How to ace a virtual audition
You might think a virtual audition is not much different than an in-person one. After all, both require the person to flex their thespian muscles. But there are other components one should consider when flaunting their talents for this new type of performing theatre, from the technical to the theatrical.
1. Early is on time, on time is late -- Arrive at least five minutes early to your virtual audition (not like you have to travel to it!) and make sure your user name is YOUR name, not one you use for more casual Zoom calls or other online meetings.
2. A working camera and microphone -- This seems like a common sense notion, but it also matters about the quality of each device; if either one is choppy or not working altogether, no matter how strong your performance, the director's hands are tied. They can only evaluate on what they see and hear. And don't worry -- you can get excellent tech for under $50 each.
3. A sturdy internet connection -- Do yourself (and the director/other auditioners) a favor: connect your computer to your Internet router with an ethernet cable. Don't rely on your WiFi, because anything could knock it out. While a wired connection is not 100% failsafe, it's a surer bet you will not fall victim to the whims of wireless.
4. Mind your camera position -- My favorite auditions are when the actor can be seen in a standing position, from at least the waist up. As opposed to the typical head-and-shoulders default most people use, sitting, this allows the performer to use more of their body and their space, rather than be confined to the more limited shot of just their head.
5. Use your body -- In virtual theatre, there's a lot less a viewer can look at; there are no sets (at least, not much of one) and we're often left with just the actor to focus on. So keep it interesting by using your face, hands, and body in any way possible to make a static shot more exciting.
6. Don't hide behind the mic -- Yes, you're using a microphone, but that doesn't mean you can be quiet and hope your voice comes across loud and clear. What makes things a little different is that increased volume could alarm your neighbors or housemates, so you need to still project and emote as if you were in a theatre and not in your living room.
7. Keep it clean -- Just as you wouldn't go into a job interview in a ripped T-shirt and paint-splattered shorts (I hope), your performance area should likewise be clean and distraction-free. You do not need to renovate your room to do this, but if you're going to be rehearsing and performing from your den or office, presenting a tidy view of it will not only keep the director's focus on your audition, but give them a better idea of what they will see at rehearsals, AND your seriousness in this role. If all else fails, a green screen is a great way to hide the mess!
8. Be prepared -- If the director has emailed sides to you in advance, have them ready to go, whether they're on another tab, your phone, printed out, or committed to memory. Time is key in all things, and waiting to bring up the email with the audition monologue will only waste valuable time.
With these pointers in mind, you will be able to impress the director and other auditioners for your next virtual acting gig!