Mock Auditions are the most preparatory portion of on camera training and although I am not a firm believer of being on camera every week, I feel adding mock auditions for kids and teens once a month is perfect for fine tuning the young Actors audition technique.
Today we will concentrate on what happens once the Actor is in front of the camera and ready to begin the audition. We will discuss the eight critical steps in front of the camera. They are:
- The Slate & Camera Frame
- Eye Contact
- Comfort with script
- Taking Direction
- Props & Miming
- Moment before & moment after
- The slate is the way you state your name & age. If over 18, you do not state your age. The Actor must gaze into the camera lens as if their funniest friend is there and just said something funny that only the 2 of them share. Then say “Hi” (warmly), smiling, then first name, (pause) last name, going down on the end of last name. This clearly gives the viewer of the audition tape the chance to really hear the Actors name. Then say “and I am 11 years old” (or actual age), smile. No Agencies, unless asked.
- Eye contact must be established with the “reader” which is sometimes the Casting Director. You must always connect by memorizing your first line.
- I compare being Comfortable with your script to using a video game controller. It must be out of the way with very little focus on it, keeping your focus on the reader so you can listen & react when their line is spoken. Remember, you are also being filmed listening. Being memorized helps. Regardless, you must ALWAYS take the script into the room with you and hold it.
- Readjusts are notes or suggestions the casting Director gives the Actor once you have read. This is how they find out if you can take direction. NEVER argue with this, just show them you can understand what they ask for, make the adjustment in your head, then deliver the new read with their note.
- Taking Direction is the most important thing you will do in the room. Simply take the notes the CD offers you. It is the CD’s job to see if you are easy to work with, now show them you are.
- Collaborating is so important and the way you collaborate is what separates the pros from the green rookies. Once the CD offers you a different way to do the lines (readjust), acknowledge that you heard it by saying, “Got it”. If you did not understand what they wanted, ask again. They want you to do well, or they would not have bothered with the redirect. Communicate clearly and simply.
- Props and pantomiming at an audition are considered a bad habit. The only time you will ever mime something in the audition is when it is absolutely critical to the read. Never touch, kiss or approach the CD, remember to stay in frame.
- Your Moment Before and Moment After establish your character and give you a few seconds to settle into the scene and to stay in it after the scene, when the camera is still rolling. Ask yourself, what is my character doing the moment before the scene starts? After the last line, make sure you stay in character and react to what has just happened as the character would.
Follow these eight lessons in the audition room, and you will appear to be well trained. When we do Mock Auditions in class, I have each of your scene partner’s act as the reader when you are on Camera. This helps you understand that this is your time and what better way to arm yourself than with knowledge and preparation for your 1 – 5 minutes in the room that can change your life forever?