The self-tape to me is now CRITICAL to the audition process.
The irony is that the audition process used to be far more cinematic when it was a live one-on-one with the casting director – at least the way I coached an audition, anyway. And I coached A LOT of auditions with great success.
I literally created what I call “the theatrical equivalent of a cinematic technique.” I choreographed it, and the actor moved the way a camera moved so as to stimulate the viewer’s eye, and allow the director to SEE the actor in their movie.
However, once the camera entered the room, it seems to me like we lost the cinematic effect. It became a very sterile approach to the audition, and truly lost the humanity – the human-to-human connection.
At a time not that long ago actors were afforded the opportunity to create a relationship with a casting director and subsequently with the director or the producer. This is very much lost in today’s audition process.
This is not a blanket dismissal of all casting directors (casting is one of the hardest jobs. period.). There are still many great casting directors that allow for the personal experience to create that relationship. But we have moved greatly in the direction of an expedited, convenient, “practical” approach to the audition.
We are now handed rules to the recording process, which to me very much handcuffs the actor auditioning, and takes away a great deal of creativity and confidence because they fear that breaking any rule will negate their ability to move forward.
I really never was a great rules-follower – and yet I had great success. Not by arbitrarily ignoring rules, but by creatively circumnavigating them.
I believe we are all in the business of making movies, which encompasses all that the camera purveys.
So why not do that?
You've never been more in control of your audition! Make movies with the audition/self-tape. Shoot yourself – to the best of your ability – in the most cinematic way.
That is not to say to stage a full production, but to show yourself in the best light…no pun intended. Find the best background; The best light and the best sound. Find your best angle. So the director can have the opportunity to view the actor cinematically.
I just want to give the actor the greatest chance to be seen doing their best work, and give them the greatest chance to succeed.
Understand something: We cannot hire fear.
No matter how talented you are, fear is a killer. We hire confident professionals.
Relaxation is a key component in confidence, or at least looking confident! And confidence is directly related to relaxation. We’re looking for nice people who are easy to work with, and for that you have to be relaxed.
The more prepared you are, the more you trust your choices, the more you understand the audition process, the more you know what is expected of you when you walk into the room— The more relaxed you are going to be.
Going into the audition, your work should be the last thing you are worried about. This audition room should be the arena in which you do your best work and where you are most comfortable. Trust yourself and the work you've done ahead of time. you got this.
Look at Ricky Martin, LeBron, and Meryl Streep… They all know how good they are. They all perform in an arena within which they do their best work and where they are most comfortable— they all walk onto the stage, the court, or the set completely relaxed knowing that! Make sure you communicate that this arena is where you do your best work and you are most comfortable.
Relax and execute. Engage.
Tips to relax:
Emotional Preparation: Music can be used very effectively, not just to relax, but to prepare specifically from an emotional point of view. Be specific about the music you choose, put your headphones in and isolate yourself in a room full of people.
Vocalization: On the way to your audition, pick a song and sing it at the top of your lungs— a song you love— and stretch out your facial muscles. Don’t be afraid to look stupid.
Stretching: Stretch!!! Literally stretch. No athlete or dancer or performer walks onto the stage without being physically prepared.
Visualization: See yourself in the part— make movies in your head.
GET TO YOUR AUDITION EARLY. AVOID STRESS.
3 Steps to Increasing Your Odds
There are always going to be things in the audition process that are out of your control. For instance -- too tall, too short, too fat, too thin, too young, too old, too "ethnic", not "ethnic" enough, earthquakes, phones ringing, etc... You can only control what's under your control.
I wanted to give you a quick overview of the things that are within your control:
Look guys, in order to make this all work you need to bring what's special about you to the room.
There is nothing more special than you and your voice.