covid-19 impact

How the Audition Process Will Forever Be Changed Because of COVID-19

Holly Bissonnette| April 14, 2020

It’s no understatement to say that the COVID-19 outbreak has brought the entire world to a standstill. This global pandemic, like no other before it, has made many of us rethink not just our daily life routines, but also the way we do business or carry out our work. For example, several industries have adapted their work processes and adopted the work-from-home scheme for many of their employees.

One of the many industries that has been affected by this pandemic is the entertainment industry. As the world changes its habits to adapt to the new realities set in place by the outbreak, the entertainment world has not been far behind. 

How COVID-19 Has Impacted the Entertainment Industry

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Movie releases are now being rescheduled to later dates. Concerts and other similar events are now being postponed while it still looks like public gatherings are not a good idea. Film productions and TV shows are now placed at an indefinite pause. But like any other industry, the entertainment world has been coming up with solutions for their current dilemma. To address canceled concerts and events, artists and singers have been broadcasting concerts and performances on popular streaming platforms like YouTube and even social networking sites like Instagram and Twitter. TV networks are replaying previous broadcasts of old shows to make up for the lack of airing materials. Moreover, movie production companies are taking this time to really focus on post-production preparations and make some enhancements to their films. In short, it’s not really a “standstill” for the entertainment industry; it’s more of a slowing down and a refocusing on other platforms, with the intention still being to connect with their audience. 

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While most productions have paused or shut down at this troubling time, there are still many producers who are still on the lookout for talent that they can hire for future projects—once all this is over. On the other end of that scale are the many talents who are also still looking for acting jobs. While recognizing this reality, official organizations like the Casting Society of America are also advising at the same time that casting agents and producers do not conduct in-person auditions while the coronavirus pandemic is ongoing. The current health crisis has brought about a surge in self-tape and online auditions with people avoiding in-person sessions for the meantime.

Helpful Tips for Self-Tape and Online Audition

If you’re new to the industry or unfamiliar with online audition or via self-tape, you’d need these effective tips to help you ace a successful audition:

1. Fulfill the technical requirements or expectations of the casting agents. 

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Aside from showing great acting, it’s important that whoever watches your tape or audition can see and hear you well. In short, make sure there’s good lighting and sound. Agents are busy people, and they have a lot to attend to and other audition clips to watch. If they click on your video and find it difficult to make out your features or hear what you’re saying, the higher probability is that they’re going to move on to the next clip. 

2. Get hold of the basic equipment.

To produce an impressive self-tape or online audition, there’s a few basic equipment you need. The foremost ones are a good-quality camera (a simple digital camera with a built-in microphone is sufficient) and a tripod. The other things you’d want are sources of even lighting (just natural lighting would be great), a solid background that would not be distracting, and a reader.

Before you start shooting your performance, do a check first of the lighting and sound. You can say a few lines of your script, record it, and then review the footage afterward. If there are things that are not working well, this is your time to adjust them. You have to make sure everything is perfect before you start recording your actual performance so as to ensure that the agents and producers you’ll be sending your audition tape to won’t click to the next video after the first few seconds.

3. Perfect your acting.

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It goes without saying that another element you must practice to perfection before your recording is your acting. If you’re delivering a monologue, you need to work on other things besides just memorizing your lines. You’d also need to perfect your delivery, physical gestures, and facial expressions. 

4. Keep your script in hand. 

While you must fully memorize your lines while delivering your audition piece, here’s an important tip most experts recommend: you must have the script in your hand while performing. Doing so sends a subtle hint to the casting director and producers that you are a consummate professional who can also adapt to the situation and can easily be directed as the director or the production team sees fit. 

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5. Follow the instructions.

Every self-tape or online audition comes with a set of instructions that can seem very strict and sometimes even anal. They can even come with warnings stating that if even just one step is overlooked, your online audition clip can be instantly rejected. Such instructions usually have to do with sound, lighting, framing, file names, and the like. For a successful audition, you must follow all instructions to the letter. Trust us, you wouldn’t want your audition tape to be rejected just because you weren’t able to follow their specific requirement for file formats. 

6. You should have a reader to play off of. 

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If you’re delivering a piece of dialogue that requires you to play lines off of another character, then it’s crucial that you must have a reader that can deliver the specific lines to you off-camera. Having a person to deliver lines with can make your performance more natural and spontaneous. It’s not important if your reader does not fit the specifications of the character they’re reading for; after all, they’ll just be off camera and won’t actually be acting with you. 

7. Editing is key. 

Because it’s self-taped, you can enhance your audition clip so as to make its transitions more natural and to get rid of those awkward pauses in between scenes that you would often have to deal with in a live audition. Taped auditions allow you to edit your performance so as to make the best impression possible.

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