Tips on How to Self-Tape an Audition

October 26, 2023

Self-taping auditions have become a prevalent practice in the entertainment industry, allowing actors to submit audition tapes remotely. This method provides greater flexibility for both performers and casting directors, as actors can record their auditions conveniently and submit polished, well-rehearsed takes.

Tips on How to Self-Tape an Audition

To create a successful self-tape, actors typically follow specific guidelines, including clear framing, good lighting, and crisp audio quality. Additionally, actors often ensure that their background and attire align with the character they’re auditioning for, enhancing the overall professionalism of their submission.

It’s important to remember some tried and true tips, including the following:

Read everything you’re given.

Depending on the production and the script, specific details can be included in a casting notice to help the actor, including information related to text analysis questions: who, what, where, when, and why?

Highlight the parts you will try out for and circle any important verbs or words to stress or overplay. Throughout your sides, focus all attention on any physical details put in by the writer. If none are present, make bold choices and be a risk-taker.

Find a reader.

Teamwork can be key to success for self-tapes. Ask a fellow classmate or friend for help, feeding you lines and handling the camera while you focus on performance. Acting with a partner can help you disappear more into the scene.

But it’s okay if you can’t.

However, if no friend, classmate, or teacher can be found, rehearse the scene a few times before you turn the camera on, and then record at least three different takes, including different acting choices if possible. This will give you options to choose from when sending out the tape. Even if you can’t get feedback at the moment, feel free to send the footage to a trusted friend or colleague for notes before sending out the final version to casting.

Don’t forget to slate.

In the process of recording a self-tape audition, it is expected to slate, which means introduce yourself. Be natural when giving your name and contact information, and be clear so if your performance goes well, you will already have made a memorable impression. Shift down your head at the end of your slate for a small pause to transition from your introduction to the scene itself.

Act for film.

Unlike an in-person audition, you must do a little self-directing for the camera. Find your mark on the floor (use tape if necessary) to ensure you are standing where you need to be in the frame. You can put tape on the wall or a piece of paper behind the camera to provide yourself with an eyeline.

Make sure the most important thing we see in the video is you, ideally in front of a plain wall, to avoid visual distraction.

Dress appropriately.

This doesn’t mean renting out a Victorian corset if it’s a period piece, but make sure what you are wearing isn’t distracting from the performance in the same vein as the background behind you. Avoid any flashy colors, patterns, logos of any sort, or any shapes or forms. Less is more like when walking in for a live audition. Makeup should also be a minimum, except if the role demands more. The fewer external distractions there are, the more casting will focus on you and your performance.

Follow up.

Finally, the follow-up on these auditions is just as important as any other job interview. Be clear and concise in your emails or voicemails, following up a few days after submitting your tape. You won’t come off as needy or desperate–following up is a standard procedure and will make sure you weren’t forgotten or lost in the shuffle.