Actors are being asked with greater frequency to “self-tape” their auditions and e-mail them directly to the casting office or production team.

What’s great about this trend is the ability to still compete for roles when you’re out of town. You can be anywhere in the world and not miss an audition opportunity.

Here are some tips to make your taped auditions stand out!

  1. What You Need:
    • A quality camera with a good built-in microphone
    • Basic tripod
    • Good lighting – natural works great!
    • A solid color background that is not distracting or shiny
    • A reader
  2. Technical Expectations.It’s important you’re well-lit and that the sound is clear and strong. Before you begin your performance, do a test to check the lighting and sound. Say a few lines for the camera, record, and then review the footage. Does the lighting look ok? If not, adjust. How does your shirt look against the background? Can you be easily heard on a laptop computer with the volume at a normal level?
  3. Framing.You should be in the center of the frame with the bottom of the frame at the center of your chest and the top of the frame slightly above the top of your head.
  4. Sitting or Standing.Ideally, the camera should remain in one position throughout the scene, but there can be a small amount of movement if necessary to keep you in the center of the frame.
  5. Shoot every scene individually.Unless instructed, if you have more than one scene, shoot every scene separately. They can all be edited together afterwards.
  6. Your reader.Your reader should be as close to you as possible while being off-camera, positioned just right or just left of the camera.
  7. Acting.
    • Be comfortable. Relax and get your mind and body into work mode. Center yourself, focus, and get ready to do the work.
    • Be prepared. Rehearse your scene several different ways: standing, sitting, walking into frame, etc.
    • Make strong choices. Making strong, clear choices speaks about your ability and keeps the scene moving forward.
    • Live in the moment. Connect with the reader and make your choices work the best you can.
  8. Keep the script in your hands. Though you should have your lines fully memorized, you must keep that script in one hand for two reasons. The first (only applies to in-person auditions), so a casting director never needs to worry about feeding you a line. Second, and most important, is that your performance looks like a “work in progress.” Having the script in your hand lends a subtle cue to the director and producers that you’re still flexible, adaptable and directable with your performance.
  9. Follow all instructions.Many self-tape requests come with very specific instructions from the casting office — some with very strong warnings that if even one small step is overlooked the tape will be automatically rejected. These instructions pertain to: lighting, framing, sound, file names, and your reader. It’s extremely important you read and follow all instructions for taping and sending. Triple check them. You don’t want your audition to be eliminated for not following all the directions.