Friday, May 1, 2020

Recording for the Role - Part Two

Welcome back to our series on self-taped auditions!  In this day and age of social distancing, the taped audition is even more important than ever. Casting is slowly starting to emerge again as productions think ahead to their needs once we are free to move about the cabin once more.  But inside information from casting directors at all levels from indies to larger SAG features and television series indicate that once restrictions are lifted, the days of in-person casting (which have already begun a slow decline) may be even fewer and further between.

As such, you my find that not only are your first auditions held digitally, your callbacks may be as well. In fact, services such as Zoom are making one-on-one callbacks in a virtual environment much more commonplace.  Later we will discuss video chat platforms, but today we'll focus on what you can do to make your taped audition stand out.
We have already covered plain backgrounds and minimal distractions, and having good lighting is a must, but these are all technical aspects. Once the scene is set, what can you do as an actor to make your audition the best it can be?

First, know your sides. There is really never a time in a self-taped audition that you should not be "off book" and if you make a mistake, you have the luxury of re-taping it. As you learn your scenes, remember that it is not just about saying the lines. The foundation of these concepts are based on Uta Hagen's "Nine Questions" and they are the foundation for bringing any character to life in a believable manner on film.

WHO are you and what do you WANT in this scene? What is your objective? And how are you going to achieve it? Knowing this about your character is a good way to help connect in the role. Also, don't just focus on your lines. Who are the other players in the scene? Are they stopping you from achieving your objective (becoming obstacles)? How will you overcome this?

Next, when it is time to tape your scenes, think about the "moment before" - audition sides are a slice of life. They start in the middle of a reality that has been ongoing, so it is your job as an actor to bring the audience into that reality. If you jump right in, shifting from you to the character when you say your first line, you have likely already lost the casting director's attention. If you need to, you can improvise a few lines with your reader leading into the scene (just be sure to cut those from the actual tape before you submit it!)

Finally, really SEE where you are in the scene. What are the "given circumstances" in this scene? Visualize the space. Are you inside? Outside? In a crowed restaurant? A hospital room? How would you behave in these locations? What's around you? When you can see it, then casting can see it in your eyes. It's up to you to bring this character to life in a very confined space, and that life must be contained in your eyes.

If you do all of this, it does not guarantee that you will get the role but it WILL help you make a good impression which may not get you there this time but will help get you back "in the room" for the future.

Enjoy these tips, make use of them, and HAPPY AUDITIONING!

Have a topic you'd like us to cover? Or a question? Or even a criticism? Feel free to let us know by commenting below!