Audition Tips

How To: Begin Prepping For Pilot Season

We are now in the season of Winter. Pretty much everyone around us are enjoying all the magical Christmas lights, planning a savory holiday menu, browsing websites for bargains on Christmas presents, and looking forward to spending time off from the day to day grind and relax by the fire with the ones they love most.

We are not those people. We are actors, agents, and managers. For us fall and winter means we are weeks away from pilot season.

We are obsessing over the upcoming pilot season and wondering what we can do to optimize our chances to make this pilot season successful for all of us. Our mutual goal is to get you in the room where you can blow casting directors away with your talent, drive, and charisma.

As an agent I know exactly what my role is and how to execute. Unfortunately, without the cooperation of my clients, my hands are tied and all I can do is watch helplessly as role after role goes to other actors. In the words of the famous Jerry Maguire, “Help me help you. “Help me…help you. Help me, help you!”

Update your pictures on the casting sites. Do you know that when I look at a talent’s picture, I can see the date that the photo was uploaded? Do you know how disheartening it is to see that your pictures haven’t been updated for over a year, or two years, or sometimes even three!

Casting wants to see pictures of you that were just recently take—pictures that are most representative of what you look like today. Most people think they look exactly the same as they did a year or two ago. Trust me…you don’t. Multiply that statement by a hundred if you are under 18.

Have you taken any new classes or done anything to further your craft since last year? Is your résumé up to date? You may not have added any new credits to your résumé since last year, but I pray that you have added new classes and furthered your training.

Does casting know who you are? Have you taken any workshops with prominent casting directors? I cannot tell you the staggering number of times I have had clients called in to audition after they attend a CD workshop.

Is there a reel on your profile? Did you know that there is a filter that CDs can use when viewing submissions which allows them to only view submissions with reels attached? Let me say that louder for the back row: Some will not even see that we submitted you if you have no reel attached!All of your hard work, training, and dreams goes down the drain if you aren’t even viewed to be considered for the role.

What if you are brand new and have no work from which to make a reel? Make a showcase video, also called a personality slate. Do a monologue, sing, dance, or tell a funny story.

It’s not a typical demo reel, but it will give casting a flavor of who you are, what you look like on camera, and will get your submission past the dreaded filter.

And for the love of all that is holy…be available! January through the beginning of April is not the time to take a vacation. I don’t want to receive any book-out emails from my clients during this time period.

I’m begging you. I’m ready to fall on my sword and give my all for you. Help me, help you.

BY JACKIE REID 



How much influence do casting directors have with individual project directors and producers when making casting decisions?

Casting Networks / RAY RICHMOND

How much influence do casting directors have with individual project directors and producers when making casting decisions?

It turns out there is no single answer to that question. It’s contingent on a number of factors – namely, the kind of project it is, the length of time that project has been around, the relationship between the CD and the creative team, and how diplomatic the casting director may be when serving a host of masters simultaneously.

“Every show does it differently,” finds Liz Dean, who has cast shows including FX’s “Nip/Tuck” for Ryan Murphy, “Designated Survivor,” the 2010 feature “The Kids Are All Right” and (currently) “The Good Doctor.”

“Today especially, there are so many cooks in the kitchen. There are some shows where it’s incredibly democratic and everyone puts in their two-cents. It’s my job as the casting director to echo back, ‘OK, so what I’m hearing is, people are leaning toward Actor A for this, but there’s also a lot of support for Actor B.’ So a large part of the job is funneling.”

On other series, Dean will send in actors to audition and the creator will say, “I love so and so” everyone says, “Great, let’s go with so-and-so,” and that’s the end of it.

“But no matter what the project is, in my experience this job is incredibly collaborative,” Dean adds. “Every show is different. It’s a matter of guiding everyone through until we’ve agreed on a choice.”

In Dean’s experience, it’s generally a different process working on films, at least in part because she’s worked primarily on independent features rather than big studio releases.

“For the independent films I’ve done, it’s more about me and a director in a room,” she says.

That was certainly the case when Dean sat down with director Lisa Cholodenko during casting for the 2010 feature “The Kids Are All Right” with Julianne Moore, Annette Bening and Mark Ruffalo.

