Recently, Kate - head of the casting director's department, had the very first kids casting webinar on how to attract casting directors' attention. She had the honor to host Leslie Brown – a super-talented, highly professional, and skilled casting director who shared all her knowledge, advice, and recommendations to improve acting skills about the self-tapes just to make the path of young child talent easier.
So, in case you are struggling with the must-have devices for high-quality self-tapes and aiming at conquering those casting directors in your next audition - this webinar is for you! Make sure you don't miss out on any line.
About Leslie Brown
She is an award winner, an independent casting director, and a production coordinator specializing in discovering the next stars for series films and commercials. This casting director has cast over 50 public service announcements, dozens of video commercials, and many, many feature films and short films. Believe it or not, in an international film, Nomad, she has cast in over 20 countries. The experience that she's got is crazy! It's not the end of her achievements; there are many more.
So, if you are reading this article, you will have valuable insights and ideas on how you can improve your career, get into this business, and get more callbacks from your auditions by the end of this article.
Useful Self-Tape Audition Tips for Kids
During the webinar, Leslie shared a ton of valuable information that will guarantee the success of your kid in the entertainment industry. Below we have combined the top 15 self-tape audition tips for kids every parent of a future superstar should follow:
1. Buy a Lighting Kit
If your lighting kit and setup are professional, then that communicates to the viewer that you are proficient. So you have to make an investment in a lighting kit. You can get a good one for $80-$150.
Bad lighting and shadows can pose a negative impression on the casting directors. So you need to take this seriously.
2. Have a Good Wall Background
A good, simple background is crucial. If you don't have such a wall at home, you can simply put fabric behind you when recording. The best colors for the background are grey or blue, according to Leslie. The casting director doesn't suggest having a white background as it will reflect the light.
3. Leave Yourself Enough Room Behind You
You don't want to be right up against the wall, making you feel trapped. And it will also make the camera really close to your face. You need to give room to the camera and room to the wall behind you, at least arm's length in both directions. It's also going to make you look the most flattering.
4. Have a Smile on Your Face and Maintain Good Eye Contact
Before you start recording and before you start your slate, have a smile on your face because that's going to be the first frame of your video. A good smile showing your teeth increases your credibility and adds to your beauty.
Similarly, make eye contact with the camera and say, "Hi, my name is XYZ". And smile. Your smile has to be with your eyes, not just your mouth.
5. A Tripod can Also Help
Investing in a tripod stand can assist you in taping still moments.
6. Background Sound Should be Clear
Sound is also important to deliver your dialogues. Make sure to limit any possible noises that could ruin your performance - dog barking, a loud fridge, a baby crying or your neighbors arguing.
7. Be of Your Age
Never try to present yourself as overage or underage. Otherwise, you may experience difficulties next.
8. Always Stay in Frame
If you're too far away and you're too small, or you're too up close, or out of frame, or out of focus, the casting director will not see the performance. So pay attention to your position.
9. Rehearsals Make You Perfect
If you want to record a smooth video, then rehearse, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse, and then record it. Don't be afraid to fail and try again. Practice makes it perfect!
10. Don't Edit Your Video Too Much, and Don't Overlook the Perfect Thumbnail
Typically, casting directors don't want you to edit the videos. They just want it to start and stop. If you edit it too much, then it can be distracting and give the wrong impression. Make sure the first thumbnail is a good photo of you so they can find you later!
11. Send Files with Your Name
Always send your tapes and other kinds of stuff with your actual names. Different names sound distracting. It's super important that your file name makes sense.
12. Pay Attention to Your Clothes
If there's no description from the casting director about what you should wear, wear neutral colors. And if there's not much of a description and it's just contemporary present day, then you can wear a layer, like you wear a shirt with a little jacket over it.
Choose colors that complement your skin. You want your headshots and photos to reflect what you currently look like. So you need to use your judgment on what kind of a character it is and then choose to dress wisely.
13. Do This with Your Script
Do you need to learn the script, or can you just read it? It depends on the length of the material. If you're given the script, do your best to memorize it. Get with a coach, practice it a few times, record it, and then send in your tape.
14. Have a Proper Understanding of Dialogue and Associated Emotions
Make sure you understand all of the dialogue and that it makes sense to you. So when you're saying the word, they mean something. Don't do mechanical acting. Have a reason for your movement.
If you are not good at emotions and want to learn how to find all those emotions, then take an improv class. It can surely help.
15. Don't Change Your Headshots Frequently
Don't spend a lot of money on them; you should change them about every six months when they're smaller, maybe more like every four months.
Now that you know all this - it's time for action! Be sure to go through the tips provided by Leslie with full attention and follow them in your kid's next audition. Remember that hard work pays off, and your kid's career in showbiz is up to YOU! Are you ready to put your kid on the big screen? Browse the hottest casting calls on kidscasting.com now, and let's make your kid famous.