The Self Tape Audition Guide
We live in the digital age and the fact is more and more casting directors are saving time by asking actors to submit an audition video. Do Not start freaking out. Most directors will send you a side and clear instructions on what they want you to do. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the sides and memorize them. This process is the same as going in for an in person audition the only exception being that once you are done memorizing your lines you will film them in the comfort of your home and submit them to the director. Follow these instructions in order to record your audition successfully.
The director and the casting team do understand that you do not have access to a professional videographer and will expect the quality of your video to be somewhat poor. That being said you do not have to go out and by expensive equipment to tape your audition video unless of course you have the means to do so. You can film your video either with your smart phone, a web cam or a video camera (if you have access to it. You will simply need to make sure than the tape is clear and that you can be seen and heard.
Your wardrobe choice should not distract from your audition. The focus should remain on you and what you are doing. Avoid baggy or loose fitting clothing, anything with wild and crazy patterns, large & bold jewelry or anything that will distract from you. This includes sunglasses and hats. Your audition video is not the place to make a fashion statement. Keep it simple.
Ladies when it comes to makeup you want to stay away from loud eye shadows and crazy lip colors. That being said you will want to experiment with foundation and blush, maybe even a little contouring in order to avoid looking washed out. The best advice is to try several looks before actually committing to a look for your audition.
Location & Background
It is imperative that you choose a location that is well light, simple and clean. It doesn’t have to be in a studio or a stark white background but it does have to be free of clutter and have great lighting. You will also want to choose a place where it is quiet or choose a time when everyone is out of the house. Turn off the radio and TV, if you have pets make sure they are outside, if you choose to film outside make sure the pets are inside. Again you want the focus to be on you and not what is happening around you.
Lighting is important because you want to be seen very clearly. Choose a room that is well lit. If the main source of lighting is a window be sure to place the camera, phone or webcam in front of the window. Keep in mind that if you stand in front of the light you will appear dark on film and you will be hard to see. If you do not have a well lit room try bringing in as much light as you can, try using floor and desk lamps to light the room up.
Do a couple of test runs. Try speaking for the camera to see if you can be heard. Speak clearly and enunciate your words. If your voice is low practice raising your voice, if it is too loud try toning your voice down and find a happy medium. Try not to yell into the camera. Simply speak clearly and audibly.
Close-Up & Frame
While doing your test runs be sure to make a note of what angle and what place in the room works best for your audition. You want to stay in frame (centered) at all times. It is okay to move around a little but remember that you still need to be seen and heard so do not wonder off away from the camera.
Read your audition instructions, the director will tell you what he or she will want you do to simply follow the instructions. If they didn’t provide any instructions on how to make your audition tape, follow the standard Slate: Look into the camera state your name and the name of the character for which you are auditioning. Be pleasant and confident, this is the first impression that the director will have of you. You do not want to appear unprofessional.
After slating take a small break (about 5 seconds) and then jump right into character. Be confident, know your lines, give the best performance and deliver it as if you were in front of the director at that very moment. Just because it is a self-taped audition does not mean that you need to be lazy. If you do you will not give your best performance and you will be re-taping the audition over and over again just to get it right. Deliver your best performance the first time and do just a couple of retakes if you need to.
Follow Submission Instructions
Once you have recorded your amazing audition it is time to follow the submission instructions. Do exactly what the director requires of you. See if you need to upload the video to a website or email it to someone; be sure that you have the correct email address and the correct name of the person you are emailing. Check to see if you need to attach a resume and headshot or if they need to know your measurements and basic description. Again follow the instructions provided very carefully!