When Dean brought in Josh Hutcherson to read for a part, Cholodenko said, “I like Josh.”

“And then I answered, ‘OK, what’s the process now?’,” Dean recalls. “And she said, ‘We hire him.’

“I was still in the mindset of working for a studio and a network and worried about all of the other people we had to run this by before something could be signed off on. It was a moment that really crystalized how simple this process can be.”

But it isn’t something a casting director should get too used to, particularly while working in television.

Julie Ashton, a CD whose projects have included “2 Broke Girls,” “Bob’s Burgers,” the reboot of “Will & Grace” and (currently) the forthcoming “High School Musical: The Musical” for Disney’s soon-to-launch streaming service, points to the scads of red tape required to pore through before many casting decisions in TV can be finalized.

“There’s the studio and the network and executives and a million people that you need to go through,” Ashton says, “and it can get shot down at any stage of the process. Fortunately, I generally happen to work for really nice people, studios and networks who are super supportive, so it doesn’t happen very often.”

That said, Ashton notes that it takes a village to cast a show. “We discuss it and make a choice collectively. It’s the same with a film. You pre-read actors first, make your choices, bring in the producers and directors. You make the decision together before submitting to the studio or network for final approval.”

The creative team’s decision is rarely overruled, in Ashton’s experience. There isn’t a lot of pushback because “they generally want to support our vision. And yes, my choice as casting director is given significant weight.”

Jeff Greenberg, a veteran casting director whose sterling resume’ includes the likes of “Cheers,” “Wings,” “Frasier,” “According to Jim” and (the past 10 seasons) “Modern Family,” maintains that he always weighs in with his two cents on final casting decisions.

He believes that the more experienced the showrunner or creator, the greater the consideration that’s accorded his suggestions. On the other extreme, if he’s casting a pilot for a first-time creator, he turns into a guide whose word is closely listened to.

As the gatekeeper for which actors get seen, casting directors like Greenberg in some ways hold all of the cards.

“Some call that power,” he says, “I kind of see it as working off of a guest list, and there are only so many seats at the table. It’s always very frustrating to have to say ‘No’ to people who are so good but just aren’t quite right.”

What can sometimes be exasperating about his job, Greenberg stresses, is the number of masters that a CD must serve.

“Depending on the TV project,” he agrees, “you’re dealing with the writer and director of the episode as well as the creator, the showrunner, all of the network and studio executives and the network’s director of comedy development.

“There are a lot of people you’re trying to make happy, and a lot of diplomacy is needed. You have to prioritize who will best serve the vision of the creators.”

Dean finds that to be true as well.

“A lot of times when you’re dealing with a director of episodic television, that person represents the interests of the creative team,” she believes. “It’s different on a pilot, because you’re creating a vision together as you form the cast. On pilots, I do think casting directors have a tremendous amount of sway in the decision-making process.

“We’re the ones supplying the actors, so it’s like, ‘Here are my selects. I’ve whittled it down from over 2,000 people to about 8 whom I’m sending to you.”

Times have certainly changed for how a TV project often gets cast, however. Dean shares that the casting director, director, producers, writers, showrunners and sometimes president of comedy or drama development will all be copied on a Google Doc where everyone weighs in on casting in the same spot.

“That’s how we do it on ‘The Good Doctor’,” Dean says.

Or, sometimes things can be done the old-fashioned way, where success breeds credibility for a casting director like Greenberg. The success he had with replacing Shelley Long with Kirstie Alley in 1987 on “Cheers” boosted his credentials sufficiently so his casting word became close to golden.

“I’d use that clout if there was a great theatre actor I’d found in New York that they might not have known but I felt would serve a show’s purpose,” he remembers.

While some may still see television as an inferior casting gig to film, Dean isn’t one of them. She sees TV as “the closest thing in this industry to a real steady gig. “Movies come and go, but it’s nice to have TV as my bread-and-butter, and I love it. I love actors. I love the process. 

How To: Encode your Video properly when submitting an audition tape.

