How To Do A Self Tape Audition - Part 2 using a reader, background and framing


Below is the transcript for part two of my interview at Jive Duck Studios.  Check back next week for part three.  It'll be  a fun one!

Melissa:            Welcome back. It is part two of how to do a self-tape audition. I'm here at Jive Duck Studios in Burbank, California, to my left is Dante Swain and behind the camera is Marc Fajardo. I'm Melissa Schumacher and today we're talking about using a reader and setting up your shot. All right. Dante, tell us what are some tips to help out your reader when going into the studio?

Dante:              Well, I would say most importantly, make sure that the reader is well aware of all of the instructions. Certain casting directors can be very particular about the do's and the don'ts with their casting. So make sure that the reader is well aware of that to help them help you. With that being said, don't be afraid to direct the reader. After all, this is your audition and you should feel free to paint the scene how you see fit. But keep in mind that the reader should never distract from your audition by overreacting or talking too loud. If you find that this is the case, it's not a problem just to tell the reader to read in a very monotone fashion. After all, they should not draw more attention than you in your audition.

Melissa:            Okay. Marc, since you're already behind the camera, why don't you tell us where's the best place for the reader to sit or stand?

New Speaker:   I'm glad to do it, Melissa, so depending on what you need from the reader, you can have them either sit or stand. Generally, you have the reader at the same eye level with you. You get to see more of the actor's eyes when the reader is standing close to the camera. Now, if your scene has multiple characters, you could set up multiple eyelines. Now, the first eyeline could be towards the reader. The second eyeline could be on the other side of the camera, still close to the camera lens, and the third eyeline could be an inch the left of eyeline number two or an inch to the right of eyeline number one. And, anything more than three characters, I would just divide up my attention to the eyeline's already established.

New Speaker:   And, just to add, here at Jive Duck Studios. We've got Ned the head we've graduated from using Post-It Notes for eyeline's using this mannequin head that we place the top of the stand.

Melissa:            Thank you for that, Marc, and I have to say Ned the head is one of my favorite things about this studio. Anyway, moving on, background is very important too. You want to make sure that you don't have anything too distracting behind you. So, Dante, why don't you tell us a little bit more about that?

Dante:              Absolutely, background, it goes without saying, is saying is super important. You don't want to have a kitchen behind you or a couch or a TV. Anything that'll take attention away from you is no good. Here, at the studio, we have a gray background and a blue background, and we have these colors, because typically casting will ask for one of the two. Blue tends to be something that's a little bit more comedic. Gray tends to lean towards the drama, but if you don't have a background like we have here at the studio, it's okay to use a sheet, just find a sheet and place it up and it'll do the trick just fine.

Melissa:            And always iron it first.

Dante:              Absolutely, you don't want any wrinkled, distracting sheets behind.

Melissa:            No. Framing is also very important. Number one, make sure you follow the directions in your audition notice, but other than that, I am going to hand it over to Marc and Dante to show you how it's really done.

Marc:               Framing your audition tapes is vital for casting. You want them to see the emotional performance from your face and eyes and also as a general note, don't shoot your auditions vertically if shooting with a smartphone. Always shoot them horizontally.

Marc:               The general framing for audition tapes is a medium close-up, which is from the chest to the head. Sometimes casting directors would ask you to frame at a medium shot, which is from the waist to the head, and that's usually for comedy or a multi-cam show. Another important factor in framing is to leave a little headroom on the top, preferably an inch at the top of your head. This way, it gives a little breathing space to fully absorb your performance. Another aspect to audition tapes is slating where you usually say your name and height. Sometimes casting directors ask you to say your name and height in a close-up shot, which is focused mainly on your face. Then zoom out to a full body shot, which is from head to toe. This way casting can see your full shape and size.

Melissa:            Thank you so much for joining us again here at Jive Duck Studios and that completes part two of how to do a self-taped audition using a reader and setting up your shot. If you found that information helpful, be sure to like and comment below. Now you're going to want to make sure you come back for video three as Marc and Dante, are you going to try to stump me with a little game of setup your shot.

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