How to Make a Good Casting Video
For aspiring actors out there, how often do people ask for your casting video? How often do you have to google a ‘How-to’ video? How often do you have to redo it for every audition?? Fret not, I’m here to help out, and I’m not alone. Joining me is casting director and founder of casting agency StagandCo, Farah Mior! She's been working for 10 years in casting and have worked on many films and commercials such as Crazy Rich Asian (2018), Strike Back (2019), Maxis Home Fiber (2021), and our very own Astro The Wans (2023)!
🧐 What is a casting video?
A casting video is a pre-recorded audition that is submitted to agencies and production houses. The purpose for it is so that your expressions and personality can be shown before cast selection. In Malaysia, casting videos are similar across most platforms like commercials, TVC’s and sometimes music videos. There are 3 parts to a casting video; introduction, body profile and expressions. However, casting for films has another part added to it – you’ll get a spec script to perform based on the character you’re auditioning for.
Pro tip: Being bubbly and cheerful is a plus! But if you don’t have those qualities then Farah Mior says “finding the sparks in your eyes” is the key to finding your outstanding personality trait. What makes you stand out? Let’s find out!
🎬 🔜 Pre-Recording - Get Yo Head In The Game
What would you need to prepare? A few things; a camera or a phone, the project brief and yourself.
One tip that can help you start is reading through the brief and understanding the job. In my experience making and reviewing casting videos, doing this allows me to understand the plot better and what kind of expectations are there for the role.
Pro tip: Certain projects might ask you to wear specific colour schemes for your wardrobe. Some examples like Hotlink would ask for red colour and Coway would be baby blue. Depending on the brief, if not plain
How to do a casting video?
i) Framing and lighting 🔦
Now that you’ve psyched yourself up, let's begin!
Set your camera against a blank wall and make sure it’s completely empty and not distracting. It's important to frame yourself in the centre and leave some headroom. Frame only half of your body and make sure your camera is focused. As for the ratio, keep it to just landscape (or 16:9).
Pro Tip: Farah says “best to find white light or natural light that can clearly see your face. Avoid having shadows too!”
ii) Filming 📹
You are now ready to shoot!
1. Start with introducing yourself with your name, age and height. It’s very simple but also “don't forget to smiiiileee” as Farah would always say.
2. Next is, body profile. Hands on the sides and pose at a 90 degree angle from front → left → front → right → front → 360 turn and end with a POSE. Essentially it’s just every angle of your profile.
3. Lastly, expressions. You’ll need to do 4 expressions in chronological order (Happy, Sad, Surprised, Angry). But if you want to take it up a notch, include ‘Scared’, as a fifth option to be more unique. The point is to seem emotionally diverse and stand out!
Pro tip: Do as many takes as you want and pick out the best. You don't need to do it all in one take. Familiarise yourself with the camera, and remember the lens is your bestie. I totally understand how nerve-wrecking it can be, but just roll with it and have fun. Another tip by Farah Mior, don't forget that your arms exist too. Sometimes you can get carried away and forget to use them, especially when you want to express yourself.
Another pro tip: On expressions, don't be literal and comical when emoting. If it helps, make it contextual to make it easier when doing it. Eg; Happy to have my cat with me, Sad my cat went missing, Angry because i found out my neighbour stole my cat, Surprised to see my cat come home, Scared my cats gonna run away again.
iii) Editing 🖥️
You don’t need fancy editing softwares like Premiere Pro or Davinci Resolve to edit this, you can even do it on your phone. Our example, courtesy of StagandCo, was edited on iMovie as the goal is just to make a seamless video. Simply import and drag all clips onto the timeline and arrange them in order. A simple trim and combining one part to another should be all you need – keep it easy; you don't want to overly edit with effects and transitions because the point is to highlight ‘you’! If editing is too much, Farah suggests to just shoot everything in one take, if you are able 👍🏻
Pro tip: Remember to trim both ends of each clip to remove any unwanted film. You should also include a title card at the beginning of the video with your basic details.
To sum up, making a good casting video is not that hard and can be the differentiator from getting the role. You are your own advocate, and with the right technique and confidence, your uniqueness can shine through and make you stand out!
If you’d like to see a video on quick tips and tricks on how to nail a good casting video click here. We look forward to having you on our set!