HOW TO CREATE YOUR BEST ACTOR SELF–TAPE

best actor Self taping and audition

Actor self-tape – Create your best impression

Congratulations! You have submitted yourself for a project or your agent did and the casting director is interested in meeting you! Your next step is to submit your actor self-tape! For the beginners out there, below are few ideas to improve your self-taped auditions.

Script analysis:

It’s important to know as much about your character and the plot. Thoroughly read the character breakdown and sides or full script if it’s available. Determine the arc of the story for your character and the arc of the individual scene. For shows that are currently airing, watch a few episodes to get a feel for the show. Once you have a better understanding of the project, refer to our blog on Script Analysis to further refine your choices.

If your scene includes speaking to multiple characters, make sure you have a specific place and eye line for each character.

Memorize your lines:

We realize sometimes you do not have enough time to memorize multiple pages, but if possible, try to be off book. Obviously, having your lines memorized allows you to be more relaxed and prepared.

Appearance:

Present yourself in the best possible way. In general, a natural makeup and hair look for woman. Yes, you guys may need a little foundation to even out your skin tone for the camera.

Of course, you want to look like the character you are auditioning for. This does not mean you need to dress in costume, but wear something that makes sense for the scene and gives the essence of the character.

Lighting:

Casting directors need to see you clearly. A properly lit acting self-tape can also add to the professionalism of the end product. In addition it conveys to the viewer a sense that you are a serious actor committed to your craft.  By going to a professional self-taping video establishment you can benefit from multiple lighting sources which presents the actor in an attractive three dimensional look.

If you choose to create your own acting self-tape at home you can purchase all-in-one lighting kits that, while not ideal, is a definite upgrade over general room lighting. Here is a link to B&H Photo, an excellent online photo and video resource, of a kit that includes a light, stand, cell phone holder and accessories for less than $70  

Background:

Choose a solid color background. Grey looks great on all skin tones.

Stay away from patterns as they are distracting and draw attention away from you.
If you are shooting at home you can also shoot against a plain painted wall. You can also invest in inexpensive backdrops; either paper or fabric.

Sound:

Casting Directors also need to hear you. Similar to lighting, sound is equally important to the overall quality of your actor self-tape. Professional studios usually offer high end microphones placed on boom stands to ensure that your lines are clear and loud enough. A great vocal recording enhances the overall self-tape and will draw the viewer into your video and performance.

Creating a self-tape at home with a phone is a typical choice. If you have editing capabilities to improve the video quality and enhance the audio your end product can be quite adequate. Remember that audio coming from a cell phone can often be very low quality to the small, digital internal microphone. Another home option is to use a separate audio recorder placed alongside your phone/camera. You will need to import the separate audio with some editing software. Adobe Premiere Elements involves somewhat of a learning curve but is inexpensive and allows you to improve both the video and audio elements of your self-tape:
B&H Photo – Adobe Premier
B&H Photo – Zoom Recorder H4n

Doing self-tape production yourself is a definite option however it does involve an initial investment, learning curve, and will likely produce a good product but not to the level of a professional studio.

Slate

Slating is often uncomfortable. Try to think about it as if you are introducing yourself to a new person. Smile; say your name and any other details that were specified. Relax! Be pleasant! Be yourself!

We hope that helps!

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