If you have an upcoming audition for drama school that will now be a virtual, rather than face to face, audition or if you have been asked to submit a self-tape example of your audition speeches to discuss over Skype, this can be a nerve-wracking prospect.
How do you know what to expect from an audition where you and the panel won’t be in the same room, how do you prepare and, perhaps most importantly, how do you make sure you stand out for all the right reasons when you only have a limited time slot?
Luckily, help is at hand! Fourth Monkey Actor Training Company have put together some top tips to ensure you ace your virtual audition, whether you’re self-isolating or simply want to make sure you’re ready for your close up when submitting a self-tape for an audition that you are unable to attend in person!
WHAT DO I NEED TO SUPPLY IN ADVANCE OF MY VIRTUAL AUDITION?
When you submit your application for a virtual audition, you will be asked to upload a self-tape video link to your chosen audition speeches alongside the rest of your application. These speeches should be two two-minute monologues which the panel will watch in advance of your audition so that they can offer feedback and re-work them with you on the day.
You will also need to supply your contact details, so that a time slot can be allocated to you in advance to give you plenty of time to prepare, and so the audition panel can get in touch with you to conduct your virtual audition. Make sure you supply either a suitable Skype ID or a reliable mobile phone number which has access to FaceTime or similar video contact platform – the panel will need to be able to see you, after all!
When completing the rest of your application, approach this in exactly the same way that you would if the audition and subsequent conversation with the panel were taking place in person, rather than virtually. Make sure you share what it is that interests you about the school, the course and their training ethos, what it is that interests you about drama school and actor training in general and what your goals and ambitions are in the wider arts and creative industries. In short, let us know what it is that will make you a great addition to our ensemble!
WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM MY VIRTUAL AUDITION?
During your virtual audition, which will last for a maximum of 40 minutes with Fourth Monkey (although this may vary for other schools), the panel will ask you to perform your prepared audition speeches (these should be the same speeches submitted with your application) and feedback on them with you, offering notes on how you could re-work and build on them. They will then discuss your application and why you are interested in coming to the school, and give you a chance to ask any questions you might have about the training and whether it will be the right fit for you.
ANY TIPS FOR CHOOSING MY AUDITION SPEECHES?
You will be asked to supply and then perform two two-minute monologues as your audition speeches, and Fourth Monkey ask for one two-minute contemporary monologue and one two-minute classical monologue which should either be Shakespeare or a similar Elizabethan-era writer, something that is fairly common practice amongst many drama school. When choosing your speeches, the most important thing is to make sure they are pieces that inspire and celebrate YOU and reflect who you are as an individual, rather than simply something you think will “impress” or please the panel.
Fourth Monkey’s Artistic Director and CEO Steve Green, who has had plenty of practice in carrying out online interviews, shared his top tip for prospective students thinking about their audition speeches ahead of submitting their application: “For me [your] choice shouldn’t be bound by anything – if you want to deliver a specific speech and you can answer the question “why did you chose it”, then go ahead and chose it! I’m always inspired by young actors of all genders who don’t limit themselves to roles that are bound by our preconceptions of what gender is for example.”
The Fourth Monkey audition panel (which might include Steve himself!) will want to see YOU and will be hoping for monologues that show you have made a unique, individual choice that gives an insight into your preferences and who you are as an actor – be bold and don’t be afraid to follow your instincts when picking your speeches!
HOW CAN I MAKE SURE I’M COMFORTABLE WHEN I’M DOING MY VIRTUAL AUDITION?
First things first – you need to be calm, relaxed and ‘in the zone’. You might not be in the same room as them but the panel member you speak to will be able to pick up on any nerves, stress or discomfort on your part and they don’t want this to be the case! Not only will it distract from your speeches, it will mean they won’t get to see the real you and what you are capable of doing and creating. It is only natural to be nervous, and this won’t be held against you, but at least if you make sure you do everything you can to feel comfortable and prepared, any nerves should be minimised and channelled into positive energy instead.
To get in the zone before you start recording your speeches, take a moment to relax, breathe and exhale to get all that tension out of your body. When you come to do your virtual audition, the same advice applies here and for any reworking you may be asked to do with your speech via your audition session – take a deep breath, release the tension and go for it once you feel calm, collected and ready to go!
During your audition slot, listen to any questions or instructions from the panel member you are speaking to – take your time and don’t rush. The delay caused by Skype can understandably often result in a degree of anxiety and stress, so sit back, take your time, (as it is important to remember that this is your time and your moment with the panel) and, most importantly, don’t rush. To help with this, make sure you are in a comfortable chair and in a room or part of your house that is well lit where you can relax and be yourself. Plus, the fact you are in your own space can really help here – by definition, you should feel a little more comfortable in familiar surroundings.
Above all else, the most important thing to remember is to BE YOURSELF. Fourth Monkey Artistic Director Steve Green told us: “I personally enjoy online interviews, we’re versed in doing them for international students… and you often find you get into really insightful and enjoyable conversations partly due to the Skype or video call distance acting as a bit of a relaxant for the auditionee, so fingers crossed you should be able to enjoy it and absolutely own it!”
HOW CAN I MAKE THE MOST OF MY TIME SLOT DURING A VIRTUAL AUDITION?
At Fourth Monkey, the ‘usual’ face to face audition process is a jampacked, 8-hour day held at our North London-based school and including sessions for each individual’s speeches, plus any reworking and feedback notes and their one-on-one interview with the panel, as well as a selection of physical and voice workshops as an ensemble to enable the panel to see all auditionees in a variety of settings and to help them make their decisions. In short, it is all go!
Of course, any virtual auditions will be a bit of a change of pace and will be different from the usual in-person audition process. However, much like the usual Fourth Monkey audition day experience, it will be personal, fun and will allow a member of the panel to speak and work with each individual over a dedicated audition time slot of 40 minutes – still plenty of time to make sure both parties to get a real sense of each other, especially as this will be an entirely one-on-one session.
The best advice to make the most of your time is to make sure you prepare some questions to ask about the school and their training and make sure you wear something appropriate that you can move in. The panel member you speak to will work on your speeches with you and they will expect to see that you are ready to do this – dress as though you are attending an audition day at the school; so think about wearing something comfy that allows for movement such as some jogging bottoms and a T-shirt or a similar outfit.
Make sure you are sitting in a room that you can comfortably stand up and move around easily in. It might sound silly but avoid an attic room where you will be forced to crouch, for example. Likewise, make sure your family or housemates know you are scheduled to do a virtual audition at a specific time and try to lock out them out of the room you are using during this time! As much as we’d like to meet your parent, guardian, younger siblings or partner at a later date, seeing them walk across the back of your interview in their dressing gown may not be appreciated by you or indeed them at this time!
Last but not least – ABOVE ALL, BE YOURSELF! Break a leg and the Fourth Monkey panel look forward to meeting you soon for your virtual audition!
Fourth Monkey Actor Training are a North London-based drama school, offering bold, innovative and ensemble-focused actor training. They belive in creating actors who are ready to learn, collaborate and adapt within a number of different professional environments, and they offer two programmes for aspiring actors in training - the BA (Hons) Acting Accelerated Degree and the Year of the Monkey One Year Intensive Actor Training Programme.
To learn more about Fourth Monkey's upcoming audition dates for their 2020 intake for both training programmes, as well as get more tips on how to prepare and what to expect for an audition, visit their website.