Game-Changing Tips for Self-Tape Auditions

Jilliana Jean-Charles
Photo by: Andrey Kiselev

A good self-tape could be a game-changer. Keep reading if you are an actor who wants to book film and TV auditions, over and over again!

The sound and lighting need to be on point. Invest in some good lights to have lighting in front of you, as wel las to the right and left sides of you. Position these lights for equal lighting on either side --no shadows. You need to be well lit. People need to be able to see you, and the whites of your eyes --and please, please, please-- tape at a time when you can have silence, and not be distracted.

Sure, you could probably work a room, but can you work a camera? An actor can have all the talent in the world, but if your self-tape is hard to look at --its a wrap.

As an actor, you are an artist. Learn to adjust your face, your angle, and your eyes for the camera. Make everyone's eyes follow you.

As an artist, you must learn how to make something, out of nothing. Don't set up a scene with props and chairs. Your self-tape must demonstrate to casting directors and producers that you are able to capture interest with minimal set up, and they will imagine what you could do on set. Simply think up the emotion, and the camera will pick it up. The camera already reads your mind.

Never look at the camera directly! Focus your sight-line askew from the camera. Only look into the camera when you slate, or for certain roles, which should be very seldom.

You also need an off-camera reader that whispers, or is further away from the camera than you are, so that their voice does not over power your voice. Neither should the reader be in the camera frame with you. The reader should always be off camera. It's not your reader's audition.

Be aware of framing. The frame is a small space, you have to be centered, and work that area. Choose a backdrop that will be a contrast to your skin tone to avoid blending into your background. Your goal as an actor on camera is to stand out.

Always slate so the casting director knows who you are. Slates are the way you introduce yourself, its giving information.

You're also going to want to do minor edits to your audition to zoom in and out to show your full body, and to add a fade in and fade out, for the actual audition. Unlike in a live audition room, actors now have a chance to edit, and try different takes on the same script --over, and over again-. You probably would not happen while in person at a live audition.

No need for costumes, but definitely allude to the character you are playing. There is the pressure to look like what your head shot looks like, versus what the character looks like. But remember, casting directors and producers are people just like you, who need to be sold on a vision. Think about your character --what kind of lipstick would she wear?

Some of the beauty of self-tapes for the actor lies in the fact that your audition can be done from the comfort of your own home, and for the most part, on your own schedule. Gone are the days of driving 4 and 8 hours, just to make a two-minute audition, and then drive back home again. Even casting directors have it easier with self auditions, having the capability to view hundreds of applicant submissions from the comfort of their home office, or even their bedroom at night. All you need to do is show that you can deliver on camera without even being present in the same room! Even super talented actors need to learn how to master the camera. So, prepare yourself.

Below, watch as Christine Horn from shares her actor's tips and tricks for the perfect self tape.

Her series of videos go in more depth on how to improve your auditions, how to make your self-tape stand out, and more game-changing tips on how to get booked, or at least called back for casting offices!