A two-hour workshop with all of your questions answered about self-taping auditions and virtual callbacks
Self-taping auditions has become increasingly popular in the entertainment industry even before the pandemic. With COVID-10, not only self-tapes became the safest option but mandatory policy per actors unions.
If you are an actor who still feels insecure about the quality of your self-tapes, this workshop is for you. We will talk about equipment, slating, performing in self-tape (with and without a reader), self-directing, and delivering your files professionally.
We will also talk about what is really important and what is just a waste of time and money when it comes to self-taping.
In addition, we will teach you how to prepare for an actual callback, where you would meet with casting producers: what to expect and how to make the best of your opportunity.
Limited spots available. Contact us for Industry Tickets.
Have you written a New Year’s Resolution last December? No? When was the last time you did? Do you understand the importance of writing a list of goals to work on once a year? Let’s talk about that.
What is a New Year’s Resolution?
According to Wikipedia, it is “a tradition in which a person resolves to continue good practices, change an undesired trait or behavior, to accomplish a personal goal, or otherwise improve their life.”
Studies show that people who set realistic goals and periodically revise their resolutions list are successful at meeting (and sometimes exceeding) such goals. Whether it is getting healthier or saving money, as long as your list is well thought, you can create action plans for each objective, track your progress, and achieve your dreams.
However, these past years may have been chaotic. If you skipped dreaming because reality was too hard, or inconsistent beyond management, that is understandable. Artists in particular have been dealing with a roller coaster professionally and personally.
When it comes to our work, changes started a few years back, from the ways we auditioned to the legal side of our career (agents, contracts, unions). Before we could get used to them, our industry was shut down in March of 2020 never to be the same again, even after reopening.
On a personal level, artists are by nature more sensitive than people whose life does not revolve around their creativity. Therefore, a bad year (or a bad few years) politically and financially can certainly throw us off completely.
As much as you may have struggled in recent times to find performance opportunities, get paid for your work, and have inspiration in your life, the tides are finally changing.
It’s time to heal from the past and start thinking about yourself again. Start by reviving your passion – read a script, take an acting class, self-tape a scene or monologue.
Then, create a plan for your short and long term happiness. Write down what you need and want, from health to finances, without neglecting what brings you joy.
That will be the starting point that will create a visual map of which steps to take first: should you start by reviewing your acting reel and resume? Taking a new headshot? Is it time to send a few handwritten cards to your connections in the business?
The most important point here is, do not procrastinate on your resolutions list. Without it, it will be more challenging to know what to do now and next. Do it for yourself and your work, because your art matters – it is your mission, what you bring to make this world a better place.
When Stanislavsky developed his method, his primary goal was to give actors the tools they could use to deliver the most realistic performance possible. Breaking with the standing rule of body work and voice projection as the most important work an actor could do, he wanted to instill emotion in the audience through naturalism and empathy.
In other words, actors were trained to memorize their lines, speak them loudly and clearly, and move on the stage precisely. Stanislavsky observed that some actors delivered a great performance, making the audience enjoy the story whereas others seemed to act robotically and were not as entertaining to watch.
He started his experimental lab with improvisation and trial-and-error exercises. His goal was to create every scene with meaning: a person does not just leave their house through the front door; the scene starts a moment before that – when they mentally set their goal to “go out” and proceed to get ready, grab their keys, make sure they locked everything, etc.
With this new approach to acting, where an actor fills the shows of a character with their personal senses and emotions, performances reached a new level of excellence. Until this day, actors all over the world aim for that naturalism when performing. That creates more compelling stories to watch.
With that in mind, I compiled 5 quick and easy ways you can use the Stanislavsky method techniques when you are at your audition.
When you are given your script, look first at what is in the heading of a scene and in parenthesis. Writers often place little hidden gems there that may go unnoticed when the actor is only worried about their lines. The intention a character has is not always verbalized. That means, we don’t always say what we are feeling or thinking and neither does our character. That is why stage directions are important. They may give you a good clue of the character’s intentions and demeanor. Demeanor is an important part of someone’s personality and not always associated with what they say. Stanislavsky taught us that we need to be aware of what our character wants at all times. Stage directions can give us clues we may not have without reading the entire play. For example: In “Doubt: A Parable,” Sister Aloysius says, “Sit down.” In parentheses, though, you see that Father Flynn takes her chair at her desk. Also in parenthesis, the playwright wrote: “She reacts but says nothing.” What a clue! So, first and foremost, find and follow your stage directions.
2. Word Stress
Once you know your character’s intention and establish their demeanor, explore the actual words they say. Every character has a personality and a demeanor, as we just talked about. Now take it to the next level: find out what are the most important words said in every line. Highlight that word or those words and give them special color and musicality. Make sure your audience does not only hear those words but fully embody their meaning in the context. Some words need the stress. Other words are there to support that. Remember: Words are important. Stress them accordingly.
Now, just the opposite: when not to speak. There are moments of silence in almost every dialogue and even in monologues. Silence means that nothing else is being said. If you can place a period at the end of a sentence using only your demeanor, that is a powerful performance. Discover moments when your character is silent and make them come alive with a subtle but powerful presence at that moment. That can be challenging but it is worth it. Silence is gold!
Well, we already talked about silence. So, why are we talking about pauses now? Are they the same thing? They are not. A pause gives continuity to a thought, keeping it on track or even steering it in a different direction. Sometimes a playwright will write your pauses for you in parentheses but sometimes they won’t. In that case, discover where to place them. Pauses can be used in combination with word stress or between sentences and they do not need to be very long to be powerful.
And finally, our 5th tip…
Demeanor goes hand in hand with subtext. For the most part, people do not constantly say what they are thinking. The subtext is what your character is actually thinking or feeling when they say what they say. It is your job to express that to the audience. Very likely, you will have to do it in a subtle and natural manner to avoid over-acting. Still, be aware of your subtext at all times. That will make you move in the scene in a more realistic way. It will also make your journey in the story rich. So, when you have that audition script, establish what your character wants, think, feels, when they say what they say. It will even help you memorize those lines, I promise.
I hope you enjoyed these tips and write them down to remember them when you are preparing to get in character, especially in auditions.