Ghosts, Ghouls and Video Auditions

Posted by MAGNA Talent Agency on 10/27/2016

 

- Ghosts, Ghouls and Video Auditions -

 

It’s a bleak Monday morning. You didn’t sleep well. You forgot to buy coffee. You’re scrolling through spam and ads and newsletters for a hotel chain you don’t remember signing up for and then –

CASTING CALL – FEATURE FILM $$$$$

And it’s in Oklahoma! Principal roles! Featured extras! Maybe a fat SAG-AFTRA check at the end.
Maybe – just maybe, this is the big break you’ve been waiting for; maybe this Monday isn’t going to be so bad after all.

But then you see it.

Please send your name, headshots and a video audition to MAGNA Talent Agency.

Video audition? You’d rather just drive to Pawhuska and do it in person. You’re an actor, not a camera operator. You aren’t a lights guy or sound engineer either. And who is going to be your reader? You can’t just ask your stand-offish neighbor to read the part of the woman you’re about to murder.

Won’t your old commercial reel work instead? No?

Sigh.

We’ve found that the one thing that can kill the number of responses to a well-paid, interesting project is the sheer mention of a video audition. Too often, an overwhelming initial response quickly dwindles to a handful, and that means that most of our extremely talented actors are missing out on opportunities that could be really important to their career.

Why is this important?

Well, video, or ‘self-taped’ auditions are becoming more and more common in our industry.
Casting Directors like them because they can get a good sense of an actor’s ability without having to travel cross country or transnationally. The process provides a greater pool of talent for directors and can open doors that previously would have been inaccessible to our actors.

You don’t need to hire a studio. You don’t even need a fancy camera or microphone. You can record your audition with a webcam, digital camera, or even the video option on your cell phone. The most important thing?

Don’t overthink it.

1. Find a quiet and well-lit room. No distracting pictures on the wall behind you; no cat roaming around on your bookshelf and absolutely no explosions from the Van Damme movie you’ve been watching in the next room.

If possible, use a tripod or have someone with a steady hand record the video for you. If you are using your phone or tablet device, be mindful of the position of your lens.

TV and film has always been shot horizontally. Why?  Because nothing looks good on a vertical screen. As humans our eyes are situated in a particular manner that allows us to capture the world in widescreen, so please, shoot your video the same way.

2. Once you’ve got your equipment ready, press record and get started. Introduce yourself – slate your name, your Talent Agency and the role you are auditioning for.

Act out your scene. Try to be as familiar with your lines as possible; sure, you can always re-record if you mess up, but you don’t want to be spending all day on this thing.

Have someone off-camera read any lines for other characters; they should sit slightly behind the camera and to the side. You want them in your eye-line so that you can engage in dialogue without staring straight into the camera or yelling over your shoulder. What if you can’t find someone to help out? Don’t sweat it.
Just pause for the other lines or get creative. 

3. Perform your scene a few times. Watch your recording back and choose your strongest performance to send to us. Send through wetransfer.com or dropbox.

And that’s it – we’ll take care of the rest.

Of course, if this blog post has only served to exacerbate those fears you can always schedule an appointment with us. We won't won't do anything fancy (we didn't give you all that advice above for nuthin') but we'll film it, upload it and send it for you for twenty whole bucks. By appointment only; we are busy ladies.

As always, we’re here to get you as many auditions as we can manage – so don’t be frightened. If you still have questions, give a call!


__________________________________________________________________________ Michelle & Katie_______________