Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

How Do You to Make the Perfect Self-Tape? 8 Role-Winning Tips!

Get ready for your next role, virtually.

2020 has undoubtedly changed the way that the entertainment industry operates- at least for now. It may be a while before you have to navigate a crowded hallway for an audition, so what better time to perfect your remote job-booking skills than now?

Self-tapes have long been a common way of making an impression from afar, and they've become even more prominent in the wake of the pandemic.

What is a self-tape?

A self-tape is a way of digital casting, in which an actor submits a video of an audition instead of performing live in a room for the casting/creative team.

Need help making the perfect self-tape? Follow some of our tips below and be sure to watch Casting Director Erica Hart on a recent episode of The Chaos Twins as she discusses some of her top tips! (Start at about 34 minutes in for the scoop)

How Do You to Make the Perfect Self-Tape? 8 Role-Winning Tips!


Look your best.

Treat a self-tape as you would a regular audition. Look presentable, not distracting. Your hair and make-up should make you look like the best version of you. Don't wear a costume, but it can't hurt to dress to the character you are auditioning for.

Perfect your background

Make sure that you are the focus of your self-tape and that the casting director has no reason to be distracted by your environment. That means being sure to shoot your self-tape in front of a neutral background, whether it's a blank wall or solid-colored backdrop. Just watch out not to wear the same color as your background so that your body stands out from the rest of the shot.

Light your space.

As focus will be on your face, you want to make sure that it is not being shadowed in any way. You can avoid this by lighting yourself from the front/sides with a white light. Be sure you're not being lit from behind- that can cause a silhouette effect that will make it difficult for you to be seen.

Set up your sound.

Most importantly, the casting director must be able to understand you. Try to set up your space in a quiet area without background audio distractions like TVs, roommates doing dishes, sirens from outside, etc.

Position your camera.

If you don't have professional camera equipment, you can still make a great self-tape with your phone or tablet. Invest in a cheap tripod that will hold your camera steady (you can get these on Amazon) and position your shot to capture you horizontally- like what you see on TV or film. Frame yourself from mid-waist up, making sure to allow for just a bit of headroom at the top of your shot.

Help your reader.

Set your reader up for success. Make sure that they know not to read the stage directions. Make sure that they speak at a softer volume than you, especially since they will likely be positioned closer to the camera.

Rename your video file.

Don't send in a video with a random filename. Make it easy for the casting director to find and identify your performance.

Follow the instructions.

Above all else, make sure that you are following the instructions provided by the casting team. Making silly mistakes about how you present your slate, direct your sightline, or deliver your file could render all of your other work pointless, so take the time to makes sure you are giving them exactly what they want.


Need more audition help? Find out where you can download piano tracks for your audition and get even more tips about auditioning in BroadwayWorld's Audition Room.


BroadwayWorld Shop
Shop BroadwayWorld

Shop this season's new musicals! Get dressed up for a night at the theatre, or just a night at home, with merch from some of Broadway's biggest hits including SOME LIKE IT HOT, KIMBERLY AKIMBO, and more!

Start Shopping



Related Stories
100 Classic Broadway Audition Songs for Adults Photo
One of the first questions many people have when they're planning for an audition is 'what should I sing?' Look no further! We're rounding up a list of some of the top classic Broadway audition songs for adults.

Auditioning for Colleges? Let Cleveland Musical Theatre Help Photo
Auditioning for college musical theatre programs this season and don't know where to start? Let Cleveland Musical Theatre be your guide for CMT Unifieds, taking place October 9-11, 2020!

7 Places to Find Piano Tracks for Auditions, Performance, Practice & More! Photo
If you're a singer in need of something more than a karaoke track to show off your vocal chops, there are plenty of resources for vocalists that provide downloadable piano tracks- some of them are even free! Check out our seven favorite sites to find download-ready and custom tracks to help you sound your best!

How To Break Into Audition Pianist Work In NYC Photo
Even though so much of our daily interactions and communications currently take place via our computers and smartphones, there is still so much of this business that is built on face-to-face meetings, or at least voice-to-voice conversations. One of the keys to breaking into the audition pianist circuit is knowing how to use digital resources to set up analog meetings. Thankfully, most digital resources are accessible for free via your computer and/or your smartphone - just like this BWW column that you are reading right now.


More Hot Stories For You


Photos: Go Inside Rehearsals for A CHORUS LINE Starring Drew Lachey at Cincinnati Playhouse in the ParkPhotos: Go Inside Rehearsals for A CHORUS LINE Starring Drew Lachey at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park
February 5, 2023

Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park will be a singular sensation this spring with the opening of Moe and Jack's Place - The Rouse Theatre and an all-new production of A Chorus Line. Previews are set to begin on Saturday, March 11 with an official opening scheduled for Saturday, March 16, 2023. Check out photos from the first rehearsal here!

Tony Nominee Charles Kimbrough Passes Away at 86Tony Nominee Charles Kimbrough Passes Away at 86
February 5, 2023

According to various sources, Tony-nominated actor Charles Kimbrough passed away in Culver City, California on January 11th at the age of 86. 

Listen to the 2023 Grammy Nominees for Best Musical Theater AlbumListen to the 2023 Grammy Nominees for Best Musical Theater Album
February 5, 2023

As BroadwayWorld reported in November, six new recordings have earned nominations for Best Musical Theatre Album at the 2023 Grammy Awards, including Caroline, Or Change, Into The Woods, MJ The Musical, Mr. Saturday Night, Six: Live On Opening Night, and A Strange Loop. Take a listen to all six of the nominated albums!

TAKE ME OUT Plays Final Broadway PerformanceTAKE ME OUT Plays Final Broadway Performance
February 5, 2023

Take Me Out officially concludes its Broadway run today after 17 previews and 99 regular performances.

VIDEO: ROOM Releases Trailer Featuring Adrienne WarrenVIDEO: ROOM Releases Trailer Featuring Adrienne Warren
February 4, 2023

Watch the new trailer of ROOM on Broadway featuring Tony Award-winner Adrienne Warren.