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“I say luck is when an opportunity comes along and you’re prepared for it.”Denzel Washington
“How do you prepare for an audition?” Or “How do actors prepare for auditions?” Are two of the top questions I get asked on the subject of auditioning.
Audition prep can take on many levels depending on the role, the size of the production, the type of project, and where you’re at in your career. But the way things stand today, meaning post COVID, there are (3) things that you’re going to need for sure:
- Be prepared to self-tape and submit it
- If you can, get coached on the audition materials
- Make sure you have a reader to read lines with you for the audition
Ideally, you want to get all of those pieces in place before you start submitting and get real auditions coming in. Waiting until you actually have an audition due can leave you panicked, pressed for time and totally unprepared.
Let’s take a look at each one individually: The Self Tape Set-Up, The Reader, Audition Coaching
1. The Self Tape Set-Up
While self-tapes have been around for years, 2020 really pushed everything into our homes…. Including auditions. Some casting directors are back in studios, but at this point very few, so be prepared to record your audition yourself.
Make sure you get your self-tape setup ready and fully functioning BEFORE you have an audition due. There’s enough to think about with auditions, you don’t want to be scrambling around at the last minute for equipment.
The most important piece of equipment is obviously your camera, but since we all have smartphones that shouldn’t be an issue. Make sure you know how to shoot video well and edit it and upload it when you’re done.
The next most important piece of equipment is a tripod. Absolutely DO NOT have someone hold the camera! The movement will completely kill your audition. Tripods are cheap these days and of course Amazon is a quick and easy go-to. For my personal recommendations see our Amazon shop.
Next, workout the backdrop, lighting and sound. Decide on a place in your house that is going to work best for all three and practice recording with everything in place. The biggest technical complaints I hear from casting directors is with regard to sound and lighting – they need to be able to hear you and see you. You also want to keep the background uncluttered. Remember you are the star here, not your super cute apartment!
Not sure what a self-tape audition is? Read this first!
2. The Reader
Whenever you do a self-tape audition, you need someone to read the lines of the other character(s) for you. I find that friends and family members are not great choices. They may try to be helpful, but they’re just not actors and are not going to give you the same emotional connection or support that’s crucial for auditions.
Also, your reader doesn’t have to be in the same room with you! Virtual readers is what the majority of people are doing these days, and I booked a major role in a feature film from a self-tape with a reader who was online in another state.
Here are three (3) fantastic options for finding self-tape readers.
Rehearsal & Self-Tape Partners For Actors (Facebook Group – FREE!)
Just like it sounds, this is the place to find a self tape or rehearsal parter…. Something that we are all going to need much more of moving forward! Post on there if you are available or if you need someone to rehearse with. The group currently has over 12k members so you have a pretty good shot of finding someone, but also be sure to be equally generous with your time 🙂
Actor Trade (App – FREE!)
Actor Trade is an app that was started by, you guessed it a couple of actors. When an actor wants to rehearse or self-tape you simply open the app and click the rehearse now/self-tape icon in the menu bar. From there you’ll be guided through a series of windows that will bring you to a list of available readers. Choose who you’d like to rehearse or self-tape with and off you go.
The downside I find to this is everything is on your phone, so if you are using your phone to record your audition as well it can get a bit tricky.
WeAudition.com (Online Platform – PAID)
WeAudition is by far my first choice. Although it is a paid option, you are guaranteed to get a reader whenever you need one. This is really crucial for working actors or when you have a tight deadline.
Simply sign-up for an account, log in to your profile and choose a reader / self-tape partner from actors available 24/7. You can even earn money being a virtual reader. It’s only $10 per month, and My Actor Guide fans get 25% off with the discount code MAG25 .
** I would really suggest that you have readers, or a system in place to get one, long before you have an audition. Try out the different platforms and get comfortable with them, maybe even do a test scene just to try things out. This way you can avoid any last minute panic or scramble when an audition does come in.
3. Audition Coaching
If you’re a new actor, you definitely need audition coaching! You need someone who has been in the business for at least a few years who can help you with your work, delivering the lines, camera angles, blocking and the nuances of self-tape auditions.
Find a few coaches, or even experienced actors who are willing to work with you on auditions so you have an arsenal of people you can call on when you get an audition. Auditions are often on a tight time frame and not every coach with be able to accommodate every time at the last minute. To find out more about audition coaching with me, check out the coaching section of the site here.
Now that you have the equipment in place, a system for getting readers and / or audition partners and coaches to call on, try a couple of mock auditions to make sure everything is flowing smoothly. Practice recording a few scenes that you really like.
Bonus: You can put these on your social media accounts or YouTube as samples of your work!
Not sure what to record? Check out our list of where to find scripts and scenes:
I highly suggest you get some self-tape audition training. To compete for real jobs, you need to be a professional. These are just the basics, and every legit working actor has to master these to move their career forward.
I hope this really helps you! As always, if you have questions or feedback head to the comments section below. I answer every one!
Like this post or love it? Share it. Pin it. Post it. Tweet it! It’s a tough business and we could all use a little help!
* Please Note: I am not an agent, manager, or casting director. I do not procure work for actors. All information, workshops and coaching are for educational purposes only and are not a guarantee or promise of employment. Thank you for being here!