Tuesday, September 15, 2020

How does an actor prepare to audition on Zoom?

In a continuing series about auditioning, we prepare to audition for The Screen Plays, a virtual festival of new plays by students. To read the series on auditioning

If you are an actor interested in auditioning for The Screen Plays, you will sign up for an audition time, complete the audition form, then select one of the monologues from one of the new, student-written plays. (All the details of how to audition are posted on the BU Players auditions page.) Once you have taken those steps, you are ready to prepare the monologue for the audition.

How do I prepare a monologue?

  • Read the play.
  • Based on your reading of the play, understand who this character is, what their given circumstances are, and what they want in the play.
  • For the monologue itself, understand who they are talking to and their specific relationship to this other character, what they want from or to do to the other character (their objective), why they want this (motivation), why they want this right now (urgency), and what happened before the monologue that prompted them to pursue what they want (moment before).
  • Read the play again and again to be sure that your understanding of these elements is clear.
  • Memorize the monologue by working through it out loud as many times as you need to so that you don’t just know the words but are deeply connected to the character and to the pursuit of what they want. 

How do I perform a monologue in an audition setting?

  • First introduce yourself, the name of the piece that you will be performing in the character you’ll be performing. For example, “Hello, my name is Carrie Winship and today I will be performing a monologue from Hamlet by William Shakespeare, playing the part of Polonius.”
  • Next, take a moment to transition to finding a focal point that is not directly at the director. This is the imagined other person. Take a moment to respond to that imagined other, then speak the first line of the monologue.
  • At the end of the monologue take a moment to see the impact this had on the imagined other character. Then transition back to looking at the director and end with a simple “Thank you.”
  • The director may ask you questions or to explore the monologue again with a new piece of direction.

How do I perform a monologue on Zoom?

  • For a performance on zoom, the focal point for the person you were talking to should be just to the left or just to the right of the camera. Don’t put them to far off screen so that the directors can still see your face. 
  • There are several technical aspects to consider when preparing your audition on zoom as well. They include:

  • Lighting - Lighting should come from the front of you, not behind you. Natural light, at least in part, is best. There should be enough light so you are seen, but not so much light that you are washed out. 
  • Background - The background should be as neutral or plain as possible. Limit distractions. 
  • Framing - You should be standing during the audition. The camera should be about eye level with you. The distance between you and the camera should be such that the frame starts just below your armpits at the bottom and a few inches above your head at the top.   

For a video tutorial one best practices for "self tapes" check out this video. 

How do I dress for an audition? 

Dress professionally, but with the ability to move comfortably.  


Do you have questions about the process? 

Please contact Professor Miller (dmiller at bloomu.edu).


Professor David A. Miller teaches acting, directing, and playwriting at Bloomsburg University. He regularly directs productions for BU Players (Everybody, The Arsonists, Macbeth, The Nosemakers Apprentice: Chronicles of a Plastic Surgeon) and professionally (Amphibian Stage Productions, The Artful Conspirators)