Facebook Live: Self-Tapes & Zoom Auditions

As our industry continues to adapt to the ‘new normal’, the ways in which actors, agents and casting directors work has never been so different. The landscape has changed and we are utilising digital platforms to secure work. With that being said, having an audition over Zoom or submitting a self-tape is vastly different to being present with a casting director in the audition room. So, what are some top tips to ensure you maximise your professional success in this climate? We asked two of the industry’s top casting directors to find out.

During our Facebook Live on 30th June 2020, we were joined by two renowned casting directors: Kate Evans CDA and Shakyra Dowling CDA CSA! They have cast incredible films and advertising campaigns internationally over the years and they provided insight into their casting process, as well as discussing how COVID-19 has affected their work and tips for actors on mastering self-tapes and Zoom auditions. You can check just some of Kate and Shakyra’s career highlights, as well as our full conversation with them below.

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the creative industry and on actors. Kate and Shakyra highlighted that, while you can’t beat a face-to-face audition, Zoom and self-tapes, when done well, can be just as advantageous for actors. They brought attention to how much more responsibility is on actors to ensure they present themselves well - this includes their recording equipment and performance space, as well as how they label self-tapes for casting directors.

Our Business Development Executive in Toronto, Daryl Ledwon, posed many questions to them both and some were submitted from our community. Many were curious as to how they can master self-tapes and Zoom auditions. Kate emphasised that there is much more freedom and responsibility given to actors during this climate.

“In a casting studio you can get a sense of people’s energy. It’s difficult to gauge that on Zoom. With self tapes, we’re relying on you to direct yourself, rather than in person or on Zoom.”

With digital advancements in the industry playing a key role in how actors and casting directors mix, they noted that the newer systems in place could be a good thing for the industry, but only if actors utilise them well.

“Self tapes could be the way forward for casting - climate, money and transport are all important considerations. Truly, actors need to think about lighting, be prepared and treat it as a real audition.”

We would like to extend a huge thank you to all those who tuned in to our Facebook Live and those who submitted questions! A huge thanks is also in order to Kate and Shakyra. They offered an incredible insight into their casting process, as well as incredibly valuable advice to our talented community.


Kate Evans is an award winning casting director with over 20 years experience working alongside the best directors, photographers and brands in the advertising industry. She is also the chairman of the Casting Directors Association (CSA). She casts for UK and global commercial and photographic campaigns as well as for TV and film. Kate's projects include casting for DreamWorks, McDonald's, Lego and Argos.

    Shakyra Dowling has been a casting director since 2009, working on projects that have stretched around the globe. She specialises in British independent feature films, European co-production films, TV and commercials, many of which have have been internationally recognised, winning awards at festivals. Her projects include casting for Pantene, Nando's, British Airways and Google.