In today’s world, self-tapes have become the new norm for actors.
Many might see it as a quicker and more stress-free alternative to getting to an audition room and performing in front of a panel full of hungry casting directors, but that doesn’t mean that the same CDs aren’t looking for “perfection” in your video audition too.
Nevertheless, it is fundamental that your self-tape reflects your professionalism, organisation and acting abilities. As a result, self-taping might actually require a pinch of extra skills and preparation, which can be achieved with practise or by keeping track of the tips our amazing actors have gathered for you in the following list:
- Take the Manuel Puro self-tape workshop. It will provide you with important self-tape techniques through well structured material. A fun and pressure free way of learning more about the world of self-taping.
- Keep your camera horizontal, therefore film your self-tape in landscape and against a plain background.
- Create good lighting that doesn’t create shadows on your face. This is achieved by self-taping in a well lit room or positioning lights in a specific way. It’s always helpful to have two lights, the main light and one filling/side light.
- Try to dress according to the character you are playing. For example, our actor Hervé , had to play a priest for one of his latest auditions, so he wore a Mandarin collar shirt in his self-tape.
- Following up from clothing choice, avoid using bright colours and excessive patterns, keep it simple also in terms of accessories.
- Apply make-up but keep it simple. You want to show yourself, your best self so keep it natural! A very helpful tool is to apply mattifying powder on your face, it will avoid your skin looking shiny on camera.
- Learn your lines perfectly before recording your self-tape in order to invest 100% into the performance.
- Do a warm-up take and then check the quality of sound and light and whether you can be seen well in the video.
- Don’t move too much. Try and be still so that the CD or director has no distractions and can focus on your performance.
- Don’t overdo it. Doing 50 takes isn’t gonna make you satisfied and it is very counterproductive. Ideally after you have warmed up, film 3 takes on camera and choose “the ONE” among these. If you are really unhappy with all of them, take a break, go spend some time on something completely different and come back to it later.
- BONUS -> If you live on your own and a situation like the lockdown makes it impossible to find a reader to self-tape with, you can set up your phonecamera in front of you and have another device on the side and behind it on which you have someone on FaceTime or phone call reading the lines to you.