For basic auditioning information, see my blog on “Auditioning”. Auditioning is changing. While sending out reels and tapes will still be necessary, casting is looking at being as Covid-creative as the rest of the world. As such, casting is going online. It’s a great way for casting directors to meet new talent and could be for the forseeable future.
The world has changed since Covid-19. TV networks are scrambling for original programming, reality programming, or anything to fill the void. Movie production has ceased and the theaters are closed. But casting sessions go on because, as they say, the show must go on, eventually. Only now many casting sessions are happening over Zoom.
So what’s the same about auditioning over Zoom? You must come prepared and on time. You are competing against many others, and you need to do your homework. (See previous blog on “Auditioning”).
So what’s different about auditioning over Zoom? You must consider you may be being viewed on a tablet, phone, laptop or even a giant TV screen. You may not see the reaction of the people you are auditioning for so you may not get a good read on if you are ‘nailing’ the audition. You won’t see the people you are auditioning with and you may not be reading with anyone else. There may also be technical issues. You may see someone in HD but you are buffering on their end or vice-versa. You may think you’re in frame but the casting director on the other side sees something completely different.
How do you prepare for that? Make sure you have the proper place for auditioning. Think of it like your home office. The IRS makes people who have home offices dedicate a single space where no other use is permitted. Your auditioning area for Zoom is your workspace. Treat it as such. Test your technology. Make sure you are at a location with good internet and that your device is working well. Clean your computer, scan for viruses / malware, and do a test audition with a friend over Zoom. Have the friend make sure you are in frame, proper lighting, and that they can both see and HEAR you. Second, dress appropriately. This isn’t the time to be Stephen Colbert doing his show from home without wearing pants. You don’t know what an audition will entail, what movement, expressions, gestures, or choreography may occur, so be prepared if the casting director wants to go wide. Be confident of your performance and more importantly, act confident. You may not be able to get a read on the casting director.
When the time comes you will need to show your energy, personality, and above all skill. So when you’re placed in a Zoom waiting room, use the time to prepare yourself, center yourself, and then build up that energy you will need when the casting director appears in a small box on your screen. While you don’t have the competition of other actors scoping you out or trying to scare you down, you don’t have the energy of other actors to encourage you and fire you up.
When the time comes to begin your audition, be aware it seems like a level playing field but it’s not. It’s an audition, same as always. There are no second takes, there are no do-ovoers. People are staring at you on a screen, there’s no distractions on their end and your energy must come through. Keep in mind they may also record it and replay it immediately, something not as easily done during in-person auditions. On Zoom it’s just the click of a mouse to record, so be aware even though you get no do-overs, the CD’s do.
A good acting coach can help guide you through Zoom auditions as well as other forms of Covid-19 acting challenges. A coach can help guide you from a job to a profession.