What is a self-tape audition and how to master it

With advancements in technology and there being an increasing amount of ways in which we communicate professionally, it’s no surprise that working as an actor today is complex yet advantageous. Casting directors no longer solely turn to face to face auditions when casting projects. Requesting actors submit self-taped auditions to be considered for a role is now the norm, and we think it’s important you nail yours.

What is a self-tape audition?

A self-tape is an audition the actor films themselves remotely and sends across to casting directors at their request. Instructions are given to the actor, such as extracts from a script that must be read, general details of the character and a deadline for when it must be submitted. The actor is ultimately responsible for the filming, editing and submission of the self-tape. Recording a self-taped audition is very similar to submitting a headshot for your application - it’s all about making a great first impression, while not actually being present in a face-to-face audition.

A huge advantage of a self-tape video is that the casting director can get a better sense of your movements, expressions and style. It is important that the casting director is able to see and hear you clearly, with no background disturbances or display issues.


The importance of self-tape auditions

  • Physical auditions and castings cost time and money for everyone involved. Actors must pay travel expenses and casting directors use valuable time and money arranging audition space and recording facilities.
  • Self Tape auditions allow actors to audition for roles from the comfort of their home 24/7.
  • By seeing an actor on camera, reading a line of the script, casting directors and employers are able to get a better impression of how suitable an actor is for the role, before they invite them in for a face-to-face audition.
  • In extenuating circumstances where face-to-face auditions are unable to go ahead, a self-tape is a useful way to still be considered by a casting director.


How do self-tapes work on The Mandy Network?

  • When posting a casting, employers can now request the self-tape feature on Mandy.
  • Any job where the submission of a self-tape is required, you will see our self-tape logo.
  • The employer will provide extracts of a script they want actors to record. This is included with the character details.
  • Using your mobile phone camera, desktop or laptop computer you can now record a self-tape audition.
  • Play it back, save, delete and try again. In fact, you can record your audition as many times as you like until you are satisfied that you have it right!
  • Add a personalised cover letter and submit to the casting director, who will be in touch to confirm whether they want to consider you for the role


ACTORS

  • Apply for self-tape jobs using our built in video recording service.
  • Auditions are clearly marked on the acting jobs in the UK section with the little 'self-tape' icon.


EMPLOYERS

  • Receive high quality video submissions for your castings.
  • Only see the professional actors who fit your breakdown.
  • Review video submissions in minutes!

Tips for recording a great self-tape audition

1) Recording equipment

      To record a good self-tape audition, you don’t need to have any fancy recording equipment, all casting directors expect from you is a good quality film that has good sound, lighting, accurate colour and a decent focus that allows them to see you clearly. It is a myth that you need a great HD recording device. If you have a relatively modern iPhone or Android that records, you are set for recording your self-tape

    2) Correct lighting

        Ensure you have the best lighting for your self-tape audition by allowing enough light so you are clearly visible, but not so much that it creates a glare. Avoid the unflattering overhead light by sitting closer to a window where you can have the benefits of natural light, and place a lamp with warm lighting near you. This creates a softer tone and eliminates dark shadows.

      3) Backdrop and frame

          As tempting as it is to create an impressive background, it is important to remember a casting director is focussed on your performance. Your frame should be medium to close, focusing on your head and shoulders. The most effective self-tape background is as simple as a white sheet or bare wall.

        4) What to wear in a self-tape

            Naturally, people’s eyes are drawn to the lightest part of an image, and the same counts for a video. You want the casting director to focus on your face and more specifically your eyes, so try to avoid a bright white outfit. It’s important to find the perfect balance, but at all costs avoid patterns and branded logos.

          5) Performance

              Shooting a self-tape is no different to a live audition. Think of your camera as the casting director and panel - avoid making eye contact with the lens. Look forward to an object just beyond the camera or even place a sticker just to the left of the video recorder so your focus is slightly set to onside. The employer will include these details.

              Practising several takes of your self-tape is important, this ensures you can look back at the important elements of creating a successful self-tape listed above before sending it off. Carefully make notes on what went well and the improvements you could make regarding lighting, setting, sound, focus, whether you’re inside the frame, how impactful your outfit is and most importantly, whether your performance and back and forth with your reader is as smooth and as great as it could be.

            By now you should feel confident shooting and submitting your self-taped audition. If you have any questions or would like any advice from Mandy's expert team, please do get in touch with us on emails@mandy.com.