Virtual auditions can be both a blessing and a curse. Having the ability to record multiple takes relieves the stress of having to do everything right the first time, but there are some issues that you normally don’t have to worry about in a live audition. Here are the steps you need to take to create the perfect audition video.
Choose the Right Location to Shoot Your Audition Video
Find a room that allows you to be the center of attention. The walls and any visible furniture should be plain so they don’t distract from your performance. Be sure you have room to move, especially if you are auditioning as a model or dancer. Filming your audition on a stage at a school or church is a great option, but if you don’t have access to a stage, an open room in your home is fine. Clear anyone out of the room who isn’t filming you, including pets.
The room should have ample lighting, and the lighting should be in front of you, not behind you. If the room has windows with natural light, be sure they light up your face, not cause you to be in the shadows.
Record Your Video in the Proper Orientation
Because we hold our phones vertically to do most things, it’s natural to want to shoot video with your phone in the vertical, or portrait, position too. However, it is much better to record your audition holding your phone horizontally, or in the landscape position.
Casting directors and talent scouts will most likely be reviewing auditions on a monitor, and videos shot vertically stay centered in a larger screen with empty black space on each side. Horizontal recordings can expand to fit the screen. The same is true for virtual talent expos that are viewed online.
Be Prepared and Look the Part
If you are auditioning for an acting part, it is important to have your script memorized. The same goes for singers—you should be singing from memory, not a page of music in front of you. If you need a script to memorize, you can find TV commercial scripts at info.discoveryspotlight.com/commercialscripts and free monologues at www.whysanity.net/monos.
Just because you are auditioning remotely does not mean you should look less than your best. Choose an outfit that is flattering but not so flashy that it detracts from your performance or personality. Apply your makeup, then look at yourself through the camera on the phone to see how it will appear in the video. While you may not need to use quite as much makeup as you would on stage, you will still want to accentuate your features.
If your performance would be enhanced by props, feel free to include them; just be sure they don’t overshadow the real star of the show—you.
Shooting the Audition Video
Have a friend or family member shoot the video, or use a tripod to hold your phone. Using a ring light with a stand and phone holder provides great lighting for the video and holds your phone steady during recording. Ring lights are readily available online and very affordable.
Again, be sure your phone is held or mounted to the tripod horizontally, not vertically. The video should be filmed at your eye level, not angled up or down.
Even if you are auditioning for a dramatic role, it’s still important to smile at the beginning of the video. Look directly into the camera, and start by introducing yourself, pausing between your first and last name so the viewer can hear how it is pronounced. If you are under the age of 18, state your age. Tell where you are from and an interesting fact about yourself or previous experience that may set you apart from the competition.
Take a moment to collect yourself, then start your performance.
Models: Walk between 10 and 15 full strides with nice posture, looking straight forward. Once you get to the end, pause for two seconds, look forward, to the left, and to the right, showing off both sides of your face. Look straight ahead again for two seconds, take a step back to turn around, and walk back to your starting position. Turn around to face the camera and smile. Children can smile the entire time or as much as feels natural.
Actors: Record your commercial or public service announcement (30-45 seconds max) or monologue (60 seconds max). Monologues can be dramatic or comedic. Commercials should be filmed from the chest up while standing in one spot. Monologues can be more of a full-body shot, and you can move around the room within about a 10-foot radius.
Singers and dancers: Your audition should be around two minutes long and be age-appropriate. Singers can usually play an approved instrument as accompaniment or provide a background track for music. Recorded music should be karaoke style without any lead vocals and should not include curse words. Dancers should use recorded music and perform the style of dance that best showcases your talent.
When your performance is complete, smile again, thank the viewer, and wish them well on their project.
Submitting an Audition Video
Every agency has its own preferred method of how to receive recorded auditions. For example, some may require you to email the video directly to them, while others may prefer to have you post it on a private YouTube channel. Send it exactly the way they request, even if it is not your normal way of submitting an audition. If an agency offers to give you feedback on your audition before it gets submitted to a casting director or talent scout, take advantage of it and send your video early so you have time to make changes if needed.
Like it or not, virtual auditions are here to stay, so make the most of them and submit the best video possible with these tips.