What is a Self Tape Audition?
- A self tape audition is typically when a casting director and/or producer would like to see you audition for a role in a project they are casting, such as a film, television show, or commercial. They contact your agent and/or manager and request that you record yourself acting out the scene, and submit that to them in the form of a video audition.
The entertainment industry has shifted as we grow further into the 21st century. The process of submitting for auditions as an actor has transferred from a hard copy and paper submissions, to the digital realm. Project are being created around the world and Actors are being asked, with greater frequency, to “self-tape” their auditions and e-mail them directly to the casting office, agent, manager, and/or production team. With the ability to submit your “best take(s)” for consideration for roles in Films/Movies, Television Shows, Web Series, Commercials, and other entertainment related projects, delivering good self tapes is very important.
A self tape audition is a direct reflection of the auditioning actor, their representation, and the casting director submitting the tape to the producers. Given the competitive and unique nature of the entertainment business, poor quality self tape audition are known to often not make it through the submission process, let alone even be given consideration if the video quality it too bad.
Ingredients for Self Tape Auditions That Book
Good lighting ensures you casting can clearly and accurately see you absent any bad lighting, shadows, and/or distractions. Having bad lighting can cause an actor to appear differently than they do in real life and/or their headshot, which can lead to issues during the casting process. In order for casting to cast you in a project, they must able to accurately asses you, based on the self tape video you submit.
The “picture” is an industry term which refers a “motion picture” or “movie.” In this case, the self tape audition if the “picture.”
Great self tape auditions are just as important as a taking good headshots. Casting directors do not get to see how you take a note or respond on video like they do in a live audition, however, they do get a better sense of your movement, sound, and type from the self tape auditions you submit. Be sure to eliminate any distractions from your background and record against a neutral background, free of objects.
The “frame” is the area that the camera captures while filming. Unless otherwise instructed to do so during the audition, it is industry standard to shoot in a “medium” to “close-up” frame. Remember, you want the casting director paying attention to you and your performance, and as a result should frame the audition to display just that.
The ‘background” is the area or scenery behind the actor. It’s important to ensure that you film on a neutral background, free of any distractions, so as not to distract from your performance in any way.
Good Picture, Framing, and Background:
Bad Picture, Framing, and Background:
One of the most important aspects of a successful self tape audition is the sound. In order for casting to determine if you are the right pick for the part, they must be able to clearly hear you deliver your lines.
Reading with yourself, is never the right option. You should always read with another person in the scene, unless directed to do so otherwise (sometimes commercial, or host auditions). Reading with a seasoned actor/reader and/or a coach is always highly recommended, given the unique opportunities the industry presents.
What you Shouldn’t Do..
Auditions are rare opportunities that often only come once in a lifetime. Make the most of each opportunity and get coaching if you can. Fine tuning the scene, the script, and coming up with dynamic choices that will make your performance stand is essential and part of the credit process. Having another actor/coach assist you with coaching can make a difference in the performance you deliver.
You chose this passionate career path for a reason. Each opportunity can seem like the last, but new projects are always being made.
Embrace the process and enjoy the ride!
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