My daughter just got an audition request from a casting director where the acting auditions must be submitted on video. This is for a theatrical audition (see “Do You Know What Theatrical Acting Auditions Are” for more on this topic) for a feature film.
We’ve created a number of videos of acting auditions since we’ve been in Los Angeles. It is a little more work than just showing up in person for the audition, but there are some advantages.
Creating videos of acting auditions is fairly common for actors not living in the LA area. It is less common for most of us in the LA area, though it seems like it has become more common lately. So many projects are being filmed in places other than LA these days.
We’ve created videos of acting auditions in various ways when they’ve been requested. We’ve created videos of acting auditions ourselves, had friends help us create them, paid acting coaches and teachers to create them for us, and gone into a small studio to have them created.
If you pay someone to do it for you, it can be expensive, but the quality of the resulting video is likely to be quite good.
Some of our friends are good at creating audition videos at home. If you have a friend who has good equipment and is into creating videos, they might be willing to do it for you for free.
With a little practice and some decent equipment, you can create good videos of acting auditions yourself.
So, what choices do you have when submitting videos of acting auditions? Should you create your own audition videos? Or should you pay someone to create an audition video for you? You really have to weigh the pros and cons.
If you’ve gotten a request to submit an audition video, you are probably wondering “How Do You Create Videos of Acting Auditions to Submit to Casting Directors?”
The first thing to think about when you need to create videos for acting auditions is making sure your child is prepared just as if for any other audition. Get the sides (lines) and have your child learn them and prepare as if going to any regular audition. In the meantime, you can work on making arrangements for creation of the video.
If you are not interested in creating the acting audition videos yourself, ask others in your area about where they’ve gone to have them created. Using the recommendations of others is the best way to find a great service at a reasonable price.
Check with your acting coaches, acting teachers, other actors and their parents, talent managers, talent agents, and other industry professionals you know to find out where they go and where they send their talent. Ask if any of those people provide videotaping services themselves. While most won’t, we were lucky enough to have a coach who did so for an extra fee of only $50.00.
Some important questions to ask when trying to hire someone to create audition videos for you are:
- How much do you charge to create audition videos? Be sure to ask about other fees (equipment, materials, making copies, sending files, etc.) on top of the hourly rate for time spent taping, because there are often extra fees.
- What time availability do you have? Make sure they can get you/your child in for the video creation quickly enough to meet your schedule.
- Where is your facility located? (Make sure it is not farther away than you want to drive or have time to drive.)
- How long does it typically take to film the audition videos? How many takes will you do? How will the best take be selected? Most will help you select the best take.
- Who reads with the person auditioning? You probably will have a choice of them reading or you (the parent or other person you bring) reading.
- How long after the filming is done will the video be ready? (You should be able to take it with you when you leave or have them prepare it for sending and send it immediately after you select the take to send.)
- How do you provide the video? Can you provide streaming or downloadable files and send them by email or put them out to be downloaded/accessed by casting or do you just provide a dvd (most places will be able to do all of the above)?
- Can I see samples of your work? If they provide this online, you can take a look to see if you like the finished product before you decide.
Usual audition rules apply. Dress appropriately for the role being played. Medium solid colors look best on film, and avoid large prints, logos, and black and white and even bright red clothing.
If you decide to make the audition videos yourself, then there are many more things you need:
- A good quality digital camcorder,
- A good mic (often the camera’s built-in mic won’t be good enough), like a lavalier mic or a shotgun mic,
- Good lighting (shop lights work pretty well, but regular indoor lighting won’t generally be good enough),
- A good filming location (uncluttered, away from noise as much as possible),
- A solid light- or meduim-colored (but not white) wall or backdrop (you can use a sheet or drape),
- A tripod or other flat surface to keep the camera steady.
- Video editing and transmission software that allows you to create a dvd, downloadable file or file to email, or streaming file, depending on what the casting director requires.
It is important that the reader be near the camera and that your child does not look directly into the camera when saying their lines but instead looks at the reader next to the camera.
If your built-in mic is not great and picks up every noise around except for the voice that you want to be picked up, it is best to have an additional mic, such as this inexpensive but fairly decent Omnidirectional Condenser Lavalier MicrophoneÂ.
The person reading near the camera should speak in a soft voice so the actor’s voice is the dominant voice in the video, particularly if using the video camera’s built-in mic.
While the videotape that you create does not need to be professionally done, it does need to be pleasant to watch and the sound must be good so that they can easily hear and understand the dialogue.
One advantage to creating videos of acting auditions at home is that you can repeat many times until you get a take that you like rather than just having the one chance you often have when auditioning in the casting director’s office.
Of course, if you hire someone to do it for you, it will be more expensive (unless you have to purchase all the equipment to do it), but it will be much easier and the result will be quite professional. You’ll be sure that it is created and sent correctly.
Make sure to include an intro with the name of the actor and other information including the project name and role being read, and your talent agency or talent manager name and phone number on the video. It is a good idea to show this information at the beginning and again at the end of the video. You don’t want there to be any chance of them not being able to contact you if they like the video.
To Your Success,