2nd January 2023
Top 10 Best American Playwrights
9th September 2021
What springs to mind when hearing ‘video audition’? Perhaps you’ve seen on Youtube viral videos of famous actors’ video auditions, also known as self-tapes, of them auditioning for the major roles they would later land. In this article we’ll be delving into what a video audition entails and how to do a good video audition, breaking down what to wear and even recommending the best video camera to use.
Join us for the top tips on how to do a good video audition for movies. Lights, camera…action!
Video auditions are what many actors and casting directors refer to when an audition is done through digital casting rather than trying out in person. In a video audition performers will be sent instructions such as scripts to read and general details of the character/project beforehand. It is then the performer’s responsibility to make, edit and send their video audition tape back, in the hope they are the right fit.
With the constant development of technology, video auditions for movies are on the rise. Video auditions allow the casting director to instantly see an actor for a role who may not be living in the same area at the time. This means location doesn’t limit an actor and they can be considered for a much larger variety of roles. However, this self-tape submission needs to look and sound professional so we’ve got ten tips to share on how to do a good video audition!
Always begin by reading the instructions carefully for your self-tape submission and double-check all the specifics the casting director requires. Some directors will ask for a slate before the audition clip (a ‘slate’ or ‘slating’ is the industry term for introducing yourself in an audition, which often includes your name, height and location). Check some technical aspects too like what framing is required, how to upload the video audition and when is the deadline to have sent off your video.
You don’t need to have top-end recording equipment to capture a good video audition, all casting directors expect from you is a good quality film that has good sound, lighting, accurate colour and a decent focus that allows them to see you. You can use your smartphone if it has a good camera and microphone, however, if you do want to take it to the next level and are willing to invest in a DSLR of your own, some recommended options to try are the Canon EOS Rebel T7i, the Nikon D3300 and the Panasonic Lumix G7 4K.
You will also need a tripod to have stable footage of your video audition. This will depend on which device you are using to film with, you can often find the most suitable ones advertised alongside the DSLR or if using a mobile phone there are many options to choose from.
You should be off-book for a self-tape, but always have the script in hand just in case. It’s better to glance down to refresh your memory rather than fumble through lines. You just don’t want to be distracted by the script, especially when you need to demonstrate your engagement with another character. Before filming the video audition, get to know the material so you can really understand the character and deliver your best performance.
The simpler the better. The fewer background distractions the more you will stand out and be much more engaging on screen. Ensure you have the best lighting for your self-tape audition by allowing enough light so you are visible, but not so much that it creates glare. If you’re recording during the day, stand close to the window to get the natural light. In the evening avoid fluorescent or high contrasting lighting. Consider using a daylight-balanced LED light kit to provide balanced lighting across your face and background. Also, ensure there is no distracting noise getting in the way of recording the audio for your video audition recording.
To shoot a self-tape, use a tight frame that goes from your chest to just over the top of your head and ensure the camera is at eye level. Make sure to use a plain background, if recording your self-tape at home, the easiest way to do this is to either find a plain wall or hang a single colour sheet/blanket up behind you. Solid, neutral colours like white or grey are usually the best to go for.
You want the casting director to focus on your face and expressions so try to avoid anything too distracting. It’s important to find the perfect balance, but always avoid patterns and branded logos. Unless the casting director suggests you wear a certain outfit, keep it plain, form-fitting and stick with solid, warm colors that compliment you.
For your audition tape, you may need to have someone reading the other role and it should be a person. (As opposed to a computer voice, or your voice recorded). Although the focus of the video audition is on you, you’ll need the right person to bounce off and depend upon for giving you the cues and responses you need. Choose someone who has a clear speaking voice and preferably someone you already know and have chemistry with as this will make you feel more comfortable and confident to smash it.
Practising several takes of your audition video means you can get rid of some of those initial red light nerves. Get comfortable performing your audition, practise back and forth with your reader and make notes on what went well and if any technical aspects need addressing such as lighting, sound, camera focus and framing. It wouldn’t be ideal to capture your winning take only to realise it’s out of focus or you can’t hear yourself very well.
After you’re happy with the set-up and are feeling ready to get shooting, it’s time to let the magic happen! Just like in a live audition, think of the camera as being the casting director and panel so avoid making direct eye contact with the lens. Also, if you’re going to use props, limit their use and don’t use too many but most importantly just give it your all and own the part! Show off what you can do and be confident in the choices you make when performing. You may sometimes only have a few lines to convey the part so be bold in order to stand out and showcase your talent.
Once you are happy with your tape it’s time to get it into the hands of those that need it. Some casting directors may either want clips uploaded separately or edited together to make one continuous take of all scenes and slate. There are many software’s that you can easily edit on; IMovie is cheap and easy to use or if you are looking for something more professional the most popular to use is Final Cut Pro. You must follow the directions correctly so once again do refer back to the specifications the casting director sent you.
With self-tapes only becoming more popular, it’s valuable to know how to do video auditions for movies so you can land those dream parts from the comfort of your own home! After understanding and nailing these top tips of how to do a good video audition you’ll be an absolute video audition whizz and be able to open yourself up to many more exciting opportunities. The main things to remember are to always be yourself and have fun with it! Take time to prepare for your performance and enjoy your time filming it. If you do that well, it may not be long until your tape is the next viral youtube sensation. Break a leg!
Allow Center Stage to sky-rocket your career and surface your talents to casting agents, booking agents, directors, and modelling agents worldwide. Pre-register by clicking the button below!