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Skype and Self Recording –discussion for actors from “The Actors’ Hot Tub”

– Hi there, I’m Leanna Chamish
– I’m Brian St. August -and welcome to “The Actors’ Hot Tub”. It’s where we two
actors do what we love, we talk about acting in an intimate setting like we’re
sitting in a hot tub -Come on and jump in
– Alright, so what are we going to talk about today? – You had agreat idea it was to do with self-recording and Skype
– Yes alright, well I have to say in this day and age being
able to audition for something when you’re not physically present with the
director in their home towns or locations is wonderful! What a benefit we
have in this time. So I have had situations where I have recorded myself
on an iPhone doing a dramatic scene to show a director how I can perform, or
I’ve used Skype and run lines with a director in order to obtain a part. I use
my cell phone to record audio to get radio spots, and I used my home voiceover
recording studio to send in samples to compete for spots. So I just think it’s
great. It really is help in leveraging your time, to take advantage of
these technological tools. Have you had experience doing them?
– Well I’ll tell you I’ve experienced it both ways before this was available. There’s a big soundstage
in Wilmington North Carolina, Sony Screen Gems soundstage, Dawson’s Creek, One Tree Hill there’s a lot of Sandra Bullock movies were shot there. For me
for an audition, the the famous casting office there is Fincannon’s, for me
to get there is a 10 hour drive, so before the age of being able to video
yourself or in some other way do a recorded audition I used to drive all
night to get to Wilmington, get a cup of coffee, go there be totally road-weary
and get up and they’d have you do something that required you to react,
which I couldn’t react at all. Yeah, so now what I’m finding is that a lot of
the roles with those people, yeah, and for other
projects all over the country I’m able to do a video audition at home and send
that to my agent who who then sends it on to the casting director. And the same
thing with Skype.
-Yeah, as for the actual mechanics of it it doesn’t have to be
that fancy. One movie role I got my boyfriend to video me sitting at a table
drinking some wine and doing the lines because I was auditioning for an
alcoholic Mom. In other cases I’ve gotten commercials,
on-camera jobs by just setting up my Android phone, I have an Android, facing
myself on a music stand at my house while pointing at just a blank wall, and
I’ve taken the floor lamp and I goose-neck it to give myself some light and I read
the part. And, you know, that shows them my skill and personality even
if it’s not the most technologically perfect situation. And I remember once
you and I went out for coffee and you got an email while we were having coffee
that you were to audition for a radio spot and you’re like “oh my God what do I
do?” I said let’s go out to the car where
it’s quiet and sound-isolated I’ll record you on my phone and I’ll email it
to your agent. And we did it!
– Yeah, and I was, like next on the list, you know if the
person that they were hiring didn’t do it – So it was very effective audition and it was even raining I think we could sort of hear the rain drops.
– Rain drops on the car
– So, you have tools available to audition. And you told me a story about when you got the
Chick-fil-A commercial
– Yeah, I want to talk about that a little bit because the whole idea of Skype is
pervading the entire industry. I mean you might be at home and a casting director
might want to have a Skype audition with you or you’re right there in your own
house doing it but what I had… number one, I auditioned for the Chick-fil-A
commercial, which I did shoot last summer, in New York and did the audition in
front of a regular casting director. When I got the call back the
next week and had to go back up again I was in the same office but instead of
the casting director being there, there was this gigantic screen and on the
screen was the director from California, and the client. So I was Skyping in the
casting director’s office to the real casting director and the client by
virtue of a Skype audition and, knock on wood, I was able to get that, but
it’s amazing how this happens and so our suggestion, I think, is if you don’t use
Skype, begin to use it, begin to bring it into your lifestyle a little bit so that
if you get a call that requires you to do it
you won’t have to run around trying to invent the approach. It’s very
easy but it does take a little getting used to. The same thing for looking at
the type of work that you like to do, like Leanna does a tremendous amount of
voiceover work, so these audio auditions are very, very important to her. You have
certain things that you use in order to do that, Well, what are some of those
devices you use?
– Oh, sure, I mean I could get into details about what kind of mic
I use and software, which is great when I’m at home and can use all that gear,
but really it is effective to use your phone. So learn the tools that you have
available, like if you’re out on the road and you do have to record an audio
audition with your phone, I think it’s better that you make the fast response
to the request for the audition rather than go home and make everything perfect
and delay by hours or a day or whatever might be necessary. So learn the tools.
