How should Theatre School hopefuls keep morale up and prepeare accordingly when their recalls (full day workshops) are being turned into Skype auditions left, right and centre? #dear
— JP (@Jasperjaspy)
Sometimes Skype auditions, just like self-tapes, can be a good thing. They allow you to audition in the comfort of your own home, stick all your lines behind the camera and, if you think the audition is going badly, you can just hang up and say your WiFi went down.
Of course, live auditions are much better. There is nothing like real face-to-face interaction, but Skype auditions can often be less intimidating. When attending full-day workshops, it’s only natural to compare yourself to others – on top of paying hefty travel fares to get there. Skype gives you a certain freedom that normal auditions don’t.
And, in truth, I think a lot of institutions will soon make Skype auditions more commonplace anyway (regardless of whether we are facing a pandemic or not). It just makes the whole thing a lot easier – especially for old dears like me.
Tutors at drama school love nothing more than reclining at home in their smoking jackets, surrounded by moth-eaten copies of Shakespeare and EL James, auditioning young, ripe drama students.
I jest, of course. Skype auditions usually take place in the school, with the panel leering at you through the eye of a cheap camera, but it does make the whole thing less nerve-racking. You can have your parents hiding behind the camera (daddy giving the thumbs up, while mummy gets emotional), and your best friend can whisper your lines to you.
There is nothing like real face-to-face interaction, but Skype auditions can often be less intimidating
In terms of preparation – you should do the same as you would for a normal audition. Read the whole play, learn all your lines (preferably in the correct order), give your character an interesting walk (a decent hobble always impresses) and have intelligent questions to ask: “Did Bendydick Cucumberpatch go to your school?”
It can be a challenge keeping spirits up if forced to stay indoors – but keep enthusiasm alive by doing things that inspire you. Watch clips of shows online, and subscribe to Digital Theatre or other streaming services. I’ve started watching a different show every night at 7.30pm. I enter my living room at 7pm, pretend there’s lots of people in the way, drink warm white wine, look at the cast list, get my partner to announce: “The show will begin in five minutes”, dim the lights and press play. Yes, I’ve turned my living room into a pretend theatre experience! I think I may have gone a little crazy, dear.
And finally, some things you should not do during your Skype audition:
• Move around too much. You don’t want to disappear off-screen every two seconds.
• Be too ‘big’. Keep gurning to a minimum. And staple those eyebrows down.
• Wear a stripy top. It makes the audition panel nauseous.
• Get too close to the camera. We don’t need to see all your zits, dear.
• Use a dark room. Perhaps get one of those tripods with a light attached – it brightens even the dullest of faces. Failing that, have your partner cleverly shine a torch.