A Guide to Self-Taping
from a terrific agency in CANADA:
People are booking BIG jobs directly from self tapes these days. So if you're asked to do one. don't brush it off with "no one books from self tapes." In fact you can often do a better performance when you self-tape as opposed to the stress & pressure of a live audition.
WHERE TO GO: Still gathering these from actors I trust & my clients... who do you like, in LA? or NYC? or Chicago? Or anywhere! Comment below.
- If you are taping yourself & using your phone, hold it horizontally because, hey, that's what movies look like!
- SLATING: Say your name, your agency, the character you're reading for. Do this as a full body wide shot. Then, for the read, move to a close up (head & shoulders) shot. Don't be afraid to be loose with this & do something that reveals who you are as a person.
- Make sure you're in front of blank walls & there aren't any distractions in the shot that would take away from your performance.
- Make sure whoever is reading the other part is not too close to the camera, as they will be way too loud on the recording. Make sure that the reader isn't over acting -- they aren't the one auditioning. An over-acting reader can destroy a self-tape.
- Also make sure the reader is standing just slightly to the left or the right of camera. You want your eyeline to be as close to the camera's "eye" as possible -- without looking directly into the camera, of course.
- Adjust the lighting in the room so that you look your best. & do look your best ... when you first start making self-tapes, do a good deal of testing with hair & makeup & clothing. Ladies, please, unless the role really calls for it, don't overdo the make-up & don't have every hair perfectly in place. Casting is about looking like a real person, not displaying glamor & perfection. Please don't wear false eyelashes unless the role demands it!
- Put a title on the tape. If you don't know how to do it, use a professional service, but do it one way or another. The title should include the name of the project, your name, the character you're reading for, your agent's name & agent's phone number.
- Do good acting. Mic drop.
Uploading / Sending
- If uploading to a site like Vimeo, make sure that you make the video private. A lot of projects are secret or have non-disclosure agreements -- so don't piss them off by making anything public. Set it to private, use a password. NEVER upload to Youtube!
- Vimeo is the best place to upload: you can easily make it private & you can also make it download-able. There are prompts when you upload, it's simple.
- If you are sending the video directly to your agent to be uploaded by them through an alternate service, remember that they need turnaround time. You can't send it 5 minutes before the deadline & expect your agents to deal with it on time. Plan for it to be ready at least 3 hours before the submission deadline.
- You can send it by using wetransfer (www.wetransfer.com) to send the file over email; you can upload to dropbox & send using a link, or by uploading it (privately) to Vimeo.