How To Self Tape For Auditions
by Esther Bishop, posted 26 May 2017
Good news for actors -
thanks to technology, casting directors worldwide are requesting self tapes over live auditions.
Self taping allows the actor to choose what the casting director sees, giving them more control over their performance and a better chance of getting the part.
How to self tape:
The casting brief will describe the character and include a script or actor’s sides. The casting director will expect you to be off book, so learn the lines, it will feel better which means it will look better.
The role may require you to read with another character. For best results, they should read the lines straight and clear; bad accents or attempts at acting will take the viewer out of the moment. They should stand behind the camera and ask them to look at you when they read, it makes a difference in your performance.
If you are reading the lines alone find a focus point just off to the right of the camera.
The most basic tool you can use for self taping is the camera on your smartphone. Think about investing in a video camera if you regularly do self tapes, an entry level DLSR will do the job.
Generally the best setting will be one with a plain background. You want the casting director to be focusing on you.
If you are using your smart phone, switch to landscape mode. Position your device on a tripod or level surface.
Unless stated otherwise, the frame should be of your head and shoulders.
Experiment with the setting until it all looks right.
Natural light is ideal when self taping. Position yourself in front of a blank background or white wall and make sure there is lots of light on your face.
Film in a quiet room with minimal chance of interruption, close the windows to reduce traffic noise. If someone is reading lines with you off screen, record a test run to ensure you are both speaking at optimal levels.
Open on your performance, with your name and contact details at the bottom of the screen.
There are many ways you can send your self tape: Youtube, Vimeo, WeTransfer etc. Always send it via a private link that the viewer can download. If not specified, label the file with the character or project title followed by your name.