My child is stuck in the body of an actor!
Auditioning is not like it used to be!
Back in the day, an actor had to live in Los Angeles or New York to get seen by a casting director. Today, you can live in Timbuktu and still have a chance of being seen.
QUESTIONS: While I periodically audition/work in LA, I am based out of Chicago and I’m often asked to submit audition videos or SKYPE auditions with West Coast offices. Do you have any suggestions on audition protocol for self-submit videos? I have always thought of them as no different than as in person, except we don’t get to shake hands!
ACTORS: I was just on a photo shoot and one of the models I was working with also happened to be a casting director. (That’s another change I have seen over the years, actors wearing multiple hats!) We were talking about the business when I mentioned how I would love to be submitted more for TV and film roles. Within seconds, literally, she grabbed my hand as she was reading a text that just came in, “I have the perfect role for you! The ‘mom’ that we cast in this feature film is not available to shoot on the scheduled days and you would be perfect. Lets get you on tape and send it to the director.”
Well, I didn’t know she meant, lets submit you right now!
There’s a lot of downtime on sets, as many of you may know.
So, within 30 minutes, she pulled up the sides, we worked on them together and before I knew it, out popped the iphone, on went the red record button and off I went to the director.
Just like that!
I was taken aback as this was the first time I personally did a self-taped submission and in record time!
However, my actor friends that live outside of Los Angeles are not strangers to this way of auditioning. So, I made a call to one of my dearest friends who lives in Texas, Kimberley Bliquez, whose collection of hats include actress, producer and host and got her professional insight on self-submit “tapings.”
Kim happened to be en route from New Orleans to Dallas where she booked a print shoot, so she graciously welcomed the time to chat.
KAREN: So, Kim, I know you have done a lot of “tapings,” living in Texas. I just did a quick one that was sent from a phone, but feel most actors do them in a more controlled environment with more time! What would you say are some of the biggest concerns when it comes to self-taped submissions?
KIM: Your submission definitely has to look professional. Yes, you can do it on any phone that shoots video, but the lighting has to look great, the sound quality has to be great, your background can’t distract and your performance better be very strong. You have to remember, they are not seeing you in person, so they need to see you, so keep your head out of the script and it’s best to be off book. Remember you are competing against a lot of actors, don’t give them any reason or any excuse not to watch your audition.
KAREN: What would you say is the main difference between actually going into the casting room vs. self-submit auditions?
KIM: In the casting room you usually only get one or two takes unless the director happens to be there, which is a big plus, because you can get personal adjustments.
When you self-submit, you have the opportunity to watch your audition before you submit it along with being able to choose your own reader.
KAREN: If you don’t have a “smart phone,” or rather work with professionals that do these tapings all the time, where would you go?
KIM: I either go to my agent’s office and they will tape me or my agent will give me a list of facilities or people in my area that do professional tapings for a small fee, like $30 or $40.
KAREN: What if you don’t have an agent, how do you find a place that does tapings?
KIM: I would call an agency in the area and ask them if they would put me on tape for auditions, and if they said yes, I would ask what they charge. If they don’t provide this service then I would ask if they knew of anyone in the area. Of course, there is always the Internet.
KAREN: What are your chances of actually being seen?
KIM: You may never know, whether you self-submit or personally go into a casting office, if you were seen or not. If you have an agent, they can follow up for you. That’s why it’s so important that your self-submit audition is professional and you’re off book. If you get a callback, then you know it worked!
KAREN: Glad you brought that up. If you get a callback, are you responsible for getting yourself there?
KIM: Absolutely, I am driving a lot as I am doing now being interviewed by you! I was up for a part in a Brad Pitt movie, and it was worth me finding a way to get there, whether I used my frequent flyer miles, drove or took a cab. I was going to do whatever I could to make that callback.
For me, it’s always worth being in front of a director. If not this part, perhaps I would be kept in mind for another role or another project.
KAREN: I just had a callback for a commercial here in Los Angeles and I was on SKYPE as the clients were in New York. It was cool, but I did miss not having the clients and the director in the room.
KIM: Yes, but you still booked it!
KAREN: I did. That was my first SKYPE booking! What I did like about it, though I missed the clients and directors in the room, it wasn’t as nerve racking, which it can be when there is a room filled with producers, clients and a director. Yet, the clients were still giving me feedback and direction from New York.
SKYPE is also being used for more reality shows. I was asked to get some NFL cheerleader friends of mine together for a new NFL reality show. The casting director wanted to interview us all at the same time on SKYPE since we all live in different parts of the state.
KIM: That’s really cool. It just opens the door to so many more possibilities.
KAREN: Okay, last question, any self-taped audition protocol?
KIM: Yes, always read what the casting director is looking for and how they want you to put your tape together. I have had some casting directors ask me to slate at the beginning and others who want me to slate at the end. Some want your height, some don’t. Pay attention to the details! Don’t give them any reason not to watch your tape. And if you were asked to do more than one role, you will have to do them separately and always send the best one first.
Last but not least, make sure you look like the role. Don’t waste the casting director’s time. If you do, they may not call you in again.
KAREN: Good point. So how far are you from Dallas?
KIM: Still another 2 1/2 hours.
KAREN: Oh my, I love you girl! Thanks for helping out. I really appreciate it.
KIM: You’re welcome. I am glad I could help. I know we’re going to see a lot more of this in the future. I love Questions & Actors, I love what you are doing and that your readers have somebody like you who is professional and has many years of experience giving good advice.
KAREN: Thank you.
KIM: You better print that, because I will know, I read your articles
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Here’s what Kim is up to, check out her site.