Casting Talent Online: 7 Top Tips
Since the pandemic, we have seen a real increase in the number of agencies that are casting talent online. Whether it be via self tape requests or zoom castings, it seems that the first round of auditions are mainly being done in a digital format.
It is becoming more and more regular that talent only get called into the room for live castings at the final recall stages of the process. This means that now more than ever it is crucial that talent are prepared with a professional set up to cast online.
With that in mind, here are some of our top tips for online castings and how to make the best impression possible when casting talent online.
1) Nail your set-ups
For both zoom castings and self-tapes, make sure you spend some time testing out some setups in your home so you have the perfect space. Ideally, you will be able to find a setup where you can have a close, a mid, and a full-length shot; all without having to change the camera angle multiple times. When it comes to what agencies are looking for when casting talent online, the lighting is important so make sure wherever you are is well-lit. Make sure you have a tidy space around you. This is likely to be a process of trial and error, so make sure you practise this ahead of any live castings! Also, if you are using a smartphone, make sure these are always in landscape mode.
2) Don’t feel the need to change scenes
When it comes to what agencies are searching for when casting talent online, if the casting directions require you to play out multiple scenarios and scenes, do not feel as though you have to change the environment and setup. This can take up lots of valuable time and really the casting team just want to see you showing off your best skills. No one expects you to be the cameraman, stage manager, and actor all at the same time!
3) Props & costume
While it is great to have a couple of props on hand to help you with characterisation, try not to hinder yourself by having too many. The same goes for costume and wardrobe choices; of course, it is great to give a gentle nod to the character you are portraying, just don’t get het up on trying to completely transform yourself. Too much fuss can distract the casting team from your performance.
4) Learn the material provided
If you are provided with material ahead of the casting, try to familiarise yourself with the content as much as possible. Always know which casting director you are seeing, what the casting is for and what role you are up for. If you are unsure, always ask!
5) Always be on time and meet deadlines
When agencies are casting talent online, punctuality is still key. Make sure you are ready in the virtual waiting room ahead of your time slot. We have all had trouble at least once trying to enter a Zoom call, so make sure you are set up and ready with plenty of time to spare. Try not to wait until your time slot to log on just in case there are any unforeseen technical issues. When it comes to self tapes, always make sure you meet the deadline given by the casting director. Often the casting team are on tight schedules and so need tapes back in a timely manner. If you are going to have trouble meeting a deadline, always let your booker know so they are able to contact the casting team and keep everyone in the loop.
6) Labelling is crucial
Make it easy for the casting director to be able to identify you by using your full name as your user name on Zoom. Nicknames, abbreviations and emojis are all great for your Whatsapp profile, but for online castings, keep it simple! Casting directors want to see your full name so they know exactly who you are. They have so many people to see in one session and no one wants to miss out on a job because their username wasn’t clear. In a similar way, make sure your self tapes are labelled correctly. Often casting directors will state in their self tape directions exactly how they would like the files you are submitting to be labelled. Labelling the files in the way they have asked could be the difference between them watching your tape and ignoring it.
7) Breathe, relax and have fun!
The team that are casting talent online will always want you to do your best, so try to relax and have fun. Take on board any direction and tips they may give you and be adaptable.
Ro from Kate and Lou + Ro Casting says - ''Always make sure you have practiced your setup before joining a zoom casting or starting to record your self-tape. We want to see you at your best and a well-practiced setup will ensure you can focus on your performance instead of needing to adjust camera angles and lighting halfway through!"