Top Tips from Casting Directors for Self-Taping! #selftape
We at Reflections have compiled a list of Top Tips regarding Self-Taping to ensure that you get the best result for your audition, ranging from what kind of camera to use to how to compress the final result. Self-Tapes are hugely important for Casting Directors as they can get a good look at all potential talent quickly and efficiently. Puro Casting, Aisha Bywater, Mark Summers and Equity all offer brilliant tips regarding Self-Taping and we've put together their best advice into this blog post to ensure that you reach your maximum potential. A self-tape can get you in the door and introduce you to directors from all over the world that you may not ever have had the opportunity to audition for. However, many Casting Directors are clear that they will not present a Self-Tape to a client should it not be up to standard, so as an actor, it's important to get it right.
What Kind of Camera?
- You could use a DSLR, Video Recorder or a Smartphone. Technology is rarely an issue these days because smartphone cameras tend to be such great quality! As long as you are able to transfer the footage onto editing software, you should be fine.
- Don't film in full resolution as this will make the file too big, presenting problems further down the line.
How to Shoot?
- Ideally, find a room with natural lighting, plain coloured walls and minimum items. If there are clocks or shelves on the walls, they could appear to be coming out of your head! The smallest thing can put a client off, so don't give anyone an excuse not to hire you!
- Try and avoid an echoey room, you don't need a great microphone as the in-built one should be enough!
- IF USING A SMARTPHONE, USE LANDSCAPE MODE. Portrait mode is strictly off limits.
- Make sure the device is held steady to avoid a jumpy, poor quality shot.
- It would be helpful that you had a friend with you as they can recommend and direct from the other side of the camera, regarding lighting and positioning.
What to Shoot?
- A shot from mid chest to just above your head is best. Anything else and the Casting Director may struggle to see you.
- Place the camera at your eye line to avoid focusing your performance downward.
- Avoid shooting outside or at a different location. There is more possibility for distractions and we want the video to be all about you!
- The software you use does not have to be technical! iMovie or similar applications will be enough for your needs.
- Try to include a Title Card which will include your name/agent/role/project you're auditioning for. This is an easy reference for Casting Directors.
- Make sure to compress your self-tape for space saving, a reduced upload time and an immediately available to stream video!
How to label and send?
- Most Casting Directors have different specifications regarding labelling and sending so make sure to check out the guidelines that they have posted so not to avoid any confusion and to maximise your chances!
Below is a super helpful video and links to the Casting Directors referred to when writing these Top Tips! Good luck and happy Self-Taping from the Reflections Team!
Puro Casting - http://www.purocasting.com/self-taping
Aisha Bywater Casting - https://aishabywaters.com/self-tapes/
Mark Summers - https://www.marksummers.com/blogs/self-tape-tips-from-mark-summers/
Equity - https://www.equity.org.uk/news/2017/may/equity-guide-to-self-taping/