To ensure an optimal upload and playback experience, video files uploaded to most casting profile sites should be encoded in one of these two formats: QUICKTIME (.mov or .mp4 files) or WINDOWS MEDIA VIDEO (.wmv files)

Files that do not meet these standard requirements may not play correctly on casting sites, so be sure to always encode video with the following general settings.

Quicktime File Type: MOV or MPEG-4 Codec: Mpeg-4 video Frame Rate: 24 Key Frames: Every 300 Data Rate: 768 Kbps Video Size: 640 x 480 VGA (320 x 240 is acceptable but will be lower quality) Select “Preserve Aspect Ratio” and “Deinterlace Video”

Audio Format: AAC Audio Channels: Mono Audio Rate: 32.000 KHz Audio Target Bit Rate: 32 Encode Files for “Fast Start”

Windows Media Video File Type: WMV Bit rate: 1.0 Mbps Display size: 640 x 480 pixels Aspect Ratio: 4:3 Frames per second: 30

Note: The size of an individual video file should not exceed 500 megabytes, (100 MB for basic users). You can check the size of your video file by following these steps:

If on a Mac:

Click the file to highlight it, click on File, then click on Get Info.

If on a PC:

Right click on the file, then go to Properties.

If your file does exceed the 500-megabyte limit (100 MB for basic users), you will need to shorten the clip or edit it into multiple parts before uploading. Which program should I use to create and encode my video files?

HOW TO: Encode your video properly when submitting an audition tape.

HOW TO: Encode your video properly when submitting an audition tape.

There are many editing programs that can encode files to our recommended settings. Below are the step-by-step instructions for iMovie (most commonly used on Macs), Windows Moviemaker (most commonly used on PCs), and Quicktime Pro, which can be used with either Mac or PCs. Be sure to check which version of these programs you have on your computer, and read the corresponding instructions for that version below.

Instructions for Mac Computers

iMovie HD Instructions Requirements: Apple Macintosh System X, version 10.3 or higher

STEP 1: IMPORTING VIDEO FOOTAGE FROM A MINI DV TAPE CAMERA

  1. Connect your camera to the computer via the firewire cable.

  2. Open the iMovie application, then open an existing project or start a new project.

  3. Import clips, take by take, from video camera into your iMovie project.

a. Turn camera on.

b. Set iMovie to “camera mode” by setting the slider button on the lower left area of the iMovie window to the camera icon.

c. Using the iMovie playback controls, press play button to start the tape.

d. Cue up the audition.

e. When the audition take starts, press the Import button to begin capturing the actor’s audition take into iMovie, and when that take finishes, press the Import button again to manually stop the capture. Note: In iMovie Preferences, you can also set it so that iMovie will automatically grab and edit all auditions off the tape as long as you pause the camera between takes and actors. This allows you to start the tape, hit the Import button and walk away from the computer while it begins capturing and editing the auditions from the tape.

f. The captured audition clips will appear in the Clips pane at the right side of the window in iMovie. All clips that you capture will be stored here.

g. Repeat step ‘e’ to capture any additional takes from the actor’s audition.

Please Note: we recommend that you capture each individual take for an actor’s audition separately. This will keep file sizes to a minimum. As a reminder, do not upload files larger than 500 MB (100 MB for most platforms).

h. Select Save project under the File menu.


ENCODING VIDEO FILES ON MAC COMPUTERS

ENCODING VIDEO FILES ON MAC COMPUTERS

STEP 1 (ALTERNATIVE): IMPORTING AN EXISTING QUICKTIME FILE

From iMovie, go to File, then Import.

2. Select the Quicktime file you wish to import, and click Open.

3.The file will import into iMovie. When importing has finished, the file will appear in one of the boxes in the upper right corner of the iMovie screen.

STEP 2: EXPORTING FILES

1.Once the file has been imported into iMovie, drag the clip down to the flip strip area at the bottom of the iMovie screen.

2.Go to the File menu and select Export.

3.Along top of window, select the Quicktime icon.

4.Click the Compress movie for pull-down menu to select Expert Settings.

5.Click Share.

6. In the next Save Exported File As window, name the new movie according to actor name and take number. Make sure your file name ends with the extension .mov. Also check to see where the file will be saved. This will come in handy when you need to upload a bunch of actors and their audition takes. (make sure you save your file with the .mov extension at the end). Then, next to the Export: Movie to Quicktime Movie pull down menu, click the Options button.

