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Check out Katie's Submission and Audition Tips!
I can only speak for myself as a director, but if you're auditioning for a KAYfilms production, please keep these tips in mind.
- Have your own e-mail address. Often I see one name at the top of the e-mail (the one your e-mail provider has on record for you) and a different one at the bottom (the one you provide). This can get confusing, and can especially make things difficult when I go to send you an e-mail (instead of replying to one you sent me). E-mail accounts are free, so get one with your name attached and a professional-sounding address (email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org aren't the most professional -- but I would much rather see the first one!) so that the first impression you make is one of a professional actor who has his or her stuff together.
- Put the title of the project and the character you're submitting for in the subject. This is hugely important! Otherwise, how will I know which audition sides to send you? If you are unsure which role you fit best, pick one you think you could play and include something like "or any other role you think I would fit" in the body of the e-mail.
- Include your headshot in the e-mail. I like getting links to profiles for resume and demo reel purposes, but your e-mail is your first impression. Make sure your name and face are connected right away!
- A note about headshots: They should be professionally shot if possible. If not, I find that a friend taking your picture outside in good light works well. No bikini pictures unless the character description calls for it. If you play multiple age ranges/types (for instance: you can play both a college kid and a college graduate/professional or you play both PTA parent and party-goer), send a headshot for each. Submit it separately from your resume rather than including it in the PDF. If it's a big picture with a high resolution, make it a little smaller. Big files take a long time to load, and if I don't have a good connection where I am when I get your e-mail, they may not load at all. This isn't just important for casting. If you're cast as a major character, I want a good headshot to put on the website! See the Films page for the headshots of actors who I've cast.
To sum up: small file attached to the e-mail, good lighting, dress for your type.
- Make it personal. Don't just send the headshot, resume, and name of the character. Write a little more, let me know you're actually interested in the role. Also (this goes for all submissions with any casting director): do not use "To whom it may concern" or "Dear Sir/Madam". Find the casting director's name, or, if that's not available, the production company's name and use that. If you're impersonal, the casting director feels like you're throwing form submissions out into the wind, and chances are you aren't particularly interested in this one.
These tips are particularly for video auditions, which I tend to use because they're more convenient for the actor and the director.
- Quality acting is what counts. I'm responsible for finding a director of photography and securing quality camera and lighting equipment. You're responsible for the acting. When submitting a video audition, I don't care if you used your iPhone, a camcorder, or your webcam. Just show me that you can act the part, and I'll worry about the cinematography.
- Don't react to the reader, react to the scene partner. Your reader for your video audition might be a friend, a spouse or significant other, your child, or anyone else you can find to help. They are not the character you're reading for. If your character's on a date and your reader is a kid, you still need to act like you're on a date.
- Pick a realistic focal point. If your reader is also holding the camera, or is significantly taller or shorter than the character they're reading for, make sure you make eye contact with an "imaginary" scene partner who is the appropriate height for the character and standing at an appropriate distance (don't look at the wall on the other side of the room if the other character should be right next to you).