Below you'll find a list of resources that can prove beneficial as you build your career in the arts.
ORGANIZATIONS TO KNOW
- Get the latest union news regarding contracts, agencies, notices, etc.
- Learn more about theatre news and audition information for union members.
- The NEA is "an independent federal agency that funds, promotes, and strengthens the creative capacity of our communities by providing all Americans with diverse opportunities for arts participation."
- One of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States.
- This site is a handy guide where you'll find the complete works of William Shakespeare in digital form.
"After working with numerous actors to produce literally hundreds of self-tapes in the last few years, I've learned what works and what doesn't when it comes to submitting your best audition. Here are some tips I've compiled to help you put your best foot forward." --Kate, founder of Theatrik
Lighting is key.
If the casting director can't see you, then what is the point? Make sure there is ample light in the room where you are recording. This might mean you need to move extra lamps into the room and/or position yourself facing a window. Make sure all light sources are in front of you rather than behind, otherwise you will end up backlit.
Sound is important.
As with the lighting, sound is equally important. Most cell phones will pick up your sound clearly as long as you are not sitting too far away from your device. You might find that using a lavalier microphone is helpful, but for standard at-home setups one is usually not necessary. Make sure your reader speaks quietly since they will likely be closer to the phone's microphone than you will be.
Position yourself at least one foot in front of your background.
Sitting/standing right up against a wall or backdrop causes a noticeable shadow. For a more professional look allow at least one foot, possibly more, between yourself and the background.
Be as off book as possible.
Casting directors/ preferences vary when it comes to whether or not you should hold your sides. The safest bet? Be memorized. This is especially important for a self-tape when you can literally record as many takes as you want. If a casting director watches an actor struggling for lines in a self-tape, they'll wonder why that person didn't just re-record. If you do not have enough time to memorize before your submission is due, simply hold the sides out of frame so you can refer to them if necessary.
Keep it simple.
The casting director wants to see YOU, not your living room, your pets, or the box full of props you're thinking about using. Keep the frame clear of any unnecessary objects. When it comes to props, the best solution is the most simple one: don't use them. Props can often be distracting and take away from your performance. If the prop is crucial to the scene (i.e. a cell phone to make a call) then make sure when you use it you don't block your face from camera. Focus on being in the moment and telling the story rather than worrying about filling your frame with props.
Invest in professional equipment.
As more and more first-round auditions are taking place via self-tapes, it's important that you have the necessary equipment to submit a quality file. A solid color backdrop, adequate lighting and a tripod for your camera or phone are the main components needed to set yourself up for success. Our Self-Tape Kit provides all these items for you in a convenient carrying case, allowing you to use it at home or on-the-go...because you never know when you'll receive a self-tape request.
Send a downloadable file.
Pay close attention to the file instructions you receive regarding how your audition is to be sent. Most industry professionals will request a link to a downloadable file. You'll need to compress your file down to a reasonable size (under 100 mb is a good baseline to follow, but some files will be larger based on the length of the audition). An .mp4 format will usually be the best option in terms of reducing the size. WeTransfer is a wonderful platform for converting your file into a link, and the best part? Their service is free!
AUDITION DOS & DON'TS
Do leave it all at the door. This is a tough one, because of course you want the part. But the moment you leave the casting office or submit your tape, forget about the audition. You'll cause yourself unnecessary stress fretting over whether or not you gave a good performance. Let it go and move on. You might be pleasantly surprised a few days later if you get a callback or even better, get booked. But if that call doesn't come, it won't matter because you will have already moved on to the next thing.
Do prepare different versions of takes. This is especially important if the sides are short, like for a commercial.
Don't try to impress. It sounds counter intuitive, but the moment you walk into the room and try to impress those on the other side of the camera, you run the risk of coming across as disingenuous. Casting directors can tell if you are trying too hard.
Don't play the role a certain way because it's the way you "think" they want it to be played. Casting directors want to see YOU and what uniqueness you bring to the role. They don't want to see you come in and try to read their minds, acting in a way that feels inauthentic. You might be the perfect person for the part, but they'll never know it if you are focused only on delivering the copy in a way you've decided they want to hear it.