos. I suggest getting an affordable lighting kit from Amazon. I use this set all the time and it works wonders.
2) Shoot the Video Landscape vs. Vertical
This should be common knowledge, but make sure to shoot your self tapes landscape (aka horizontal). Many casting directors still receive vertical auditions… If you send one in, you will come off as an amateur. DO NOT SHOOT VERTICAL. -NO EXCEPTIONS-.
3) Use a Tripod
You should always use a tripod. ALWAYS. We watched some handheld auditions, and although they tried to steady the camera, there’s always some shake, and it distracts from the performance.
You can get a decent tripod for under 30 bucks retail, or you can try your luck finding a used one at a thrift store. That’s what I did. I found a heavy duty tripod for 8 bucks at a local Goodwill.
4) Use A Reader
If your sides include dialogue, use a reader! Not just any reader, try to find a decent actor. A bad reader can really ruin the audition tape… I’ve had the unfortunate luck of using family members and it really didn’t do any good.
If you don’t have a reader with you, you can get another actor to read with you via Skype. Check out THIS Facebook Page. There are tons of actors in this group willing to Skype in and read with you.
Make sure to pay it forward and help other actors by reading for them. It’s a great way to network as well as get some extra practice.
5) Memorize Your Lines
If you have the time, I suggest you memorize your lines. It’s not required, but if you’re off book, it’ll give you freedom and the ability to be in the moment.
You’ll be able adjust your performance in a natural, conversational way, and it’ll come off as honest and real. This is the foundation for giving a solid audition.
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