7. You'll see the Movie Settings window. Under 'Video', click Settings.

a. In 'Compression Type:' menu, select MPEG-4 Video.

b. In Motion area, set Frame Rate to ‘24’ and for Key Frames type in ‘300’ in the text field.

c. Slide the Quality pointer over to Best.

d. In the Data Rate area, click the Restrict to button and type 768 in the field before kbits/sec. Then, click OK.

e. Under ‘Video’, now click on Size. Select 640 X 480 VGA. Check the box next to Preserve Aspect Ratio (using Letterbox). Click the box next to Deinterlace Source Video. Click OK.

f. Under 'Sound', click on Settings. Set 'Format' to AAC, 'Channels' to Mono, ‘Rate’ to 32.000. Next to Target Bit Rate choose 32 in the dropdown menu. Then click on OK button.

g. Make sure 'Prepare for Internet Streaming' is checked and select Fast Start.

h. Click OK.

i. Click the Save button and iMovie will export and create the QuickTime movie that you will then post to the Casting system.


VIDEO SETTINGS FOR CREATING SUPER HIGH QUALITY CLIPS

Please Note: Using the following settings instead of the “standard” settings stated above will result in much larger, higher quality video clips. Encoding video with the following settings can take up to twice as long, and uploading times will most likely increase 2 – 3 times as well.

1. Import your clips into iMovie. Then follow steps 1 – 6 above.

2. You'll see the Movie Settings window. Under 'Video', click Settings.

a. In 'Compression Type:' menu, select H.264.

b. In Motion area, set Frame Rate to ‘24’ and for Key Frames type in 300 in the text field.

c. Slide the Quality pointer over to Best.

d. Select Best quality (Multi-pass) next to the ‘Encoding’ Menu.

e. In the Data Rate area, click the Restrict to button and type 768 in the field before kbits/sec. Then, click OK.

f. Under ‘Video’, now click the Size button. Select ‘640 X 480 VGA’.


Check the box to Preserve Aspect Ratio (using Letterbox).

Click the box next to Deinterlace Source Video. Click OK.


g. Under 'Sound', click on Settings. Set 'Format' to AAC, 'Channels' to Mono, ‘Rate’ to 32.000. Next to Target Bit Rate choose 32 in the dropdown menu. Then click on OK button.

h. Make sure 'Prepare for Internet Streaming' is checked and select Fast Start.

i. Click OK.

j. Click the Save button and iMovie will export and create the QuickTime movie that you will then post to the Casting system.

iMOVIE HD HINT: To crop/edit a video clip

1. Select the clip you want to edit or crop in the clip area to the right of the iMovie window.

2. Drag the small grey bookend triangles below the timeline to set the beginning and end points of the clip.

3. Go to the Edit menu and select Crop. You can also split clips by selecting Split Clips at Playhead.


iMovie ‘08/’09 Instructions / Requirements: Apple Macintosh System X, version 10.3 or higher

STEP 1: IMPORTING VIDEO FOOTAGE FROM A MINI DV TAPE CAMERA

1. Connect your camera to the computer via the firewire cable.

2. Open the iMovie application, then open an existing project or start a new project.

3. Import clips from video camera into your iMovie project by turning the camera on, and clicking the “Camera” Icon on the left hand side of the iMovie screen. This will bring up the Import Window where you can choose your camera source. Select the camera you have attached to the computer via firewire cable

To import all footage from the tape automatically:

a. Set the slider button on the lower left area of the iMovie window to Automatic.

b. Press Import to rewind the tape and import all footage. After the tape has been imported, click Done and skip to step #8.

To import footage from the tape manually:

a. Set the slider button on the lower left area of the iMovie window to Manual.

b. Using the iMovie playback controls, press play button to start the tape. Continue on to step #4.

4. Using the play, fast-forward, and rewind controls, cue up the audition.

5. When the audition take begins, press the Import button. You will be asked to Save the File and to Create New Event. You can name your event (by default it will be today’s date) and click OK to begin capturing the actor’s audition take into iMovie.

