Three Biggest Mistakes Actors Make on Video Auditions
This could obviously be a much longer list but I wanted to just highlight the three biggest mistakes I see when coaching performers for video audition submissions.
1. Not Cleaning the Lens Before Filming
I know this seems almost too obvious to be in the top three but I promise it’s not. This is exclusively pertaining to iPhone cameras because we don’t think of them the same way we do a mirrorless or DSLR camera. Especially for people who aren’t photographers and videographers, it’s easy to assume there’s no need to wipe the lens each time, but the lens doesn’t have to be filthy to affect image quality.
Fingerprints on a lens can make a video appear blurry even when hard to detect visibly. It’s also just a good practice to get into. Control what you can control, right? I’ve even blamed blurry images on poor internet connection before I realized my mistake. It’s the equivalent of making sure electronics are plugged in before getting frustrated. Ok, moving on.
2. Uploading on Low Battery
I don’t know anyone who couldn’t use more battery life in a day. Even with charging cases I have to charge my phone multiple times a day. Anyone who has experience turning in video submissions can attest to the fact that the set up is usually what takes the longest until you can establish a workflow. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible for performers who often have to work from hotel rooms or home offices that aren't devoted solely to having a permanent filming set-up. Needless to say it’s common to be on "red" by the time you’re trying to upload files.
What a lot of people aren’t aware of is that being on 1% battery can affect your wifi connection which then can affect the quality of your upload. While we’re at it, another good idea is to go ahead and close any unnecessary apps before filming. Enabling do not disturb is also crucial to to avoid inconvenient interruptions that always seem to occur right when you’re about to get the perfect take.
3. Not Naming Your File
I could actually go on and on about this topic not just pertaining to video auditions but digital organization in general, but that’s for another time. It seems elementary but I see actors turn in auditions and media all the time without including any name or label on the file. It can be easy to forget that creatives and casting aren't just opening emails from you but many others. I also see students turn in files labeled with the side or the song attached as opposed to their name.
While this my seem logical, it is important to think of things from casting’s perspective. With the large amount of actors considered for any given role, another video labeled "Audition Side 1" is not exactly helpful. They already know the name of the show or project. They don’t know you.
At the end of the day, it truly is about the basics. Of course we could go on and on about technical details and we do, but these are such easily avoidable mistakes. Control what you can control, ya know?