By: David Wooddell, Barbizon USA
One very common theme I hear in my role as an Ambassador is “Well, I don’t live in a major market. How can I audition or even have a chance to audition for projects when my family won’t relocate?” While your chances of having large-scale auditions are higher in a major market, it isn’t unheard of for casting directors to accept self-taped auditions. With the way technology is advancing, the entertainment industry is adapting to an all digital audition process. Breakdown Services is the communications network and casting system that provides the most professional means to reach talent agents as well as actors when casting a project. They use a system that has been developed called Eco Cast. Eco Cast is a “virtual pre-read system” provided by Breakdown Services. With it, Casting Directors can send invitations to Talent Representatives or Actors directly to record an audition themselves, expanding the range of people Casting Directors can see for each role.
Just because you are self-taping doesn’t mean you have to go out to a studio or purchase expensive video equipment. You can simply tape from the comfort of your own home using your smartphone or tablet. I encourage you to use this article as a guide to help with self-taping.
Let’s set the scene.
Background & Surrounding Area
Make sure you are using a clean, solid-colored wall as your backdrop. You shouldn’t use a bed sheet as your backdrop…especially if it’s wrinkled. Also, make sure there aren’t any power outlets, light switches, paintings, or anything else distracting in the frame.
Now it’s time to set up your lighting and camera. Make sure that you are well-lit and that there aren’t any shadows showing up in the shot. Your camera framing should be from your bellybutton to the top of your head, unless otherwise instructed from the casting director. Make sure you are completely OFF BOOK (off book: TV/Film/Theatre talk for a completely memorized script) and that you project your voice. You want to be heard clearly in your audition tape.
The Slate and the Reader
Once “action” is called, you should slate your name & representation. Often times, actors feel the need to slate who they are reading for, the project, etc. however, this is unnecessary. As a general rule of thumb, you should only look into the camera during the slate & once you have begun the read, look just slightly off camera. I recommend looking to either the left or the right of the lens. You are going to want to read with someone that is off camera. Make sure they aren’t projecting as loudly as you are because you should be the focus. The reader will need to read all dialogue that isn’t your character.
For more information on self-taping, please check out the SAG Foundation’s YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D79zOFTiLfs and here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9umJNHgRVwk. Good luck!
Ready to jumpstart your acting career? Schedule an audition to learn more about Barbizon’s modeling and acting program!