Seems like more and more casting directors are asking for taped audition submissions. I won’t be surprised if soon the first round of all auditions are done on tape and sent in via email.
In some ways, it’s ultra-convenient: self-taped auditions usually have a deadline, but you can work around your J.O.B. and family schedule rather than having to drop everything and run across town for an in-person audition.
On the other hand, you could easily spend a good chunk of change if you pay someone every time you need to put yourself on tape. You know that the production value of your video audition needs to be good, but exactly how good is good enough to be considered professional quality?
Here are a few quick tips for making a professional video audition on the cheap without it looking that way.
DIY Video Prep
I get a lot of questions from my clients about the “industry standard” of a taped audition. There are three components that make up a professional-quality video audition: the sound must be good; the lighting must be clear; and, there cannot be anything distracting in the shot.
Sound: Get a USB mic that plugs into your computer. I use a Snowball to record all my videos, and the sound is awesome. You can find a mic like this on Amazon.com for about $64.
Lighting: Set yourself up during the day facing a window so you have as much natural light as possible. Place your computer in front of you to help illuminate your face.
Background: Check that there is nothing distracting in the background. If the wind is blowing, be sure to close the windows so the drapes aren’t whipping around, and put your pets in another room so they’re not walking back and forth behind you.
Now, the downside to this strategy is that you can’t move around too much, but if you follow these three tips, you will have a clear, focused picture with great sound. And that’s a professional quality tape.
Switch Up Your Motivation
Rather than thinking, “My goal is to put myself on tape, so I can knock it out of the park and book this job,” try something different. The next time you’re putting together a video audition, make your goal more along the lines of: “I’m putting myself on tape in a cost-effective way, so I can sustain this process financially.”
Now that might feel like a really big stretch because the stakes seem so high when you’re auditioning. However, the more you practice imperfection, the more you’ll realize it’s really about great sound, great acting, and a clear picture.
Besides, the more experience you get at self-taping auditions, the better. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if video auditions are the wave of the future.
Do you have any tricks for putting yourself on tape? Let us in on your secrets by leaving a comment in the space below.