VIRTUAL AUDITIONS VS. IN PERSON
On my first three films, I never held auditions. I utilized actors and friends I knew to fill the roles. Specifically, on my feature, I went as far as posting roles on Facebook and just selecting anyone who was interested, regardless of experience. On my last short film, we actually held in person auditions and I have to say, never again.
Prior to working and planning for What About Molly?, I was working on a marketing idea for the film titled, The Molly Files. The search for one great actress began. Trying to be budget savvy, I decided to hold virtual auditions by asking all interested actresses to record their auditions and send them to me over email. This saved my time from having to be in a room all day watching and filming people and this also saved money as I didn’t need to worry about renting out a space for the auditions.
Thinking the only gains were going to be in time and money, I was pleasantly surprised to find the additional benefits that also came. Benefits I never expected, that can help make a determination on who to select and who you can rule out. Benefits, you might not get in person.
YOU HAVE TO WANT IT
I love working with passionate people. When I go after something, I go ALL IN to the point of obsession. If somebody doesn’t bring a similar passion or fire with them, I don’t want to work with them. I’m not looking for someone who just goes through the motions. You have to show me that you really WANT it.
Online auditions place the burden more on the actors to get things pulled together, although not too overly difficult in today’s world. Actors not only need to learn the material provided, they need to manage their own time, finding what's best for them to record the audition. Aside from that, they need to find a way to record the audition and find a reader for their lines.
These simple tasks can actually reveal a lot about a person. Those who want it, will make every effort to go and get it. You can see their drive and passion simply by the way they attack their work. Those who procrastinate can be construed as lazy or have a lack of motivation. Again, I’m not looking to work with those individuals. You’ll also find those people who decide NOT to send in an audition. I guess the juice isn’t worth the squeeze for those people. BYE!
But it’s not all work and no play for the actors because you also benefit from this process. You save time from having to go to an audition. You get the benefit of time for learning your lines and you get the comfort of auditioning in your own home. I find this reduces the nerves and brings forth a much better performance.
ADDITIONAL CASTING BENEFITS
A movie is viewed on a screen, so why the hell do I need to see someone in person? Don’t I just want to make sure they have what I need on screen? That’s where the action happens so why introduce a middle man? It literally makes no sense to have someone audition in person as you’re just going to go back and watch the recording anyway. Cut out the middleman, it’s work smarter and not harder.
“But, I need to see if they can take direction.”
Look, this one is simple. Watch their original audition and if you want to see something different or a variation, email, call, Skype, house party or whatever, to get into contact with that person and ask them to record it again, trying THIS. I have yet to receive a NO from people who are truly interested.
We have all of these wonderful tools and technologies at our disposal and I think we’d be foolish not to use them. Stop thinking so archaically and progress into the future with the rest of us. There is literally NO NEED to hold auditions in person as the benefits of a virtual audition are so plentiful and great.