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How to Nail a Virtual Performing Arts Audition

This post is from a student, parent, or professional contributor. The opinions expressed by the author are their own and do not necessarily reflect the positions, viewpoints, or policies of Niche.

Part of applying to college for the Performing Arts is an artistic submission, portfolio, or audition to assess a student’s artistic talent or potential.

Schools can either accept you academically or artistically first.

Auditions, in general, can be a scary or daunting experience.

And changing protocols due COVID-19 has moved some schools’ audition processes completely into the digital world.

So if your audition will be now be filmed or held live on a video call, here are some things you can do to prepare.

Do Your Research 

Just like a live audition, you should do all the prep work an in-person audition requires to ensure you perform at your best.

Therefore, being a performer, audition preparation starts way before the actual audition.

By doing your research you are not only preparing for your audition but gaining the information to decide if you may want to spend your time, resources, and money to audition. Here are a few topics to get started: 

  • Who are the faculty? 
    • Where have they trained?
    • What kinds of dance are they offering? 
  • What genres will you be asked to perform in the audition?
    • What time is the audition? (Check the time zones.)
  • Do you have any friends who auditioned or know anyone who goes to school there?
  • What are the students there like?
    • What are they posting on social media? 
    • Where are their alumni employed?
  • What/How many shows do they produce each year?
    • Does the school bring in any outside professionals?
    • Who is allowed to audition for their performances? 
  • What is their COVID-19 response?
    • Are they still having in-person classes?
    • Is there a virtual option? 
    • What is the administration doing to keep the campus and community safe?

Pick an Attractive Environment 

Auditioning by film or virtually has the potential to be more advantageous than an in-person audition. You have the opportunity to give the auditioner a more personalized experience because they are closer to you.

Here are a few things to consider when choosing a location for your audition: 

  • Is the floor appropriate? 
  • Do you have a clear background? 
  • Is there good lighting?
  • How do the acoustics sound?
  • Can you see your whole body? 
  • Are you familiar with the limitations of your space? 
  • Does your space give you enough privacy to not be interrupted? 

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Check Your Technology

Being confident with and knowing the ins and outs of a virtual experience can show your auditioner that you’re well prepared. Before filming or participating in the live audition:

  • Make sure your technology works and has the latest updates.
  • Familiarize yourself with all of your equipment, programs/applications and their features (mute, spotlight, sharing screen and sound, exiting the meeting)
  • Confirm you have enough storage space for your device to run properly.
  • Check your camera angles and available lighting.
  • Limit other devices and check your bandwidth (if using wifi).
  • Learn how to add sound and/or music in post-production, so it can be as clear as possible (for video auditions). Or, position your microphone correctly for optimal sound quality.

Set up at least 15 minutes before the virtual meeting audition to check everything works and is in place. If there ends up being technical difficulties, that’s OK.

Let the auditioner know, and respectfully ask the best way he or she would like you to resolve the issue or try to troubleshoot the best you can.  

Be Prepared to Talk, or Not

Unlike an in-person audition, the auditioner is “closer” to you. The interaction can feel more personal, so they may want to engage with you more.

Prepare a few talking points or questions, just in case.

Be prepared for that some may you to be muted and that others may prefer you to be unmuted the whole time.

For a video audition, prepare your talking points by writing out a “script” or outline. Have a proper entrance and exit as well.

And as always, dress professionally and appropriately so your clothing doesn’t distract or detract from your performance.

I would set up at least 15 minutes before the virtual meeting audition to check everything works and is in place. It’s ok to still be nervous, but you’ve got this! You’ve prepared, and they want you to succeed. Everyone knows it’s been a hard year, and tough especially for the arts. 

Wait Patiently for Results 

This may be the hardest part.

It can be easy to overanalyze your performance and dwell on mistakes. Just take comfort in the fact you did your best.

I have gotten many rejections.

But—When one door closes, another door opens, so says Alexander Graham Bell.

While waiting, write down your thoughts about the experience. 

Did you enjoy the faculty? Have you been academically accepted? Are you eligible for any additional scholarships?

Break a Leg, Merde, and Good Luck. 

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Author: Rosalie Anthony

Rosalie is currently attending Point Park University earning her Dance- B.F.A degree with a minor in French. Previously, she attended and graduated from the Alabama School of Fine Arts in dance. She is passionate about learning, teaching and mentoring. In her spare time, she enjoys working out, chatting with friends, and discovering new places to go in Pittsburgh.