6. When the take finishes, press the Stop button again to manually stop the capture.

Note: In Preferences, you can also set it so that iMovie will automatically grab and edit all auditions off the tape as long as you pause the camera between takes and actors. This allows you to start the tape, hit the Import button and walk away from the computer while it begins capturing and editing the auditions from the tape.

7. When you have captured all of your clips, click Done. The captured audition clips will appear in the clips pane at the bottom of the window in iMovie. All clips that you capture will be stored here.

Please Note: we recommend that you capture each individual take for an actor’s audition separately. This will keep file sizes to a minimum. Do not upload any files larger than 500 MB (100 MB for standard users).

8. Click on the Camera icon to capture any additional takes from the actor’s audition. When you hit Import you will again be asked to save and Add to Existing Event or Create New Event. A good rule of thumb would be to create events for each day’s session, and save the corresponding day’s clips to those specific events.

STEP 1 (ALTERNATIVE): IMPORTING AN EXISTING QUICKTIME FILE

1. From iMovie, go to File, then Import Movies.

2. Select the Quicktime file you wish to import. You will be asked if you want to Add to Existing Event or Create New Event. Select one of these options, then click Import.

3. The video file will import into iMovie. When importing has finished, the file will appear in your event library.

STEP 2: EXPORTING FILES- RECOMMENDED SETTINGS

1. Choose a clip in the event library and drag the cursor to create a yellow box around the portion of the clip you would like to use. Next, drag that selected clip to the upper flip strip area (that says ‘Drag media here to create new project’) to begin the export process.

2. Go to the Share menu at the top of the screen and select Export Using QuickTime.

3. In the next Save Exported File As window, name the new movie according to actor name and take number. Make sure your file name ends with the extension .mov. Also check to see where the file will be saved. This will come in handy when you need to upload a bunch of actors and their audition takes. (make sure you save your file with the .mov extension at the end)

4. Then, next to the Export: Movie to QuickTime Movie pull down menu, click the Options button.

5. You'll see the Movie Settings window. Under 'Video', click Settings.

a. In 'Compression Type' menu, select MPEG-4 Video.

b. In Motion area, set Frame Rate to ‘24’ and for Key Frames type in 300 in the text field.

c. Slide the Quality pointer over to Best.

d. In the Data Rate area, click the Restrict to button and type 768 in the field before kbits/sec.

e. Then, click the OK button.

f. Under ‘Video’, now click the Size button. Select 640 x 480 VGA.

Check the box next to Preserve Aspect Ratio (using Letterbox). Then, click the box next to Deinterlace Source Video. Click the OK button

g. Under 'Sound', click on Settings. Set 'Format' to AAC, 'Channels' to Mono, ‘Rate’ to 32.000 and ‘Target Bit Rate’ to 32. Then click on OK button.

h. Make sure 'Prepare for Internet Streaming' is checked off and select Fast Start. Click OK.

i. Click the Save button and iMovie will export and create the QuickTime movie that you will then post to the casting system.

iMovie 10 Encoding Instructions / Requirements: Apple Macintosh System X, version 10.9.2 or higher

1. Follow the above instructions for importing your files from your camera to iMovie

2. If you have existing files on your computer, Import your files into iMovie by clicking the arrow IMPORT symbol.

3. To create a single clip, double-click the audition so that the entire thing is highlighted yellow and drag it down into the blank grey timeline below. You can adjust the beginning and end points as needed by holding your mouse over the start/end point, clicking and dragging.

4. If you are using more than one clip in the audition, you can add it via the same process.

5. When you are done editing, click SHARE and select FILE.

6. Select the highest quality you can, while keeping the file size below 100MB. It will tell you the target file size on the left hand side of the window, below the preview window.

7. If the file is still too large, select SHARE via EMAIL. When the file finishes exporting it will automatically open in your email program. Drag file onto your desktop. VIDEO SETTINGS FOR CREATING SUPER HIGH QUALITY CLIPS

Please Note: Using the following settings instead of the “standard” settings stated above will result in much larger, higher quality video clips. Encoding video with the following settings can take up to twice as long, and uploading times will most likely increase 2 – 3 times as well.

