This week I was asked by an agent if it was really worth putting their talent on tape for a theatre audition. At first, I was slightly annoyed by this question- Why would I waste the agent and the talents time if I didn't think it was worth self-taping?
On second thought, it's only really the past few years that taping has become so accessible to everyone (who doesn't have a video enabled phone) and due to the better quality, and the inevitable tide of change, theaters are taking this submission method seriously.
Here are the ways to make your self-tape stand out.
1) Get the tape in ASAP.
Simply put- IF they find it in the room, they will not look at the videos. IF they get the tape before the audition, they will definitely consider it. Don't sacrifice the quality of the submission, but the early submissions will be sent and viewed and discussed before the audition. Get it into the office on the audition date, or after, and the likelihood of it being viewed and taken seriously diminishes.
2) Prepare like it's a real audition.
Do as much homework and preparation as you normally would if you had an actual audition. The Director, producer and the casting team will see this!
3) Get ready for your close up.
Pick a background that is as plain as possible. No distractions!
Get a good reader that works off you well.
Check the lighting- can I see your face? If you are doing great work but your face isn't visible, it isn't worth it.
How's the sound? can I hear you?
The beauty of taping is that you can have a number of takes! Experiment with a few different viewpoints and choices, watch them back and send the most interesting one. Take this opportunity to flex your acting muscle.
4) Make it easily accessible.
Ask the casting director their preferred method of submission. My office prefers YouTube or Vimeo, or in Dropbox format where you can click on the link and immediately watch it. Downloading is time consuming and inconvenient. Also- don't make you video private, if it means I can't see it, or can't send it to people to view. I promise, if it's public, your audition is not going to be the next viral sensation- we are looking at it professionally.
5) Be presumptuous.
If you have access to it, tape the callback. If they want to see it, they probably won't give you a lot of notice- so to have as much preparation time as possible, tape it in advance.