Education is the Right for All
Nailing your virtual audition starts much earlier than the read. These are a few steps performers can take to rehearse and prepare for the challenges:
Assess Your Tech
Technology can make or break a virtual audition, as anyone who’s had to battle a frozen screen or speech delay can attest. But fortunately, you don’t need much for a great audition. A stable connection and a decent camera are really the only necessities. Here are a few things to think about:
- Connection: Make sure your Internet is reliable. If you’ll be auditioning in a quiet place away from your router, consider investing in a signal extender.
- Camera: In general, your phone or computer’s camera will suffice. But you may need to invest in a webcam, especially if you’ll be further away from the camera.
- Sound: Test sound before your audition. If you’ll be further away from the camera, you might need to wear a lavalier microphone.
- Lights: Light doesn’t have to be complicated. Facing a sunny window, for example, would be plenty bright. In low-light settings though, artificial light might be necessary, like a ring light or simple LED panel.
Don’t give the casting director a reason not to pay attention to your performance. You don’t want to be competing with a painting on the wall behind you, or the noise of traffic out your window.
Find a quiet place. Whether that’s an office, or a bathroom you’ve converted into a makeshift studio. Set up a plain background; light blue or grey is the least distracting. Shut off your cell phone, put up a do not disturb sign and get ready to perform.
Try a Mock Audition
Here’s one step that every performer will understand: Rehearse! Set up a full audition with a trusted colleague, instructor or manager/agent. Even working with a friend can help. And rehearse the audition process step by step – from logging on, to introductions, to performing for whoever’s on the other end.
Work with someone who will offer honest feedback and help you identify what you can do to improve. Hit record too, so you can review your mock audition later.
Think About Your Look
Although it can be tempting to go super-casual on Zoom, don’t fall into this trap. Dress the way you would for an in-person audition; you should wear comfortable clothes that allow you to move. In other words, don’t show up in your pajamas.
During the Audition: What to Expect
The performance — this is the hard part. Performers have to work so much harder to connect with their audience via Zoom; it’s so much easier for the audience to tune out. Here are a few quick tips for your audition performance:
Pay Attention to the Fourth Wall
You might be tempted to look directly into the camera. That’s OK when you first enter the audition room; you’ll want to make eye contact of course. But once you begin performing, avoid direct eye contact with the camera. Instead:
- Sight Lines: Pick a sight line to the left or right of the camera, and deliver your performance to a person standing there.
- Readers: If you have a partner offscreen delivering lines, make sure their sound is dampened (don’t let them stand right by the camera and distract from your performance).
Bring the Energy
Performances via Zoom require actors to sustain their intensity through the entire read. That’s of course the goal in any audition, but during a virtual audition, any drop in intensity limits the performer’s ability to connect and engage. Just think how easy it is to get distracted on a virtual call – keep the energy up to avoid this problem.
- Quick Tip: Be off book. It’s not always necessary for in-person auditions, but on Zoom, it can really help actors command attention.
Acting on Zoom allows for a greater degree of subtlety. A glimmer in the eye or understated smirk are easier to pick up on Zoom. Work on that as you rehearse; think about the smaller, more subtle choices you can make that will help you really define your character. Self-taping is a wonderful way to practice this.
Good Luck! Follow These Tips to Land the Role
Zoom auditions are in a lot of ways very similar to in-person auditions. Many of the same rules apply: Show up on time, rehearse, sell yourself.
Really, the big difference is the technology. Don’t let the technology hold you back. Be prepared for unexpected glitches, know how to use the tech, and learn how to craft a performance for a remote audience. Once you’ve mastered the medium, you’ll be ready for any audition — remote or in-person.