With many auditions happening remotely, it’s more important than ever for actors to get their at-home setups running smoothly. We’ve previously covered the ins and outs of self-tape auditions, but now it’s time to give you some important insights into live virtual auditions since many casting directors are opting to go that route via Zoom or Skype. There are advantages to this form of auditioning remotely, such as getting feedback from the casting director during the session. But the stakes are also higher when it comes to having your home setup in top working order. A live virtual audition doesn’t afford the same luxury as a self-tape audition when it comes to picking and choosing which takes the casting director sees. If an issue with your home studio pops up during the live virtual audition, it may negatively affect your take and your chances of moving forward in the casting process. So before your next live virtual audition, run through the checklist we’ve provided below to make sure you’re all set.
- Check your tech.
Before you do anything else, make sure your WiFi connection is strong and running smoothly. If you’ve been noticing a lag lately but haven’t gotten around to calling your service provider, now’s the time to do it. Breaks or freezes in the video call due to your poor WiFi will not help you give your best audition, and it will not ingratiate you with the casting director. The same goes for issues with the video conferencing tool that casting is using for the live virtual audition, usually Zoom or Skype. Make sure you have it properly installed on your device and updated to the latest version. Have a friend give you a practice call beforehand to double-check that everything is in working order. There are so many things that can threaten to distract you during an audition read — don’t let an avoidable tech issue be one of them!
- Check your surroundings.
This might at first appear to be an easy item on the checklist. You hopefully already have an area in your living space designated for capturing self-tape auditions so your home studio setup should be taken care of. The main adjustment would be to exchange the camera you use to record your self-tapes with the device you’ll be using for the video call during the live virtual audition. However, don’t overlook the potential noise issues that come with auditioning from home. We’ve all been there, stopping a self-tape take to go ask a roommate to quiet down because the mic is picking up whatever noisy activity they’re currently engaging in. Now imagine that same scenario but in the middle of a live virtual audition. Either you interrupt and temporarily leave the session to go put a stop to the noise, or you keep going with the audition and feign ignorance to the not-so-subtle sounds of your roommate belting show tunes across the hall. Neither are great options, so give any and every person you’re currently quarantined with a heads up before your live virtual auditions so that they can keep noise levels to a minimum.
- Check your wardrobe.
With all the video calls happening both personally and professionally, the wearing of pants has become superfluous. No one knows if they’re there or not, and it may be the biggest silver lining of the entire pandemic. But even if the audition instructions say that the framing will only be waist-up, make sure the bottom half of your wardrobe is just as complete and as well-thought-out as the top. Wear shoes. Casting may ask for a full-body view, and you want to appear as put-together as you would be if you were in their office.
- Check your professional attitude.
People tend to relax in the comfort of their own homes, which could work to your advantage for a live virtual audition. Nerves can prevent actors from giving their best reads, which means that the familiarity of your living space may help your performance. But don’t let the comfort of auditioning from home affect your professionalism. Just as you wouldn’t try and force extensive chitchat when auditioning in a casting director’s office, neither should you during a virtual live audition. Casting directors may be working remotely, but they still have a tight schedule to maintain so don’t mistake the live virtual audition for FaceTime with a friend. Keep your interactions with the casting person professional, even if it’s through a screen!
At the end of the day, we’re all doing our best to continue moving forward through these uncertain times. There’s a learning curve to seemingly every aspect of our “new normal,” including live virtual auditions. So if you slip up in some aspect of a live virtual audition, it’s most likely that the casting person will extend some grace. But if you diligently go through this checklist before your next live audition from home, chances are you’ll put your best foot forward and stand out in all the right ways.
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