WHERE TO RECORD: Ideally you should be against a blank wall. The background matters. This isn’t an Instagram story. 🙂 It’s an audition, and it should be held to the same level of professionalism at which you would like to be booked. No one is asking you to have a professional set up in your home, but they are asking that the visual and audio not be distracting if possible. If you don’t have a blank wall, head to craft store (or order online) teacher bulletin board paper and adhere it to a wall. If you don’t have a ring light or are working with dim lighting, record facing a window. Let the daylight do the work. The lighting source for these auditions should never be behind the actor. The balance is to limit the background noise while finding the best light. Turn off the HVAC, open all of the curtains.
SOUND: Try to record in a room where there aren’t cars passing by or the sounds of birds chirping. That’s the worst, and sometimes unavoidable when recording at home. Regarding what is in your control, soften your speaking voice. You are not on stage. You are on camera, and the mechanics of the camera require a softer speaking voice. Let them hear all of the wonderful color in your voice.
FRAMING: Before starting into your takes, have the person recording you take a snap or short video clip so that you can see your framing and approve of the overall look. Remember to follow the framing guidelines in the audition directions. Yes, it matters. Film auditions should be mid-chest to shoulders up, commercial/scenes with action should be mid-waist up. There shouldn’t be too much head room at the top of your frame. Also, make sure you are looking slightly off camera unless otherwise directed. Do not deliver film/ “acting” auditions into the camera.
SAVE YOURSELF TIME:
1. Do two un-recorded rehearsals in front of the camera
2. Test your framing and equipment
3. Record your first take
4. Watch your first take – Yes, watch it! Check for framing issues and evaluate your on-camera performance. Trust me, it will save you many, many takes.
5. Record additional takes.
6. Once you feel like you’ve got the best one, don’t over do it. If you feel like you gave your all, you did.
7. Upload clips to editing software or edit on your phone.
8. Name file(s) When in doubt, send as one file labeled: FIRST_LAST_PRODUCTION_ROLE
9. Save audition to your own personal files
It’s true. Make the first couple seconds good, or they may not even watch it.
If you audition a lot, just paint a wall. Sky Blue, Green, and Gray are industry standard. Also, if you have a professional background, you look professional. You look like someone who does this all of the time and invests in their career.
Don’t send too many takes. That’s what the callback is for.
Please watch your audition all the way through before sending.. I can’t tell you how many #$%# moments have nearly slipped through.
Once you get the hang of it, recording yourself can take 20 minutes or less if you are prepared and are a one- or two-take Tammy/Tom.
BREAK A LEG!
Source: Adapted from Valerie Gasior’s “Self-Taping Tips”