Self-Taping; The do’s and dont’s
- Learn the script
When you come to film, don’t let the filming be the first time you see the script. Make sure you’ve read over the lines, are comfortable with all the words and you have a basic understanding of the emotions needed to portray the character. If you need the script as a prompt that is ok and it’s better that you have it to refer to rather than read off it or stand there trying to remember your lines, doing this will bring you out of character. Casting Directors will be looking for someone confident with line learning and taking direction
- Film against a plain background
Avoid filming with a busy background e.g. sound of a TV, people /pets walking around or anything that could draw your attention away from the performance. If you film in a kitchen or a space where there is a lot going on in the background it draws the attention away from the performance. Please also film in a well-lit space.
- Keep the camera still
It’s important to keep the camera still not to draw attention to anything else but also not to distort the vision or the sound of the performance.
- Have someone read in the other lines
It is easier for the director to see how you interact with other actors and also how you interpret the lines in context to the other characters. We want to see how you respond to characters using facial expressions and physical reactions.
The frame should be from just above the head to just below the chest, unless otherwise stated in the Casting Director’s instructions. Please ensure all hair is out of your face and you aren’t brushing it away constantly
- Where to look
Get the other person reading in the lines to stand just to the side of the camera. Unless otherwise asked in the Casting Director’s instructions, deliver your performance to them rather than looking directly down the camera lens. Don’t look between the person and the camera as the camera picks up everything and focus is easily lost. We should still be able to see your face and your reactions clearly.
You can film on any device but make sure you know how you can get it off that device and to us. Maybe have a practice of filming and sending a quick video or give us a call and we may be able to help talk you through getting it from the device / camera. We recommend using a camera so you can put the SD card straight into a computer. Video files on phones and tablets / iPads are trickier to get off the device and onto a computer. Send us the video in one take unless scenes are requested separately as we won’t always have time to edit them together in the office and send them off.
- Read all information
Read all information in the email from us and the Casting Director to make sure you are doing it as they have requested. Don’t send the tape to me at the very last minute. We will need time to make sure and convert the video into the correct format and upload it and send it to the Casting Director. Downloading video files in emails can also take a long time so please ensure you have given enough time for the audition tape to be sent off
- Don’t let the script cover your face
If you do need the script, don’t let it cover your face. We need to see your reactions, focus and facial expressions and be able to hear you clearly
- Don’t read the stage directions
It is irrelevant to read the stage directions, they are there to describe what is happening in the scene or give your performance a bit more direction
- Don’t send a video thinking ‘that will do’
You should give your best at every audition
We don’t usually get feedback from auditions but if we do we always pass it on. If you would like feedback about your self-tape please send it to us in plenty of time before the deadline so we have enough time to view it and give you some useful tips / in case you need to re-do it.
Idents / Slates
Sometimes Casting Directors will ask for an ident / slate at the start of your video. They will give you instructions about how they want this but it could include the following:
- Giving your name, age, height and location
- Having your name, age, height and location written on a piece of paper which you hold
- Asking you for your ‘profiles’ (turning left and right and facing left / right so they can see what you look like from both sides)
- Having a full length shot so that they can see your whole body
- Asking you to do an improvisation task / a short introduction about you
Sending us the video
You can send us the audition tape by one of the following:
Please make sure the video is set to ‘only those with a password can view’ and tell us the password. It is important that scripts and scenes aren’t released publicly online. You will need a vimeo account, vimeo is free to join.
Please make sure the video is set to ‘unlisted’. If the video is set to private we can’t see it. By setting it as ‘unlisted’ it means the video can only be seen by those who have the link. Copy and paste the URL in an email so we can view and download it. Again it can’t be public because scripts and scenes mustn’t be released. You will need a YouTube account, YouTube is free to join
Type WeTransfer into google and click on the first link. All you need to do here is add the video file, type in your email address as the sender and our email address as the recipient. You don’t need to sign in / register you just add the file online and send it to us.
IMPORTANT: If you are filming on a mobile phone
If you are filming from a mobile phone please upload the video to youtube direct from your phone (making sure the privacy settings is set to ‘unlisted’) and email us the youtube link. Sometimes the phone video files can be too large to send via email. Please do not text the video to us.
We recommend filming on a digital camera and uploading the video from the SD card to your computer.
You can find examples of good self tape auditions here
If you get stuck with self-taping / uploading please give Louisa a call at the office on 02920 233 622
Self-taping Sessions at The Talent Shack
We can arrange one to one sessions at The Talent Shack where we will help you with the script, make character decisions, film the audition several times, edit and upload the video.
Sessions will be with Industry Professionals
£30 for a one hour session
Meeting with an industry professional to work on the script or improvisation / audition task and filming the audition several times with direction. We will select the best scenes and clips and edit them together ready to be sent off to the Casting Director. You must at least be familiar with the script.
£20 for a half hour session
Rehearsing the scene with an Industry Professional and having the audition filmed and edited with the best clips. A shorter session, we advise that everyone must be familiar / or has learnt the script prior to their session.