That is Why Your Self Tapes Suck






I’ve had many actors e-book television and movie jobs off of self tapes.   I’ve had much more actors ship in dozens of tapes (a whole bunch?), solely to by no means hear something.   Within the casting world, it’s straightforward to ask anybody and everybody to “ship in a tape” from wherever they’re, and weed out those you need to carry within the casting room for one in all their valuable audition slots.   Self taping is turning into extra of a “pre-pre-read,” and it permits casting administrators to open up a wider web, to scroll via the movies on their pc or telephone each time they’ve time (generally the director is wanting too—wink wink), to determine whether or not an actor is sweet/proper for the function after solely listening to just a few strains (versus a number of scenes within the room).    Typically your slate is all they should hear to determine “Nope.”  

That is why it’s extra vital than ever so that you can be firing on all cylinders whenever you ship in a self tape, whether or not it’s via a self-submission, or via your agent and supervisor.   I imply you want good lighting, sound, appearing (duh), decisions, be “digicam prepared,” perceive tone, be ready and memorized, have a robust perspective, the entire deal.  It needs to be as in case you are stepping on set.   These little .mov recordsdata are all the pieces.  Get. Good. At. It.  Don’t put mediocre work out into the world.  Deal with each tape prefer it’s being seen by Martin Scorsese. Severely.   ESPECIALLY in case your brokers and managers are watching it.  The way you do in your self tape exhibits them how good/dangerous you might be at auditioning, which instantly ends in how laborious they push you to get into the room.  You are feeling me?

I’m certainly not a casting director, however have been on the receiving finish of a whole bunch of self-tapes, each via directing just a few brief movies, asking actors to point out me their self tapes, being a coach all these years, and asking brokers and managers their ideas.    Let’s repair this, lets?

Prime causes your self tapes suck:

1.  The Slate From Hell.   You understand these “Actor Slate” issues on Actors Entry?  You possibly can inform an terrible lot about somebody from simply having them look into digicam and say their title.  Don’t be loopy.  First impressions are all the pieces.   You both look like a pleasant, pleasant individual you need to hang around with on set for just a few weeks, otherwise you appear like you strangle cats in your yard.   For enjoyable. On Sundays.  Simply be regular.

2.    Lack of Prep.   Deal with this like you might be strolling right into a display screen take a look at.  You know the way they are saying your eyes are the home windows to your soul?  Effectively, your eyeLIDS are home windows to… effectively, sucking (oh snap!).  The extra you look down at your script, the extra you place up a wall, and the extra the viewer drops out.  In case you aren’t linked, how are you going to anticipate the viewer to be?  This is without doubt one of the few belongings you CAN management.  Don’t drop the ball.  Don’t give them a cause to skip over your tape.  Memorize your script, however have it in your hand.   Be so conversant in the scene which you can actually pay attention and connect with the reader.    Seize the viewer by the *&*% and maintain their consideration.  It’s essential.   Crucial components of a scene are the little moments between the strains, the place the ideas type, the discoveries occur.   That’s when most actors look all the way down to seize their strains.   So.. no extra of that, cool? 

3.  Scorching Mess.  Why you look so drained?   Possibly comb your hair?   You must appear like you might be stepping onto set—hair, make-up, wardrobe, the entire deal.   Not that you’re simply getting back from an all evening bender together with your 80 12 months previous roommate.   Get some relaxation, placed on some basis (you too, guys), put on garments that suit you and colours that flatter you.  It issues.   At all times do not forget that another person shall be placing in additional effort than you, shall be hitting up Drybar the second it opens, and shall be going to the Mac retailer to search out some “male basis.” (simply me?)

4.     Blair Witch Lighting.   Chill with the overhead lighting, the iphone flashlight lighting, and all the pieces else that makes you appear like you murdered your greatest pal.    A correctly lit tape makes the casting director WANT to look at you, as a result of it lights up your eyes, flatters you, provides you dimension, and takes out all of these loopy shadows.   Search for 3 level lighting on Youtube.   Mess around with it.   

5.  Your Reader is Loud and Sucks.   Love you, imply it.   It is advisable have a lavalier microphone that sticks onto your shirt and plugs into your digicam.  Please?  Purchase a $25 greenback one on Amazon and plug it into your iphone.  Good sound fixes a number of issues.  Dangerous sound makes a pleasant wanting video unwatchable.   I do know your mother/roommate/sister/greatest pal was an additional on All My Youngsters 10 years in the past, but when they’re standing proper subsequent to the digicam, they should chill with the shouting.   The main focus needs to be YOU, your ACTING, your CONNECTION, your EYES, not the wild animal that you’re studying with.  

6.  Handmaid’s Story Framing.  You know the way they shoot actors on Handmaid’s Story, and put their closeup within the decrease left nook of the display screen?  Superior on that present.  So good. So dangerous in your tape.  So dangerous.  Maintain it easy.  A pleasant medium shot, chest or shoulders up, with you within the heart, slightly room above your head.  

6.  Low cost issues you might want to have.   Tender field lighting, lavalier microphone, tripod, iphone tripod adaptor clip, grey or blue sheet for a backdrop, enhancing software program (iMovie or Remaining Reduce Professional), a pal who by no means will get uninterested in studying with you, and a few good pomade.

Consider it this manner: A breakdown goes out for a small scene in an enormous movie.   Each agent and supervisor on the town submits their shoppers for it.    Let’s say they obtain 2,000 submissions.   Of these they ask 100 actors to ship in a self tape.  Now change sides and picture you’re the casting director.  Let’s say you might be watching 100 tapes of individuals saying the SAME LINES.   50 received’t be memorized sufficient, 10 may have dangerous lighting, 20 dangerous sound, 15 will appear like they only stepped out of a hurricane, and 5 may have it memorized, coached, professionally lit, have nice sound, BE RIGHT FOR IT,and provides the casting director/producer/administrators no alternative however to rent you.     The manufacturing worth shall be terrific, and other people will all need to watch your tape.  

See what I’m saying? Now don’t go sending me emails saying how the “Stranger Issues” man despatched in a self tape whereas he was sick in mattress. Kay?   



MN Performing Studio is at present providing on-line appearing courses as a part of its course choice, as our NYC appearing studio is briefly closed. Discover out extra concerning the courses we provide, or join a training session, to assist maintain you centered and hone your craft.

Observe the studio in Instagram.



Share this


Aryan Khan confirms debut as a author. Shah Rukh Khan has an epic response

Shah Rukh Khan's son Aryan Khan is all set to affix the leisure trade. Defying hypothesis, Aryan has confirmed that he...

New on the town: Dan Lao — Hong Kong-inspired creamy egg-cellent rice bowls at Maxwell Meals Centre

Simply because the TEL line began operations, Dan Lao (蛋佬) got here in well timed with its opening at Maxwell Meals Centre. They...

Recent articles

More like this


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here