We asked Industry Professional Actor and Casting Director Jo Briant Questions and she Delivered with Exclusive behind-the-scenes industry Tips/Secrets to take away & Increase your chances of Recognition in the auditioning process!
1 – What’s one thing you always look for when reviewing a self-tape?
“Living fully activated in the scene and listening and reacting in the present moment.”
2 – What colour backdrop should I use?
“There’s no right or wrong answer to this. If you can afford to buy a backdrop I would choose either slate grey or blue. If you are on a budget then a clear blank wall at home will suffice. Make sure you don’t have wall sockets or door frames, etc that pull focus. We want to see YOU.”
3 – Is there anything you look for in a slate besides the information stated by the actor?
“Not really. It is purely a marker so we know who you are. Although I have seen slates where actors are just themselves and have thought OMG why didn’t you do that in your audition. I did one when my cat walked in and I picked him up. I sent it in just for a bit of light relief. My agent loved it. However, it’s really a chance for you to be relaxed and state who you are so no need to fret about it. A lot of inexperienced actors find the slate a challenge. The more you do it the easier it becomes.”
4 – Does submitting my self-tape to casting earlier strengthen my chance of being cast?
“I think it’s a good idea to get it in with time to spare as it makes the CD’s life a bit easier. Receiving a lot at the last minute can be stressful. Also, it’s good to establish a professional habit that is appreciated.”
5 – How should I choose my reader?
“If you can choose another actor you work well with or someone who fits the bill of the other character in your scene that can be very helpful. Even if you have them on Zoom and not in the room it’s good to have that rapport. So getting to know other actors is fun and you can create a community of support. If it’s a big job you might consider using a coach to put one down with you.”
6 – Should I follow all the stage directions in the script or can I play it differently?
“Every CD has a different point of view on this. Depending on the production I feel in self-tapes you need to make it your own, so sometimes getting rid of all the directions and playing around with what you would do in the given circumstances will be authentic to you and surprising. However, bear in mind the scene has been given for a reason so you don’t want to do something that’s not in alignment with the action. We need to fulfil the storyline and bring it to life not change it so it doesn’t make sense. You need to figure out what the scene is about and do it your way.”
7 – Do I need to dress up as the character I’m auditioning for?
“I think it’s great to lean into the feel of the character. Wear what you would wear if you were in the situation. A hint.”
8 – What is one self-tape ‘red flag’ that makes you hit the delete button?
“Nothing really. But we do need to see you clearly and your eyes. So use a midshot with good lighting and be mindful of your eyeline so we can see your reactions etc. I do get annoyed if the angle is crazy weird and too far away.”