Coronavirus’ Impact on 2020 Pilot Season

As the world continues to be hit over the head by the recent pandemic declared by the World Health Organization (WHO), it’s fair to assume that in-person auditions are about to come to a screeching halt, inevitably bucking a plethora of anticipated opportunities many of artists come to religiously count on this time of year. But this doesn’t mean the actual opportunity to audition is dead. It’s shifting.

For decades, Casting Directors and Agents alike have been ultra-cognizant of cross contamination – which is why one of the first rules actors learned when walking into an audition room was to never be first in attempting to shake one’s hand. You wait. And, if they offered their hand, you’d show courtesy and be kind in response. But even these precautions will be magnified due to the ordeal. Sure, yesterday a CD didn’t want to shake multiple hands. But with today’s pandemic, and the total number of cases skyrocketing past 130,000 global infections, with over 4,000 plus deaths, a CD is likely to not even want to share the same air with you.

Now what?

You fully gear up and be prepared to TAPE SUBMIT – because this is where the audition process has slowly been heading for the past two years. And with COVID-19 on the table, I can all but guarantee this pandemic is changing the in-person audition process, quite possibly, in perpetuity. Yes, inevitably, some of you will only see the downside. But there are a truckload of upsides too. We’ll discuss both:

1) With an in-person audition, talent pretty much has one shot with hopes of notes and a redirect. But with self-tape, you get all the time in the world to get it right – that is if you have a solid off-camera reader.

2) No question, wrangling up a reader is no easy task. But it can be done -- even if you have to pay for it, or buy your fellow thespian (or buddy) lunch. Be careful though, in downplaying the importance of a reader. They too can make or break you. So choose wisely.

3) Lighting, backdrop and sound are just as critical as the in-person audition – if not more so. So make certain when setting up your self-tape you have 1) a decent lighting package (which can be purchased off Amazon) 2) you use a solid backdrop; even-colored wall; white to light blue, preferably, and 3) when using your phone (either with stand, or if someone is taping you), ALWAYS remember to record landscape (16X9), and not in portrait position.

Viola! That’s it!

Keep your chin up kiddos. That’s important. Don’t let this get you down. Artists are the most resilient and adaptable people on the plant. And you preparing for this change are crucial – even if it (hopefully) passes. But in the meantime always remember you’re not the only artist who’s been affected.

We’re in it together.

~ Lawrence Bucher


 Talent | Scenarist | Freelance Writer


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