Top tips for self-tape audition success
More and more often, now we are a more digital society, children get asked to self-tape rather than attend a live casting. There are positive and negative aspects to self-tapes, but with them becoming more and more popular, it’s important to get it right first time and bag that role!
Self-tapes are handy because you don’t have to travel to attend a casting, but in the other sense they don’t really show your personality. I prefer live castings to self-tapes; however, they are great for a quick turnaround and no travelling costs of course!
There are many factors technically that can affect your tape so let’s look at some of those.
- Always film landscape. It’s ok to use a smart phone and there is no real need to use a professional camera. If you film portrait – you get two black lines either side, which looks awful on a pc screen.
- Make sure you have sufficient lightning We want to see your child well. It can be difficult if filming at night, but make sure you have plenty of lights around to brighten up the room.
- Your background should always be a plain wall – white or cream are best. If you don’t have that, then just a block colour is the next best choice, but not too bright and not some patterned wallpaper – otherwise the eye is drawn to the wallpaper!
- Generally, a head and shoulders shot is required (unless the brief states otherwise). The camera should be close enough to see those facial expressions!
- Make sure we can hear clearly and don’t have your hand over the mic when you film or it’s a muffled sound. Also, no background noise, as we don’t want to hear siblings playing or dogs barking etc.
- Always give the child’s and the name of their Agent (Casting Kids) at the start of any self-tape. You may also be asked to give profiles/idents (which is each side of your face)
- If someone is reading the other lines, have them read off camera, as we want to see the star not the person reading lines for them.
- Always be ‘off book’. This means you MUST know all the lines before you record. Also – read the whole script first to get a feel for the scene and the character.
- Look just off camera rather than directly at it (unless the brief tells you otherwise). Don’t look left or right, we want your face straight forward, but your eyes talking to a person as if they were just at the side of the camera.
- Its important to show personality. If you were at a casting you would show your personality a little, but this is more difficult to get across if you’re not in the room with the Casting Director.
- If props help, use them but don’t make the focus the prop. We want to see how YOU react with the prop.
- Make sure your clothing is appropriate for the character.
- Your self-tape should be filmed in one take and not lots of little ‘scenes’ cut together – unless of course, there is more than one scene.
- Don’t just do one take. Do a few and pick which is best!
- Edit the self-tape where necessary.
- Send your self-tape via Vimeo or WeTransfer (Or whatever format the Casting Director requires it in) to your Agent and to never directly to the Casting Director.
So now you have some top tips for an effective self-tape. Good luck with your self-tape auditions!