Guide to a Good Self Tape
Step 1: Before you Begin
1. Read the Directions: Always start by reading the self-tape submission guidelines closely so you can follow the specific directions of the casting director. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to ask!
2. Get Off- Book before Recording: Be prepared and know the material so you can give the best performance.
a. PRO TIP: If you need your sides, post them nearby off camera so it seems as if you’re incorporating thought instead of searching for your lines, if you can’t remember them.
3. Use a Cell Phone or device with high Picture Quality: HD quality is better than most camcorders and with your cell phone, You can email the file directly from the phone afterward instead of uploading to WeTransfer or Hightail.
Step 2: Preparing your Space Camera:
1. Film in Landscape: Place your recording device horizontally, on a secure surface to avoid shaky footage.
2. Use a tight medium frame: The self tape frame should be from the chest up and the frame should be at eye level. Also, make sure to avoid as much camera movement as possible.
1. Firstly, the background should NEVER be the same color as your clothes.
2. The background should be a solid and neutral color while keeping the background as clutter free as possible.
Lighting and Sound:
1. Don’t use overhead lighting, as it creates strong shadows under your eyes and chin.
2. Use natural light if you can, but if your space is darker, use a ring light to get that natural light look.
3. Keep the number of shadows to a minimum as they may distract from your audition.
4. Find a space that has as little background noise as possible. 5. In the case there is construction happening right when you need to shoot your audition and you cannot change locations, use editing software such as iMovie to remove or lower the noise.
Step 3: Recording your Self Tape
1. Position yourself in the middle of the frame and double check that your head is not getting cut o the frame
2. Keep your focus out of the camera and place your viewpoint slightly to the left or right of the camera lens.
3. If you need another reader, pick a good one. Make sure that your reader has clear diction and your reader should be able to act enough to help your performance, but not too much to not take the attention away from you.
Step 4: Edit and Submitting your Self Tape
1. When editing your file, edit out excess footage and only send the best take of your scenes to the casting director .
2. Label the clips with your name first, then add the project title and scene (unless told otherwise). Make sure to reduce the size of the file for quicker upload on your part, and quicker viewing and download on their side.
3. Double check that you are following ALL instructions provided by the casting director.
4. Make sure you give yourself enough time to edit and submit your audition tape before the deadline.
5. Always rewatch your self tapes before you submit.