How Video Auditions Have Changed Hollywood Forever

HOLLYWOOD sign on blue sky background. World famous landmark. USA. Los Angeles, California. 09-11-2012. - Image (Mulevich /

Actors are being discovered every day thanks to video auditions.

More and more actors are being discovered all over the world. With videotape auditions, technology has allowed for nearly anyone from basically anywhere to audition for a role in a movie, TV show, web series, or even a commercial.

Video auditions or self-submissions, have become so normal, so much a part of the casting, that many producers and directors would rather see you on tape than in real life.

But it begs the question – why are video auditions so popular?

Well, in a recent interview with the professional casting director, Cami Patton, she reveals that the HBO mini-series ‘Band of Brothers’ literally changed the way Hollywood moved and operated.

It all began with “Band of Brothers,” says casting director Cami Patton. “When we did ‘Band of Brothers,’ we were shooting in England, and we were trying to match actual people. We had a lot of biographical material. We had pictures of the real people. We had interviews with them (when they were) older. We were trying to do a service to their natural accent and come as close to them as we could. And we had to find the majority of the actors in Europe,” she says.

“(British actor) Damian Lewis had been in New York doing ‘Hamlet’ with Ralph Fiennes, and that’s how he got on our radar. We weren’t specifically looking for a lead. We really actually went into it thinking the ‘core’ guys would be Americans and everybody else could come from anywhere – as long as they could do the accent. We’d seen everybody, and he blew them all out of the water.”

From that point on, she says, it was a natural progression. “You have access to casting directors all over the world, to agencies all over the world. People’s ease with – and with being able to self-tape with equipment that is decent enough that we can actually see what they’re doing and what they look like. All of that has sort of evolved in the last 10 years to where it’s just gotten easier and easier, with every given production to be able to find those people from everywhere.”

However, does a video audition actually take away from the acting and casting process? Would a video audition be able to discover amazing actors like Leonardo DiCaprio or Denzel Washington? Maybe not. But, it has helped increase the number of opportunities for aspiring actors.

“They don’t need it to be someone necessarily that they know the entire history of. They’re excited when we’re able to introduce someone to an audience as new, who’s 40 years old, who has all of the confidence and experience to pull off the lead in a show, but just is not known to our audience. It’s not that we set out to do that, but it’s exciting to us. I think, that they’re – from a studio and network perspective and from a show-runner perspective – that they’re open to whoever is the best person for the part.”

Patton also points out that secretaries were once the casting directors of Hollywood and it was not a glamorous job.”When it first started it was secretaries who were casting,” says Patton. “And so for a long, long time, the idea was – for years and years – it was not the most respected job. People didn’t set out to be casting directors. They became casting directors because whatever it was they were trying to do didn’t work out, either acting or directing or whatever. And it took until probably 20 years ago for people to start actually realizing it’s a career, and it’s a good career, and what the demands are and what the job qualifications are in order to be able to do it.”