1. Follow steps #1 – 3 above in Exporting Files -Recommended Settings.

2. Then, next to the Export: Movie to QuickTime Movie pull down menu, click the Options button.

3. You'll see the Movie Settings window. Under 'Video', click Settings.

a. In 'Compression Type' menu, select H.264.

b. In Motion area, set Frame Rate to ‘24’ and for Key Frames type in 300 in the text field.

c. Slide the Quality pointer over to Best.

d. Select Best quality (Multi-pass) next to the ‘Encoding’ Menu.

e. In the Data Rate area, click the Restrict to button and type 768 in the field before kbits/sec.

f. Then, click the OK button.

g. Under ‘Video’, now click the Size… button

i. Select ‘640 X 480 VGA’.

ii. Check the box next to Preserve Aspect Ratio (using Letterbox). Click the box next to Deinterlace Source Video. Click the OK button.

h. Under 'Sound', click on Settings…

iii. Set 'Format' to AAC, 'Channels' to Mono, ‘Rate’ to 32.000.

Next to Target Bit Rate choose 32 in the dropdown menu. Then click on OK button.

i. Make sure 'Prepare for Internet Streaming' is checked and select Fast Start.

j. Click OK.

k. Click the Save button and iMovie will export and create the QuickTime movie that you will then post to the Casting t system.

iMOVIE ‘08/’09 HINT: To split/edit a video clip

1. Select the clip you want to edit or split in the clip area in the iMovie ‘08 window.

2. Drag the cursor within the clip to create a yellow box that sets your desired beginning and end points of the clip.

3. Go to the Edit (“Clip” menu in iMovie ’11) menu and select Split Clip. If you select a frame range beginning and ending in the middle of the clip, the clip will split into three parts. To delete the unwanted parts, highlight them and hit the ‘Delete’ key.

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Quicktime Player 7 (Quicktime Pro) Instructions!

How To: Export a video clip using Quicktime Pro

STEP 1: OPENING A FILE IN QUICKTIME PRO

1. Go to the File menu and select Open File. Browse your computer for the video file you want to open and encode, and select it.

STEP 2: EXPORTING FILES -RECOMMENDED SETTINGS

1. Go to the File menu and select Export.

2. In the next Save Exported File As... window, name the new movie according to actor name and take number. Make sure your file name ends with the extension .mov. Also check to see where the file will be saved. This will come in handy when you need to upload a bunch of actors and their audition takes (make sure you save your file with the .mov extension at the end). Then, next to the Export: Movie to Quicktime Movie pull down menu, click the Options button.

3. You’ll see the Movie Settings window. Under ‘Video,’ click Settings.

a. In ‘Compression Type:’ menu, select MPEG-4 Video.

b. In Motion area, set Frame Rate to ’24’ and for Key Frames type 768 in the field before kbits/sec. Then, click OK.

c. Slide the Quality pointer over to Best.

d. In the Data Rate area, click the Restrict to button and type 768 in the field before kbits/ sec. Then, click OK.

e. Under ‘Video’, now click on Size. Select 640x480 VGA. Check the box next to Preserve Aspect Ratio (using Letterbox). Check the box next to deinterlace Source Video. Click OK.

f. Under ‘Sound,’ click on Settings. Set ‘Format’ to AAC, ‘Channels’ to Mono, ‘Rate’ to

32.000. Next to Target Bit Rate choose 32 in the dropdown menu. Then click on OK button.

g. Make sure ‘Prepare for Internet Streaming’ is checked and select Fast Start.

h. Click OK.

i. Click the Save button and Quicktime Pro will export and create the Qmovie that you will then post to the Casting system.

Instructions for PC Computers: Windows Moviemaker Instructions (for XP)

How To: Export a video clips from Windows Movie Maker: Requirements: Windows XP, Service Pack 2 or higher; Internet Explorer or FireFox browsers only; Firewire Port/Firewire camera or USB port/USB camera


Encoding Video Files on a PC

Encoding Video Files on a PC

STEP 1: CAPTURING VIDEO CLIPS WITH WINDOWS MOVIEMAKER

1. Connect your camera to the computer using a firewire cable. Turn the camera on and set it to VCR (playback) mode.

2. Open the Windows Movie Maker application, usually found under the Start menu. 3. Click on the File menu up top and scroll down and select Capture Video…

4. In the Available Devices window, select the camera you are using to capture the video and click Next.

5. Name your project (Movie Maker can capture multiple actors within a project automatically) and specify where you want your project and captured videos files to be saved on the computer.

