With the Corona-Virus COVID-19 limiting an actors ability to travel, we all have to adapt.
Knowing how to produce a great Self-Tape is more important than ever. Even for Theater Auditions!
The Self-Taped Audition
The self taped audition is fast becoming the norm in our industry. Every actor must master this fairly simple process. This is one reason why weekly self-taping is part of Penny’s Master class.
The ability to do a great self-taped audition and self-submit is as important today as a great head shot and resume. Penny and I often put actors on tape for major jobs. One actor was flown to LA by the network for an on-set screen test for a series regular role from their self-taped audition! And, Penny had just coached and recorded a self taped audition for another actress for a series regular. She was the only actress that self-submitted for the role. She booked the role.
Our Acting Lion Mary Marquiss Ashley booked a feature film with good scenes with major stars. She was directly hired from her self tape. The director told her, “Your self-taped audition was so good I had to hire you.”
Be sure to watch the SAG Foundation Video and master the art of the self -taped audition
A great Self-Taped Audition Increases Booking Possibilities
Production Values are important BUT, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get them. I am including links to inexpensive, quality items that will help you create great self tapes. Here’s what you need:
- A Good Digital HD camera. Preferably one that uses an SD Card for easier transfers to your computer for editing.
- Or, PHONE MOUNT or a good TRIPOD for your cell phone
- Decent Lighting. LED LIGHT KIT LIGHT RING If nothing else, use clip-on lights. You want even lighting with no big shadows. And, your eyes should stand out.
- Good, Clear Sound. Most camera mikes are fine, as long as you minimize background noise. You can also purchase add-on LAPEL MIC.
- A Solid Background. A solid background helps you stand out. If you don’t have an empty wall you can get a Green Screen Background or purchase a medium Blue or Gray piece of material from a fabric store.
- Basic Editing Program. Most computers come with one. Options include: Best Editing For MAC and Best Editing for PC. They allow a full range of editing and aren’t hard to learn.
- Reliable File Transfer. You’ll want a program for sending large MP4 or MOV files. We use HIGHTAIL. Hightail has a free application that should work. If you submit lots auditions in a month, you may want their professional application ($9.99/month).
- A YOUTUBE or VIMEO account. Some CD’s prefer to view your submissions online.
Basic Rules for Self Taping:
- Read the instructions from the Casting Director or Production Company carefully.
- Make absolutely sure your slate, the scenes and your information match the instructions you received with the sides.
- Failure to submit your Self-tape EXACTLY as instructed can mean your submission may never be seen.
- Shoot your audition in front of a Blank wall with no distractions
- Record your slate separately from the sides.
- Have a good reader.
- Have your reader speak softly. They are closer to the microphone and can overpower you.
- Record in a quiet place with no distracting sounds or background noise.
- Have your reader stand next to the camera. CDs want to see both your eyes and your full face.
- Use your eyes well. [*See Learn to Bock Your Eyes]
- Don’t overdo the production values. Using Green Screen might be OK but it is rare now. However I believe it will be accepted fairly soon.
You Can skip all of this and Schedule a Coaching Session and get coached on the material and have us record it for you.
Here is part 1 of a 2-part series on HOW TO SELF-TAPE, taught by SAG board member and actress Sharon Garrison. Sharon lives in Dallas so, by necessity, she had to master the art of the self-taped submission to further her career. Part 1 covers the actual recording of your audition. Watch and learn.
Look for Part 2 – Post Production – Coming Soon
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Hank Schob A graduate of The American Academy of Dramatic Arts and a 50-year acting industry veteran, Hank teaches the Camera Class, Beginning Class, Scene Study and Script Analysis Class.
Penny Templeton is the founder of The Penny Templeton Studio and the author of ACTING LIONS, the go-to book for actors in the 21st century. She teaches 2 Master Classes on the craft of acting and also individually coaches actors on technique for auditions and on preparing roles for Broadway, Television and Feature Films.
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