Perfecting a Self Tape

Perfecting a Self Tape

Self-tapes are a staple of auditioning, especially during pilot season.  Putting yourself on tape isn’t always easy, and not always cost effective.  A badly filmed audition can ensure you won’t be considered.

At our office, Trevar has created a clean, professional looking self-taped audition room.  He has a little studio set up to film anyone looking to have themselves taped. He’s put together a few pointers to help you create the best looking auditions.

When filming on your own, try to follow these tips:

1.)  Stand against a clean wall or backdrop, (preferably with a washed out grey or blue so it doesn’t distract from what you’re doing).  White can look dirty if the light isn’t perfect, so if you have another choice, like a soft blue, then go with that.  Stay away from bright colors.

2.)  Proper lighting is key.  Get rid of shadows on the wall behind you. That pesky second head can be distracting for the casting directors watching the taping, which could hinder your chances of getting the part.  You can do this in a few ways.
a.    Step away from the wall.
b.    Raise the lights lighting your face higher.
c.     Put some back light on the wall (watch out for hot spots).

Perfecting a Self Tape

3.)  Avoid low quality footage.  With modern smart phone technology, you don’t have to go out and buy super expensive cameras anymore. But a grainy image is more likely to get you overlooked.

4.)  Edit it.  There should not be any long pause waiting for ‘action’ at the beginning of your scene.  You should have a quick slate, and then the scenes.  Cut out any awkward filler or pauses.

5.)  Follow the casting director’s instructions.  Sometimes, very specific notes are made, which are necessary as part of the role you are auditioning for.  If they ask for a full shot, that’s because they want to see your body type. If they ask for a close up, then they want to focus on facial expressions.  If no notes are given, a good rule of thumb is that a slate should start close, end in a full body shot, and the scenes should be not farther away than waist up unless fluid movements are involved.

When in doubt, ask Trevar here at Casting Workbook.  He’s been self-taping actors for some time now, and understands how to make the final product professional and clean, so that the only thing the casting director will be focusing on is your performance.

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