6. Choose the video setting by selecting Best quality for playback on my computer and then click Next.

7. Select Capture parts of the tape manually and then click the Next button.

8. Cue up the actor by using the playback controls under the preview window in Movie Maker and when ready, click the Start Capture button to begin capturing the video to the computer.

9. When finished click the Stop Capture button. Movie Maker will automatically import the video clips and display them in the Collection area of the application. Please note that Movie Maker automatically separates the clips whenever you pause the camera, which makes the export process much easier.

STEP 2: EXPORTING FILES - RECOMMENDED SETTINGS

1. Now you are ready to begin saving these video clips for uploading to Cast It. First, select the clip you would like to export by clicking in it once in the collection area. Drag it down to the lower timeline area in the Movie Maker application.

2. Go to the File menu and select Save Movie File.

a. In the Movie Location window, click on My Computer and click Next.

b. Name your movie by using the actor’s name or initials and the take number so you can keep track of it. Choose the place on the hard drive where you will be saving this exported file. You will be uploading these to the Cast It system. Click Next.

c. In the Movie Setting window, click on Show more choices. link.

Then select the button for Other settings: and on the menu scroll down to Video for LAN (1.0 Mbps). Then click Next.

d. The Saving Movie window will appear with a progress meter. Wait for the video movie clip to finish saving.

e. If you want to watch your movie clip after completing this process, select the Play movie when I finish check box.

f. After the movie is saved, click Finish.

3. Congrats, your clip has been created! To continue saving more clips, first delete the old one from the timeline area, then drag the new one down to the same place. Repeat step #2 above.

Windows Moviemaker Instructions (for Vista)

How To: Export a video clips from Vista Movie Maker / Requirements: Windows Vista, Service Pack 2 or higher; Internet Explorer or FireFox browsers only; Firewire Port

STEP 1: CAPTURING VIDEO CLIPS WITH WINDOWS MOVIEMAKER

1. Connect your camera to the computer using a firewire cable. Turn the camera on and set it to VCR (playback) mode.

2. Open the Windows Movie Maker application, usually found under the Start menu.

3. Find the Import section located in the upper left hand corner of the Movie Maker program, then select From Digital Video Camera.

4. Name your project (Session Date is often an easy way to organize your Movie Maker Projects), then specify where you want your project and captured videos files to be imported to on the computer. Finally, click the Format drop-down menu and choose Windows Media Video (one file per scene). Then click Next.

5. Select Only import parts of the videotape to my computer. Then click Next.

6. Using the Digital Video Camera Controls, cue up the actor to the exact point you would like to begin importing, and when ready click Start Video Import. The video will begin to simultaneously play and import onto your computer. When the file you wish to import is complete, click Stop Video Import.

7. Repeat this process for all of the scenes on the tape that you wish to import. Then click Finish.

8. Movie Maker will automatically import the video clips and display them in the Collection area of the application. Please note that Movie Maker automatically separates the clips whenever you pause the camera, which makes the export process much easier.

STEP 2: EXPORTING FILES- RECOMMENDED SETTINGS

1. Now you are ready to begin saving these video clips for uploading to Cast It. First, select the clip you would like to export by clicking in it once in the collection area. Drag it down below to the Storyboard area in the Movie Maker application.

2. Go to the File menu and select Publish Movie.

a. In the Where do you want to publish your movie? window, click This Computer, then click Next.

b. Name your movie by using the actor’s name or initials and the take number so you can keep track of it. Choose the place on the hard drive where you will be publishing this exported file. Click Next.

c. In the Movie Setting window, select the button for More Settings. Then scroll down on the menu to Windows Media VHS Quality (1.0 Mbps). Then click Publish. d. The Saving Movie window will appear with a progress meter. Wait for the video movie clip to finish saving.

e. If you want to watch your movie clip after completing this process, select the Play movie when I finish check box.

f. After the movie is saved, click Finish.

