Once upon a time if you wanted to audition for a school or company in a different country, you had to stump up the cash for an air ticket.
These days, however, many internationally-renowned schools and companies will accept video auditions, at least as an introduction. Dance Australia caught up with Brett Wallace of Blustone Productions to find out what is involved in putting together a professional audition video.
Dance Australia: How long does it take to shoot and audition video?
Brett Wallace: 3-4 hours for a single student, this time changes but not doubled if 2 or more students are involved.
DA: Where is the best place to shoot an audition video? Can it be done in the candidate’s studio or is it better to go to a studio that has been set up for shooting?
BW: It can be filmed in the candidate’s studio to help keep costs to a minimum otherwise its better in a large indoor space with floor designed for dance with the ability to prevent sunlight from entering. We like to control the lighting to maintain consistency throughout the filming regardless of weather and time of day.
DA: What is normally included in an audition video?
BW: The final edited video per student of about 15-20 mins duration includes, barre, centre work, pointe and dance. Dance includes either classical or contemporary or both. Barre is usually filmed to one side unless otherwise required. The teacher and student work together on the required class work and appropriate music. We film a personal introduction at the start to get the attention of the company viewing it.
DA: What do you need a dancer to bring the video-making process?
BW: Music copies either on CD or USB to be used in the final editing process. Makeup to reduce skin shine from sweat throughout the shoot. A mental attitude of enthusiasm, determination and team work - this is all of us - student, teacher/s, camera operator all working together to produce the best result for the student.
DA: Do you have any recommendations about attire and/or make up?
BW: Contrasting choice of attire to the location backdrop. If you are going to an audition studio that has black backdrops, a light colour leotard is more visually striking, and visa versa. Make up is recommended, not full stage makeup, but neat and clean application similar to a portrait photo.
DA: What other advice would you give a dancer to help them achieve the best possible result from their video?
- Enjoy the experience, it's been many years getting to this level to have the ability to film an audition video, own that achievement!
- Apply corrections the teachers give and understand it can be a exhausting processes so come as prepared as you would for an exam.
- If you have trouble with an exercise, move on and come back to it, this is not a setback but sometimes an opportunity for a mental break and usually all that is required to execute that exercise.
- Treat your audition as though your on stage by performing to the camera like you would to a concert audience.
- A simple smile adds to the viewers pleasure... ‘chookas'.
See an example of an audition video of Conlan College student Anno Shimizu:
Thank you to the Conlan College for permission to share the top image, which shows Blustone Productions Natalie Wallace working with the Conlan College's Simone Conlan and students, and video of Anno.