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

Get ready for your next role, virtually.

By: Sep. 06, 2020
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Updated May 2024

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.


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