Video Taped Auditions are happening more and more often. It is CRUCIAL you learn how to master the technology regarding this very important audition skill. This is one of the very best articles I have ever read on SELF TAPING and I thought I should share it with you. This was written by my friend JACK TURNBULL owner of Actorsite in North Hollywood. Jack is responsible for training and building more series regulars than any one in the industry. If you are looking for acting training for your child i HIGHLY recommend you sign up for classes at ACTORSITE.
Video auditions are IMPORTANT and getting MORE IMPORTANT all the time. - Jack Turnbull
Shooting your VIDEO AUDITION:
BEFORE YOU TAPE YOUR AUDITION, BE SURE TO PRACTICE YOUR SCENE AT LEAST 50 TIMES OUT LOUD! All of this preparation won’t help if you suck at your acting, so BE SURE TO PRACTICE IT OUT LOUD at least 50 times. Most scenes are just one to three minutes, so that means that an hour of prep will help you ROCK YOUR AUDITION! PREPARATIONS is the MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT!
1. BACKGROUND: Keep a simple background but DON’T USE WHITE. I like shades of blue and gray, but browns are great too! Keep it simple and not too busy, but not white.
2. CAMERA: Use your IPHONE or SAMSUNG phone. Be close to the phone for good sound, about 3 feet or so. Make sure you are in a room with curtains and carpet for better sound, they keep the room noise down. Don’t be 4 or more feet away, as the sound will be lost. Remember, on a film or TV set, the sound recorder needs you to speak loud enough to record, don’t swallow your words thinking you are being emotional. Emotions are expressed, not suppressed in film/TV. If you use a camera, be sure you are close for good sound or use a separate microphone. I like the phones better because they have super microphones.
(There are many selfie stands available at AMAZON)
4. LIGHTING: Use a huge window if you have one—no direct sunlight, only reflected light, or use a SOFT light source like the 5 head lamp at TARGET. Put 100 W CFL lamps in it and you have a super light source. Place it behind the phone/camera so it lights the face from the front, not the side. Or, if you wish you can order a softbox set like those shown here:
5. Frame your audition in a head and shoulders shot, unless directed otherwise. Make sure you don’t leave a lot of space at the top of the frame. The top of the head should be close to the top of the frame.
6. Go right into your scene at the beginning. No photos, no title, etc. Go into your scene. Don’t try to be cute, it’s your PERFORMANCE they want to see, not a photo montage or other time wasting items.
7. The READER should stand 3-4 or more feet BEHIND the camera, so your eye line as you read with the reader is good. The reader should NOT be closer to the camera than the Actor, because their voice will be too loud. Actor should look at the READER for the audition, and at the camera for the SLATE. You should be able to see the actor full face but not looking into the camera, but at the reader. Don’t look at the camera during the audition, only in the slate.
8. USUALLY you SLATE at the end of the scene. SPEAK SLOWLY AND CLEARLY. Usually they want NAME, CONTACT INFORMATION, HEIGHT, CONTACT INFO and sometimes they request other information. If they want a full length shot in the slate, scan the body up and down quickly! If you want to put a slate card with your contact information, this is when you put it up. Some auditions, they want you to hold a paper with your info in the video, make sure it is clearly written and do a close of up of it.
9. NAME YOUR VIDEO: TITLE-ROLE-YOUR NAME. For instance, if the ROLE is SAM and your name is SUZY SMITH and the project is call ICEMAN, name your video ICEMAN-SAM-SUZYSMITH.m4p. Use abbreviations if the title is too long.
10. If you are uploading or emailing, be sure to include your CONTACT INFORMATION in all correspondence. That would include your PERSONAL CONTACT if you are not represented, and your AGENT and MANAGER if the tape is for them. If it’s a personal submission like on Backstage or LACASTING, most agents and managers don’t want their info listed, so put your personal information. They can’t hire you if they can’t find you. You would be surprised to see the fantastic audition videos sent in without any contact info.
11. Casting likes uploads to sites where they can download the video if they like your performance and send it to the producers with their other videos. That’s why we recommend VIMEO or GOOGLE DRIVE for your uploads. You can post a comment if you have good luck with other services. I personally like YOUTUBE to view videos, but they aren’t easy to download, just the link.
SUPER! NOW ROCK YOUR VIDEO AUDITIONS!
All the best,
COACH JACK TURNBULL
Produced by Robgraves Productions, Los Angeles
I also think every child actor who is starting out should have a Slate Shot, Personality Clip and a Commercial or Monologue like the one above uploaded on their Actors Access, Casting Frontier and LA Casting Accounts. To watch click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZkZRMcTXxc&feature=youtu.be
A 30-second sample like this gives casting directors a clear idea of your child's personality, the way they talk, look and speak. As you start submitting your child for different commercials, student films, short films and music videos - you can add these clips to your submissions to INCREASE your auditions.
Once you start getting work you can replace the monologue and commercial demos with actual footage from the jobs your child books. I have partnered with Robgraves Productions to create great HD demos to use with your child's submissions. $175 for 3 clips. Please contact me to set up your child's session with cinematographer Kent Hargrave. (818) 203-6080 or firstname.lastname@example.org
See you on the Red Carpet!
Wendy Alane Wright
The Hollywood Talent Manager