Requirements and Tips
Check out these tips and tricks to nailing your Roger Sturevant application from the judges themselves!
Instructions: a reminder
• It is REQUIRED that you submit two contrasting songs showing vocal and acting range (versatility and contrast) and musicality. Choices could include: up-tempo, ballad, contemporary, traditional musical theatre. When possible, women are encouraged to show belt and legit vocal capabilities. The video should be no longer than 5 minutes long.
• Be mindful of the acoustic dynamics of your recording. Review the recording prior to submission checking for clarity of sound and distracting background noise.
• Lighting in the room should allow you to be sufficiently well seen.
• Begin your submission with an introduction - say your name and the songs you will be singing.
• Treat your submission as an audition --- it is. Dress and conduct yourself professionally.
Be aware of the color of light you’re in as well. If you know how to color balance, be sure to do that before you record. If not, keep in mind that most lights affect color and fluorescent light especially will give you a greenish or grey hue. Be aware of the light you’re shooting with. Severe or high contrast lighting can cast hard shadows on you and overhead light can be unflattering. If you’re in a room with overhead light, try shooting closer to an open window to add some natural light. Placing a lamp or two nearby is another way to add “fill” or soften light to reduce stark shadows and keep the attention on you.
Casting wants to see you in your self-taped audition videos, so don’t waste a second on creating a set or setting to fit the scene. However, do make sure your camera isn’t catching a bunch of distractions. Good self-taped auditions have simple, plain backgrounds. Hanging a colored sheet behind you is better for your self-taped audition than shooting with a cluttered or distracting background.
Just like in a live audition, unless directed to do so, don’t address the camera directly. Also called “breaking the fourth wall,” looking into camera can distract from your
performance. Pick a focal point just off-camera. Since you’re shooting yourself, you can even place a sticker on the camera a smidgen to the left or right to keep your
focus out of the lens.
Shoot a quick test and watch it back reviewing all seven tips: recording equipment, lighting, wardrobe, setting, frame, performance, and reader. Make sure you can
easily see and hear yourself clearly on the recording.
For self-taped auditions, casting directors welcome quality recordings from any source that offers fairly accurate color, detectable sound, and decent focus. If your phone records video, you’re probably set for recording equipment. Not only is HD unnecessary for a good self-taped audition, HD can be sometimes unforgiving in its hyper-detail. Whatever camera equipment you’re using, do your best to maximize the quality of your audition by recording at a quiet time with enough light to get good resolution for clear sound and image.
Just like with getting good headshots, you want to make wardrobe and setting decisions that keep the attention on you in a positive way. Select simple wardrobe avoiding logos, busy patterns, white, and black (Black is a great fashion basic, but for headshots or auditions, black can create a distracting “floating head” effect, especially if your background is also dark.) Our eyes are naturally drawn to the brightest part of an image. You want casting directors looking at your face and eyes instead of your bright white shirt or bright white background.
The “frame” is what the camera sees and where it cuts you off. Unless otherwiseinstructed for the audition, keep your frame medium to close-up, closing on your head andshoulders. Your line reader should be off-camera and not seen at all. Even if someone isrunning the camera for you, keep the shot simple, set the frame, and leave it there or allowfor one gentle push-in to get a little closer as the scene progresses. Remember, you wantthe casting director paying attention to you and your performance, not what the camera is doing.