How to Run a Successful Audition for Your Marketing Video - dummies

How to Run a Successful Audition for Your Marketing Video

By Kevin Daum, Bettina Hein, Matt Scott, Andreas Goeldi

You post the casting notice for your marketing video, and your inbox becomes flooded with submissions. After you sort out the best picks and toss the rest, it’s time to hold your audition. To run your audition properly, follow these guidelines.

Set up the video audition space

The first step in running a successful audition is to set up a usable space. Follow these suggestions for setting up your space correctly the first time:

  1. Choose between an open or closed audition.

    In an open call, you post the audition time, and actors sign up for a spot. If you audition by appointment only, you see only the actors you choose — when you choose to see them.

  2. Meet and greet.

    Assign someone to greet actors as they arrive at your audition, check them off your attendance list, and gather any head shots they bring with them.

  3. Schedule with space.

    Schedule auditions about 10 to 15 minutes apart, which allows actors 5 to 10 minutes apiece, and stick to the time limit. Ask actors to arrive at least a half-hour early to give everyone enough time to look over the scene they’re reading.

  4. Create a holding area.

    Designate an area where actors can wait beforehand to look over their lines and psyche themselves up for their auditions.

Conduct the video audition

It wouldn’t be an audition, of course, without the audition. Follow these suggestions when you reach this critical part of the audition process.

  1. You sit, they stand.

    Seat yourself (and anyone who’s helping you) behind a table while the actors stand for the scene. You can take notes on what you’re seeing, plus you’ll gain a better sense of how they hold themselves and move, and the actors remain active, not passive.

  2. Film it.

    Set up a camera to capture the audition for review. Have actors “slate” themselves by providing their names and contact information on camera

  3. Chill out!

    Keep the atmosphere friendly and relaxed. The more comfortable your actors, the more natural their performances.

  4. Observe everything.

    Write down whether actors showed up on time, dressed professionally, showed some personality, and said, “Thank you,” for example. It’s a great way to gauge their work habits.

  5. Let the actors prepare.

    Ask them to arrive at least a half-hour early, to give them time to look over the scene they’re reading.

  6. Designate someone to be the reader.

    The reader acts out the scene with the actor during the audition and gives him someone to “play to.” The reader should be interested in the scene, but not showy — no grabbing the spotlight, please. The reader should read the entire scene from the side of the stage, giving the actors the stage to themselves.

  7. Give direction.

    After an actor’s initial reading, provide a little direction to see how they absorb it. (It’s another chance to see how well they work.)

Follow up with actors you want for your video

After you decide which actors you’re interested in, you’ll want to get in touch. Follow these steps:

  1. Notify the best actors.

    After your audition, notify the actors you want to see again. Give them an idea of aspects of their performances or the script you want them to emphasize for the next audition.

  2. Hold callbacks.

    A callback is a smaller audition (usually on another day) of the best actors you’ve evaluated. You can even try pairing actors in a scene to see how they play together.

When you settle on the perfect actors for your video, contact the other actors from your callback to thank them for their time and talent. This action not only soothes wounded egos but also boosts your reputation as someone worth auditioning for.