You, for example, for your video auditions you have a camera and you’ve learned how
to shoot yourself and download the videos to your computer and compress
them out into email-able forms or upload-able forms, so just get to know
that I mean it would be hard to kind of get into specifics on every possible
situation with you right now, just be aware that you can do this and
use the tools that you have available or start researching your options and we
can probably discuss this in the comments below the video.
– I think that’s a great idea let me just suggest to you there are a couple of things when you’re
doing video auditions that are basic and there are things you need to keep in
mind because they are the things that are most likely to turn off an agent or
casting director if these things aren’t done correctly. Number one is make sure
you have good lighting. Don’t put yourself in a situation where there’s
shadows on your face, they can’t make you out. Make sure that your background is
clean that you don’t have clutter, you know, pictures hanging because anything
that detracts from your presentation and from your eyes, your making
contact with them, is going to work against you. And I’ve gotten feedback on
that from a from an agent through a casting director who said, you know, “I
thought Brian’s thing was really good but what was this thing hanging behind
him?” So take my my lesson and use it for yourself. So good, lighting non-distracting
background and try to frame it so it’s right just just above your head to about
your chest level, and for all intents and purposes, with your slate and with your
delivery that should be fine.
– Yeah, I was just about to mention slating and other
options. You should follow the direction that they give you in the
audition notice, for example what Brian just said, maybe frame like this. Well,
maybe they want to see more, so listen to what they tell you to do. Also pay
attention to how they tell you to slate it or if they want to slate. A lot
of my audio auditions they don’t want it slated but in my video auditions
I usually do say like, “Hi, I’m Leanna Chamish and I’m auditioning for Royal
Farms”. Then you take a beat and then you do it. And also file naming conventions.
If the agency tells you name this file with your name, the client name the date,
just follow their instructions so it’s “Leanna Chamish, audition for GBMC,
date whatever” and you send it in, So, pay attention to that
– Excellent, excellent advice
– mm-hmm, you can use things like attaching to email things, audio and video,
but sometimes it gets clunky, it’s too big. You may want to have Dropbox or some
sort of other cloud sharing, Google Drive, there there are others, but what is the
one that Apple uses? I think it’s called Airdrop? So, yeah, but large file sharing
options… have you done that?
– No well, Dropbox – Dropbox okay let’s just use
that. For example, you’ve created a video audition but maybe it’s too big to
email, the agency’s email rejects attachments over a certain size, so you
are able to upload your video to Dropbox or another cloud service. Copy a link to
that, paste that link into your email and say, “Hey agent click this and you will
see my audition”, and you can download it if the client chooses to do so.
– And anyone having technical issues with doing this I want you to send a note
directly to Leanna, put that comment in your comments and I promise you she
will get back to you personally with the technical information you need in order
to do that correctly, right?
– I will need a salary for IT if I do that! How do you handle it?
Like I said, I generalized a lot of things about different kinds of equipment but I
just want to point out that audio and video auditions in this day and age are
possible and desirable and you really should get on board. Do you have anything to add?
– No, I would just say and they’re probable I would I would guarantee you
that by the end of 2018 you will have done several of each of those, it’s just the way it’s going.
– So, I’d love to have a conversation with you about this,
please write in the comments below and like and subscribe to our channel so
that every time we put out a new video you’ll be notified.
– Look forward to hearing from you and see you next time. – Thanks for joining us in “The Actors’ Hot
Tub”! Bye Bye! you


  1. brianstaugust Author

    Regardless of any comments, Leanna, I think that you look lovely in this episode and I am going to call you for all of your technical advice.

  2. Jaime Kalman Author

    This program is wonderful, Leanna & Brian!  You are both very good instructors as well as being terrific on-camera hosts.  I think you could have a workshop business supporting working actors in up-leveling their careers in the regional markets!  You both have so much experience, lots of credits and you are both truly heart-centered, generous people who honestly love helping people!  Maybe you should start a Facebook group or a Facebook Page and post all of these videos on your page once a week.  You could invite your actor friends to join that page and you could really build quite a community there.  Might be a good place to consolidate all your videos and keep people current?  Just a thought!  Anyway, you guys are awesome!  Love the information!


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