Self-tape audition help. Is that what your searching the web for? Well, I’m not surprised! The acting world appears to have gone self-tape audition mad. I’m here to offer a bit of self-tape audition help.
When it comes to self-taping for auditions you’d be right in thinking the self-tape audition is as important as your headshot session. Being a self tape audition master is going to be another skill that will be more than useful for your next tv or film role. So, I’ve enclosed a few bits and pieces of self-tape audition help for you to consider before hitting the record button.
Self-tape devices: Camera or iPhone?
I would always opt for a professional full frame camera with a fixed focal lens. Phones are ok, but the quality isn’t going to be that great. How well can you edit your footage? Let’s be honest, the camera phone isn’t really a great representation in terms of colour balance and exposure won’t be consistent. Camera phones guess the exposure and the microphones are pretty awful. Imagine the director watching the self-tape on his wide screen tv in the casting office or at home. Yeah, they will watch the tape on a mobile phone too, but you still need a great looking self-tape.
A clear, clean background is ideal for your self-tape submission. Grey is a great colour, blue too. You want to be cleanly lit and in focus. A dirty wall and messy curtain will look awful. So make sure it a slick clean backdrop and you are not too close to the background either.
Lighting set up
3 point lighting is possibly the best lighting set up for your self-tape audition. You will want to stand out from the background and good lighting is the best way to achieve it. See my lighting tips in next months blog
The sound is another vital element for your self-tape submission. Nothing worse than hearing hissing and bumps and the next door dog barking! Incorporating a pro’ sound level is going to vastly improve your self-tape casting.
The Pro Reader
Getting someone to read with you in a clear professional manner will give the scene an amazing boost. The reader’s voice should be heard, but not as clearly and as audible as the actor in view. Tip: Make sure the reader is as close to the camera lens as possible and you are focusing on the eye closest to the lens.
Sit or Stand when self tapping
To sit I believe, gives you a more grounded performance. This is a head and shoulders shot after all. In close up, it helps to be still and steady.
Pay careful attention to the casting directors notes when it comes your self-tape slate. Some directors ask for a beginning slate, some at the end as a separate segment. A simple “hello my name is… and I’m reading for the role of …and I’m represented by…” is the norm. But some don’t want one.
Tip: Don’t slate! Unless specifically instructed to do so. A common mistake is to always slate for a self-taped audition. It’s an understandable error, as it’s pretty much standard before every live audition in a casting office. To Slate or not to slate that is the question…pay attention.
Shoot every scene individually
Unless instructed, shoot every scene separately—they can all be edited together afterwards. Getting to put your best performance on tape is an awesome opportunity! You no longer have to deal with those awkward transitions between scenes that you can’t escape in a live audition.
Naming your self-tape file
The BIGGEST mistake actors make is to name the file by the project title and character instead, use the [Your] actors name. When the casting director receives 50 or so submissions for Robin Hood or Holby City the casting office needs to know who that actor’s tape belong too.
Sending self-tape clips
Vimeo won’t allow a big amount of data to be uploaded for free. There are many ways to send your self-tape files to the production office and your agent. Some are free and some are going to charge you to send the file. ‘SendIt’ and ‘Wee transfer‘ offer a good level of file sharing.
Self-tape audition help
I am now offering self-tape audition help and services for actors. Personal self-tape audition facilities in a calm studio space, including pro’ lighting, sound and editing and professional readers available.
Please check out my new Self Tape Services Page. The self-tape audition help page will be updated with self-tape examples over the next few months.
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