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BWW Blog: How to Shine Online- Audition Tips for Online Auditions and Self-Tapes

Here are tips for both self-tapes and live online auditions.

Written by Kenneth Avery-Clark

With theatres planning to reopen in the hopefully not too distant future, auditions have started but not as we knew them. Speaking to German Director Christopher Stadlhofer, he explains, 'Even after lock-down, we will likely be conducting our first rounds online or by self-tape. It's logistically easier and more cost-effective.' Germany has the second-largest theatre industry in Europe next to London. So, what do you need to know if you are auditioning by Zoom or other online platforms?

Here are tips for both self-tapes and live online auditions.

Light Up Your Life

It's very frustrating waiting for the right light to hit your kitchen or living room when you need to do a self-tape or audition online. Make life easier and invest in lighting. You can search 'self-tape lighting' on www.amazon.com and take your pick. You can get a decent package for not as much as you think, complete with clamps to hold your filming equipment (um...your phone). You can invest further into a side-light which is even better, and you can power all of it through your laptop.

Back Me Up

Find a blank wall. A solid background colour is preferable even if it's white. We want you to stand out - not the wall. If you don't have a blank wall just makes sure you remove any items that will be distracting, like hanging laundry, ugly curtains or your grandmother.

Eye of The Tiger

We want to see you rooooaaaaarrr! So look as close to the camera lens as possible without looking straight into it. We need to focus on you (even more than in a room), so don't look to the side to deliver all your lines. If it helps, tape a bit of paper just to the side of the lens so it's clear where to look.

Dress to Impress

It's still an audition, and first impressions count. Make an effort. Even if they can't see the track bottoms, lose them, and wear what you would wear in the room.

Sound Advice

It might feel like you need a degree to sort this out. An ethernet connection is best (A what?...go ask your mom, she will know). But there are some advanced settings you need to know about to optimise sound. Check out step-by-step instructions here.

Back to the Future

Yep, you will need a suitable backing track. Test your sound with a friend first to make sure it's a reasonable level. You can also share your computer sound with the recipient (optimal). You will need to press 'Share' (and it's best to do this before your guest or guests join). Press 'Advanced' and share your computer sound. A backtrack on your computer will be shared with your guest, and your mic will still work. Find out step by step here.

What's all the Noise?

It seems obvious but make sure anyone in your household knows that you need quiet. It's important to focus on the audition (or self-tape). You don't want to give a TONY AWARD performance only to have your brother come in the room right at the end looking for his tennis racket.

Go Fly Away

If you have others in your home, ask them to go on Airplane Mode for the time you need to do your audition or self-tape. Again, a freeze-frame is usually comical but usually annoying too. Have a clear internet connection and buy your flatmates a box of chocolates to eat while you are making magic in the other room.

Presenting....YOU

Be present. If you're live, listen. Focus on the Director not on how you look on camera. Be prepared as you would for an in-person audition. Make sure everything is in place. Is your computer charged or plugged in? Do you have the latest updates for the program you are using? Are your backing tracks ready to roll? And finally, sit up straight (don't slouch or lean on the table) and whatever you do show your personality!



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