Many times as actors we are asked to send screen tests as opposed to auditioning in person. There are pros and cons to this process but with careful attention, you can feel confident that you are sending out your best work.
SIMPLIFY: Pick a space in your home with a simple background. If you can’t find one, hang a plain colored bed sheet (steer clear of white or light colors and be sure it is clean and wrinkle free). Keep your clothing simple as well. No gaudy jewelry or loud shirts. You want them to be paying attention to your talent, not your style. Be sure to let your camera operator know if you are going to move around at all; no need to reshoot over and over.
LIGHTING: A good camera is nice, but effective lighting can do more for your picture quality than high grade HD footage can any day. Follow the 3 point lighting system: One good, fairly strong key light pointed at an angle on one side of your face. Place one medium fill light on the other side. This light should diminish shadows, but not completely eliminate them. Hang one smaller light overhead highlighting the back and top of your hair. This light will help you pop out from the background. Be creative with your light sources! Sunlight makes a great key light, shadeless lamps can add fill light, and clamping desk lamps attached to a curtain rod or broom handle can provide a hair light. It may look ridiculous off camera, but who cares as long as what’s on camera looks good!
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