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An Actor Prepares

By: Jess Canty

There is very little any of us can be sure about these days, but one thing I can say with relative confidence is that for the foreseeable future most auditions are going to be either via self-tape or via a live session online - especially for callbacks.

With that in mind, I think it is important for everyone to get comfortable performing this way - and so we recommend you practice.

Most acting studios have adapted their classes to now being online zoom sessions - something which I knew a few clients have found to not only be a good touchpoint every week for themselves, but are turning out to have the secondary benefit of getting practice performing over zoom.

So, if you have been considering starting class again, and you are in the financial place to do so comfortably, I think this is probably the best way to get good at performing in this very strange new way. There just is no substitute for having to perform week in and week out over Zoom to get you comfortable performing on Zoom.

That being said, I know that shelling out hundreds of dollars a month may just not be feasible right now for everyone - hence this post. So... beyond just the normal tips and tricks of our Self Tape Town Hall, I wanted to offer the following ideas:

  • Enlist a friend or fellow Cinterra-er! Schedule a zoom call with each other and take turns performing / role-playing as the casting director.

  • Learn different platforms! Zoom is the obvious choice, but you never know what casting may use - and it is good to familiarize yourself with Microsoft Teams and Google's platforms as well.

  • Learn how to change the display settings / defaults in Zoom (and other platforms) so that your own face is NOT on screen while you are performing. With the clients I have spoken with who have either had live E-auditions this is the #1 thing they have had to contend with. Obviously having your own face on your screen is not only distracting, but can cause possible problems with your eyelines / connection to the reader.

  • Which leads me to ... practice with MULTIPLE friends - one playing the casting director and one the reader. Again, play around with the settings and connecting with your "reader" while the casting director is "watching" your performance. Switch around in this role-play practice so you can see what this is like from each seat.

  • If you did not sign up for Actors Access' live webinar about Ecocast Live there is a great summary here. This system is similar to zoom but occurs within the Actors Access platform and we HIGHLY recommend familiarizing yourself with it before you receive an invite to audition this way.

Your ability to adapt to these new and ever changing circumstances in the months ahead is what is going to set you apart from other performers. The last thing you want with an audition right now is to not feel 1000% confident about your ability to perform within the constraints of this technology.

There is absolutely zero reason not to practice this now, at least once, so you are ready to go when you get the call. There are so many fewer opportunities right now that everyone needs to get better at capitalizing on them. One way to do that is to make sure that nothing that is in your control - and your familiarity with these technologies IS in your control - is left on the table. I do not want to hear that anyone didn't feel great about an audition because you weren't familiar with Zoom or Ecocast Live.

Remember... an actor prepares... and right now, this is part of your preparation.

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