This one is for all of my current and aspiring actors! Video auditions are a big thing, and if you are acting or hope to become an actor then it is pretty much your job!
It is now the norm to have an actor send in a video audition, and then see them in person for the callback. Heck, I’ve even booked gigs straight from my video audition- one of those being the Musical.ly commercial! This can come with a little pressure, and you definitely have to be self motivated. However, the upside to it is that you do not have to sit in traffic, then wait in the room next to the actor that decided to do push ups right next to you before they went into the audition room. No sharing air with sick people or staring into the face of the nonchalant person on the other side of the table in the audition room. Eek!
I have helped cast projects in the past, and recently finished casting my first play! I received a lot of submissions from a lot of amazing actors. However, one thing that really caught my attention was the amount of actors that sent in video auditions that were super hard to watch.
This is not a hit on their talent by any means, but instead a hit on the lack of knowledge they had for how to properly film an audition video! Another thing that I found interesting was the amount of actors that paid someone to do their audition videos. I found this alarming because as an actor that is asked to send in video auditions on weekly basis, I can’t imagine what that cost would look like if I were paying someone to film for me.
I want to share with you a few pointers to help you out the next time you are asked to film a video audition!
1. FOR PHONES: GO HORIZONTAL
It is totally okay to use your smart phone for video auditions. Obviously your Moto Razor or Sidekick won’t do the trick, but any other recent phone should work just fine. Just make sure that you film with the phone horizontal and not vertical. Filming vertical gives you those weird lines on the side, while horizontal gives it more of a cinematic look and feel.
2. INVEST IN LIGHTS
I try my best to film my video auditions during the day because my living room has big windows on every wall. However, sometimes the sun decides to set before I am ready to film. Luckily, a few years back I invested in a pair of soft-box lights. They are not expensive and they definitely come in handy when I need a little extra lighting. Believe me when I tell you that a good light can totally change the look and feel of your audition video. Even with a newer phone, your audition video can still look crappy in low light! You can find the lights I use here. They are not expensive, they are durable, and even come with a nice carrying case! Your career is an investment! Don’t be hesitant to spend a few bucks on lights. The quality of your video auditions may be the reason behind not being cast. Can’t cast what can’t be seen.
3. GET RID OF CLUTTER AND NOISE
Find a quiet place in your humble abode and make sure it is not surrounded by books, diapers, or your old VHS collection. You will need a blank background. I was super surprised at the number of actors that I received video auditions from that were in their living room surrounded by grandma’s nic nacs and homemade cookies. Seriously though, find a blank wall or put up a blank sheet if you have a wall with a lot of decor. If you are super serious about the craft then set aside a certain place in your home and deem it the place where you do your video auditions. Leave it ready for you to film. Not only does that send positive affirmations to the Universe, it also keeps you ready-and being ready is a good start to being cast!
No extra noise! The casting director thinks it’s cute that you have a new baby boy but they don’t want to hear him in your video audition.
4. KNOW THE LINES
Memorize the lines. Unless it is an extremely quick turn around, there is no reason to not know the lines. If you don’t memorize them, someone else will, and Ms. Someone Else will book the gig! That is all. Next tip.
5. HAVE A READER
Prefer to live in solitude and don’t have a friend to be a reader? Don’t worry, I’ve got an answer for that too. Record the other character’s lines and leave time in between for you to say your character’s lines. Play the recording from another device while you record your video audition. Pow! You are now your own reader (cue Me, Myself, and I by Beyonce)! I have also heard of people calling someone on the phone and placing them on speaker to read the other character’s lines. You have options, just don’t choose the option where you only read your lines and react to the thought of the other character’s lines in your head. Just. Don’t.
I hope that at least one of these tips is able to help you the next time you prepare to film a video audition. There are a ton of ideas and tips that can be used to make sure that your video audition stands out above the rest. Feel free to comment the tips that you use! I am sure they can help someone!