Self-Taping Auditions 3 – Sides, Callbacks, & Screen Tests
Written by Ella Embry
June 10th , 2019
Alright, now that you know what you need for self-taping auditions here, and how to present yourself and edit it all together from here, you need to learn what to expect. Sure, each audition is going to be unique to the project and to what the director wants to see, but isn’t there a standard formula for how things go? Depending on where you are in the process, you’ll be working with sides, callbacks, and screen tests for film work after your self-taped audition.
Some audition calls may require you to perform sides for your audition rather than just a traditional monologue. Sides are cuts of dialogue between two or more characters with one character’s dialogue meant for auditioning and the others’ meant for being read off camera. This is so the director can see how you act when there’s no real person in front of you. Here’s an excellent example from a compilation of Game of Thrones auditions.
Here are some good tips to remember from this video:
- Make sure you have a good reader – they need to be easily understood while off camera to help your performance show through.
- React before you act – the camera is going to pick up every detail of your performance, including if you zone out while your reader is talking. So make sure you react to what they’re saying and actively listen.
- Where you look matters – be careful about making direct eye contact with the lenses when you’re not slating. It’s best to look slightly off, so the director isn’t uncomfortable while watching your audition.
While not always, film callbacks may sometimes require you to go in for a callback with the director/producers present. During this, they’ll have a production assistant or even one of the producers reading dialogue opposite your acting, and you’ll be able to ask questions and take notes directly from the director. Here’s an excellent example from some actors audition for The Office.
Here are some good things to take away from this video example:
- They’re on your side – the director/producers have asked you to come for a callback, they want you there! Don’t worry about trying to impress them; do the best job you can.
- Don’t expect your reader to perform; your reader will more than likely be a production assistant or a producer, not a professional actor. Their job is to just read the words on the page so the director can see how you react and act.
- Be not only professional but also yourself– it’s okay to let your guard down and joke with the director a little but don’t forget that at the end of the day this a job interview and their goal is to see if you’re a good fit for their project.
During the final stages of casting, especially for high production value movies and films, you may be asked to come in for a screen test. This is the endgame of the audition process as it usually means that the director/producers have a few people left to choose from and want to see how their last few options do on set with other actors. Here’s an example from the first Iron Man movie.
Here are some things to remember from this video:
- Don’t forget to introduce yourself to your screen partner – more than likely they’re just as focused and nervous as you are. You’re about to be working and auditioning together, so get to know them a little first if you have the time.
- Claim the space – acting on set is much different than acting on a stage, but that doesn’t change the basics! Even if you’ve never been on a set before, don’t be afraid to take up space and follow your impulses.
- Focus your performance – chances are the camera won’t always be able to see your entire body all the time. Of course, you can’t forget about your legs, but in tighter shots, it’s a good idea to focus your performance where the camera can see.
Need some advice? We’ve got you covered.
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