How to Audition On-Camera Auditions for Modern Casting

Is the traditional actor’s reel a hipster man-bun bound for extinction? Yes.

Are on-camera auditions recorded in a casting director’s office (or in the office of the actor’s rep.) as relevant to the modern casting process as is Kim Kardashian is to winning a Pulitzer for literature? Yes.

On camera

PR_headshot_A4AIs the traditional actor’s reel a hipster man-bun bound for extinction? Yes.

Are on-camera auditions recorded in a casting director’s office (or in the office of the actor’s rep.) as relevant to the modern casting process as is Kim Kardashian is to winning a Pulitzer for literature? Yes.

Casting directors for the screen, whether TV network, indie films, online outlets like Netflix, or Hollywood film blockbusters rarely view an actor’s reel in today’s Twitter-paced world. The worry for actors is no longer, “How long is my reel?” The worry for actors, and actor representation, is: does the actor have digital real estate online with audition competitive clips that target project-casting specificity?

Digital Real (reel) Estate:

When casting is seeking actors for a screen project the director, producers, writer(s), and casting only want to view quickly one (maaaybe two) clips of the actor’s screen work that matches the project being cast. That’s it. No reel.

The record of the actor’s relevant on-camera history must be industry-accessible beyond Breakdown Services / Actors Access, and definitely not on YouTube which restricts the posting of protected material. (Plus YouTube is the public digital landfill taunting with distractions; pulling away with cute kitty clips a viewer’s attention from the actor.)

So what to do with that reel dormant on a drive? Old fashion reel, real estate (clips disjointedly mashed together as a whole) is strictly for seeking representation.

What does an actor need now to be casting-competitive digitally? We’ll get to that new industry standard shortly…

Auditioning On-Camera:

When creatives involved in casting for a screen project (and sometimes for stage projects) want to see the actor with material from that project the actor must often participate in Eco-casting: record themselves utilizing provided audition material, and then make available to the casting office the recorded audition. No longer do actors with representation go to their agent’s office to be ‘put on tape.’ Represented or not the actor must be both director, editor, and actor recording themselves. A daunting proposition for the actor that is today’s producer budget-tightening reality spawned by the digital revolution.

The changes have come swiftly. And too many actors haven’t caught up to the modern demands of on-camera auditioning, and digital real estate.

Two respected screen casting directors and a successful bi-coastal talent agency owner join my office for a 3-week on-camera intensive. The executive entertainment panel includes guests associated with major studio and indie films including projects for: HBO, ABC, CBS, NBC, American Horror Story, and many more successful screen outlets.

Together we share the importance not only on Eco-casting on-camera audition technique but also on the changes required for relevance for the modern actor’s digital real estate. The entertainment executives view and provide feedback on the actor’s work. Plus, participating actors receive an online, private link to their in-class on-camera work. The video files can be downloaded and saved.

WEEK 1: Mastering Media Real Estate (Having a reel is not necessary for participation.)

Discover the gold-standard for what Prime-Time TV & major film casting expect of proper and effective actor media in the digital revolution.

For the class participants with reels: Evaluation & advisement of modernizing your screen media for agents, and casting.

For actors without reels: A valuable insight for what is required to audition in an Eco-casting realm that is modern casting.

WEEK 2: Commanding the On-Camera Audition & Actor Branding – Getting the Job


Analysis of Improvements 

Strengthen acting & live on-camera audition skills via scene study; define & leverage your type; Perfect your brand for when meeting industry employers; Target what makes you excel during an on-camera audition.

Utilizing audition scenes—from screen projects—I and my trusted assistant work with each actor to command every on-camera audition encountered.

WEEK 3: On-Camera Audition Technique & Branding Follow-up


Final Analysis of Media Prior to Presentation to the Entertainment Industry Panel

Audit and consult on improvement of: on-camera technique; effectively commanding the audition, text analysis, and dressing right for your brand.

For actors with digital media: a review of their improved material.

Wrap-up Q&A preparing the actor for the panel.

Panel Showcase & Feedback

Prepared, actors individuality meet and present their improved on-camera skills to the adviser panel. Actors with digital media will have their material presented to the panel as well.

At the end of the evening individual written feedback is provided by the panel on the actor’s scene work. A wrap-up Q & A follows.

Two-dozen universities including Yale to Elon to Wright State annually invite me share my NYC master classes on their campuses with their acting-major seniors. You can get a jump on those actors, plus share with the entertainment executive panel what you and I worked on together to showcase your improvements.

The On-Camera Master Class that has as guest advisers: casting directors for HBO, ABC, NBC, CBS, major films and indie-films. Plus a Hollywood agent with clients on American Horror Story. Only 5 Seats remain between both series!

Grab your treat at:

Dates, Executive Panel, & Registration @

Let’s get to work, my friend.

My best,
Paul Russell

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Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned nearly thirty years. He has worked on projects for major film studios, television networks, and Broadway. Paul has taught the business of acting and audition technique at NYU and has spoken at over two-dozen universities including Yale, Elon, Wright State University and Rutgers. He is the author of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor. For more information, please visit

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