The Equity Foundation is giving you a unique opportunity to learn the art of self-testing from some of the best casting directors in the world.
Being able to self-test means you can live anywhere and still get seen for auditions. It is a vital skill for any actor.
The Equity Self-Test Project is designed to challenge you as a performer. The project has been designed to emulate a quick turnaround self-test request or last minute call out. Once you have been confirmed to take part, you have one week to submit your self-test link. Our feedback from performers highlights how many actors are not confident when it comes to recording their own self-tests, from lighting and sound to editing and uploading. The Equity Self-Test project aims to help performers hone their technical skills as well as receive feedback from top casting directors.
HOW IT WORKS
STEP ONE: Have you registered for the Self-Test Project yet? If not, click HERE to register – make sure to specify your age range and have your MEAA membership number handy. Please note, you must be current MEAA Equity member to register for the Self-Test Project. To join MEAA, click here.
STEP TWO: Once a month we pick an age range and select at random 20 registered MEAA Equity performers who fall within that range.
STEP THREE: The first 10 performers to respond and confirm their participation are locked in for that month. Once confirmed, you will be contacted and assigned a script by an anonymous casting director. Those who miss out are put back in the mix for future rounds.
STEP FOUR: The 10 performers taking part that month have one week to upload their Self-Test online to Vimeo or YouTube and send us the direct link. If you miss the deadline, you miss out on feedback! Check out our series of “How to Self-Test” videos in the resources section below, that break down the basics. Make sure you allow yourself enough time to become familiar with the technology involved and are prepared before your deadline; this will save you time and unwanted stress.
STEP FIVE: We send your Self-Test link directly to the Casting Director. In 2-3 weeks we send back their private feedback to you. No further correspondence will be entered into once feedback is delivered. This is an invaluable learning experience and we ask all performers to take feedback of any nature with good grace.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in any feedback provided to participants are not necessarily those of Equity or the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance.
At any one time the casting directors involved in this project will include:
Kate Leonard (AUS), Patrick Rush (USA), Kathleen Chopin (USA), Kim Miscia (USA), Alyson Silverberg (USA), Sara Isaacson (USA), David Rapaport (USA), Nikki Barrett (Barrett Casting), Anousha Zarkesh (Anousha Zarkesh Casting), Alison Telford (ABC TV), Matt and Mike Dwyer (Barefoot Casting), Marcia Ross (Marcia Ross Casting), Matt Skrobalak (CBS Television Studios), Tom McSweeney (McSweeney Newman Casting), David Newman (McSweeney Newman Casting), Dina Mann (Dina Mann Casting), Nancy Naylor (USA), Stephanie Gorin (USA) Risa Bramon Garcia (USA), Deborah Aquila (USA) Sheila Guthrie (USA), Bernie Telsey (USA), Lisa Miller Kastz (USA), Jennifer Cooper (USA), Jeanie Bacharach (USA), Dorian Frankel (USA), Marisa Ross-Doepke (USA), Greg Apps (Greg Apps Casting).
“How to Self-Test” Videos
For some performers self-testing may be a new experience.
Pearl Tan of Pearly Productions has produced several quick and easy "How To" videos for the Equity Foundation that take you through some of the basics.
Lighting and sound
Sending the video
Make sure you practise a few times before you submit your self-test and familiarise yourself with editing and uploading videos to YouTube or Vimeo. Allow yourself enough time to shoot, edit and upload your video, it might take longer than you think!
Click here for the pointers in print.
US casting directors discuss auditon techniques at an Equity event in LA
Helpful hints from Casting Directors
It’s a perennial question for actors: how do I prepare for an audition? Here leading casting directors from Australia, New Zealand and the United States share their tips to help you understand the process and maximise your chances of success.
“If you can’t make it to the casting session and you have been invited to submit a self-test, keep it clear and simple. Lighting should be gentle but not atmospheric (fluoro is often too severe, while candlelight is not sufficient); audio quality must be clear, without too many other sounds; your backdrop should be neutral so as not to distract from your test. Place yourself closer to the microphone than your reader. If the reader is operating the camera, try and lock off the frame in a medium close-up and then move the reader further back so their voice won’t dominate. The advice to ‘keep going’ does not apply to self-tests. We don’t want to see more than two takes of a scene or any stuff-ups.
“Train and maintain a flawless American accent. Most roles you will be auditioning for are going to be American, so if that accent isn’t in great shape, you will not get any traction.”
"For on-camera work, keep your eye line simple and clean. In a legit on-camera audition, never look at the camera unless you are told to. In a theatrical audition, if you are doing a monologue, never use the folk you are auditioning for as your point of focus. Look slightly up and left or right of them."
"Get proactive – send self-tests if you feel you are right for a role. CDs can’t test everyone, but we do watch all self-tests to find little gems we may have missed."
"Make strong choices about the material you’ve been given. Don’t rewrite the script. If you’re told you may improvise, do so, but realise that the words on the page have been put there by someone who has already been hired. You have not yet been hired, so respect those words. Show what you can do to bring the existing text to life within the parameters the casting director has given you."
We would like to thank the NZ Film Commission and Media Super for their support of the Self-Test Project