The Rise of Virtual Auditions and Self-Submissions

by RobinBlack
August 23, 2016 6:42PM

Virtual auditions and self-submissions are on the rise, with more and more Casting Directors looking to the virtual world to accomplish two things: broaden the potential talent pool and help cut through the initial “clutter” to narrow in on the actors with the most potential.  A headshot is great of course and having the right look is half the battle, but the right look doesn’t do you any good if you can’t act. Scores of would be actors suddenly become wooden and stiff the minute the camera is rolling or they start saying lines. Virtual auditions help separate the people who look good in a still shot from the people who look natural and at ease on camera.

The problem, of course, is that actors are actors not videographers.  In reality, however, actors have always had to wear a variety of hats.  Many actors at various points in their career had to do their own PR, be their own booking agents, stylists, HMU artists, choreographers – you name it, they’ve done it. In fact, almost any successful actor will possess an infinite amount of knowledge about lighting, camera angles and how to set up shots because of their constant interaction with the people that are tasked with doing those things.   

In this changing digital world, however, learning up front what most professtional actors know about what goes on behind the camera is becoming more and more crucial to becoming a successful actor in Hollywood in the first place.  The good news is, almost every person has a high-end video camera right in their pockets.  The bad news, however, is that just because your camera phone has major potential to shoot great video, the camera is only as good as the person using it, so it’s up to you to learn how to use it to its fullest potential.

You can, of course, hire professionals or semi-professionals (film school students, friends in the industry, people new to the industry but with some experience) to shoot your auditions, but in reality it’s far easier to master some basic skills to learn how to quickly and easily shoot your own videos.

Here are 5 tips to help you become a master of the Virtual Audition.

1.) Make sure your phone is stable

Many tripods for camera phones are available for under $20 and will allow you to set up your phone, press record (or have someone press record for you) and then continue on with your audition. If you press record yourself, use simple editing software like iMovie to edit out the few seconds of video between when you press record and start your audition. You can have a friend hold the phone for you, but then you get a shaky picture, which will draw attention away from your audition. Even if you have a friend help you with your audition video always use a tripod or stabilizing device of some kind.  If you really want to go cheap and easy, take two chip clips or two binder clips and attach them to the bottom of your phone like this.