3. Congrats, your clip has been created! To continue saving more clips, first delete the old one from the Storyboard area, then drag the new one down to the same place. Repeat step #2 above.

11 Ways To Up Your Audition Game

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As a talent agent it is very important that those I work with are continually refining their performance in the audition room.  FACT: How consistently well an actor performs in the audition room is what actually matters most to us! 

 

Casting Director Marci Liroff gives actors great advice with her  11 Ways To Up Your Audition Game.

1. If your scene has more than one person in it, do not direct your off-camera looks to include the director, producer, or anyone sitting in the room—it makes them wildly uncomfortable. You can either use the reader (who can play all the characters) or the cameraperson. You can also choose a spot directly to the side of the camera. Just make sure you’re not directing those looks too far from the lens or we’ll lose your eyes and expression.

2. The camera picks up everything, but you still can’t whisper. You’ve been taught to “play to the room,” and these new-fangled cameras (and phones) are pretty amazing. You still need to make sure you’re heard.

3. Be as off-book as possible so you can receive notes from the director. I work with one who loves actors and is very articulate with them. If he likes what you’re doing, he might give you six or seven notes per scene. If you don’t know the dialogue well, your head will explode. You’ve got to be on your toes so that you can change it up when you get those notes. Don’t just stick to the way you’ve been doing it over and over. We want to see that you can listen and adjust.

READ: How to Make Auditioning Easier

4. If your lines include a name or a word that you don’t know, look up the pronunciation and meaning. I can’t tell you how many times people have mispronounced a designer’s name. For a character who should know better, it’s an instant giveaway that you didn’t do the proper research.

5. One of our producers is the writer. He thinks his words are golden and would like to hear them read as written. However, a button—especially in comedy, and only if you know what you’re doing—can be a very good thing. (By button, I mean a look, reaction, or ad-libbed line that “buttons up” the scene.) But be careful and don’t overdo this option.

6. When we ask that you bring a hard copy of your picture and résumé, unless you’re Will Smith or Angelina Jolie, we mean it. And make sure they’re both up to date.

7. Speaking of your résumé, please—for the love of all that is holy—list your height. When we’re casting an ensemble, we need to know your height so that we can know how you’ll look in the frame with the other actors. If we envision some characters having a particular height, it would be nice to find it without having to make calls or look online.

8. We don’t always have time to procure an O-1 Visa for you. If you’re not a U.S. citizen, put your status on your résumé. If you have a green card, even better!

9. Research, research, research. Know who you’re reading for. Every script has a rhythm, like music. You’ve got to know their past work so you know the tone of the piece.

10. Separate your demo reels or clips into comedy and drama.

11. Finally, read the script. There’s no way you can understand the tone unless you do. On my current project, the script is available, and yet several actors have auditioned without reading it because “their agent didn’t send it.” If you don’t get it from your agent or manager, push back and ask them if it’s available.

Known for her work in film and television, producer and casting director Marci Liroff has worked with some of the most successful directors in the world such as Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, Mark Waters, Christopher Nolan, Brad Bird, and Herbert Ross. While working at Fenton-Feinberg Casting, she, along with Mike Fenton, cast such films as “A Christmas Story,” “Poltergeist,”  “E.T. – The Extra Terrestrial,”  “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” and “Blade Runner.” After establishing her own casting company in 1983, Liroff cast “Footloose,” “St. Elmo's Fire,” “Pretty in Pink,” “The Iron Giant,” “The Spitfire Grill," “Untamed Heart," “Freaky Friday,” “Mean Girls,” “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past,” “Mr. Popper’s Penguins,” “Vampire Academy,” and the upcoming “The Sublime and Beautiful,” which she produced as well, and the upcoming film "Magic Camp.".

Liroff is also an acting coach, and her three-night Audition Bootcamp has empowered actors to view the audition process in a new light. The class spawned an online course available at Udemy entitled "How To Audition For Film and Television: Audition Bootcamp." Visit Liroff online at marciliroff.com, follow her on Twitter @marciliroff and Facebook, and watch her advice videos on YouTube. You can also read her blog.