Are here to stay! You must master this. Submit your tapes as far before the deadline as you can or you may be wasting your time and missing an audition!
Here is a list of equipment to consider, starting with most important and affordable, and moving up to Home Studio!
You can self tape using your phone for $5 with an app that was developed by an actor and an acting coach. Record. Edit. Encode. Send. I use it all the time, and I can show you how, either in person or via FaceTime. It’s super easy with My Selftape App
Also Casting Workbook’s app is great and free if uploading directly to CW (ask your agent first) Both these apps allow you to edit and compress for sending.
YOUR SELF TAPE MUST BE COMPRESSED!!! Do NOT send raw files. This is why I love the app, but if you record and edit on your computer remember to compress the file before you send. No uploading to youtube, ever.
Lenses for closeups. Most phones are now fully capable of zooming in close. If your phone doesn’t have zoom option get this
You will need a tripod eventually, so do yourself a favour and get one now. No propping the phone up or using a selfie stick. Parents, when taping your kids, your hands must be free to hold a script and read! Make sure you get the attachment to hold your phone. You can get one for $30 on Amazon
You will also need a microphone, Amazon has a range for around $20
For backgrounds, a blank, clutter-free wall or simple curtain with no pattern works well. I got my pastel blue ones from Ikea. Optional: You can get this to hang it on at Amazon for $150 and I saw it on eBay for $30!
Lighting: Diffused daylight is best, and you can improvise with lamps, just avoid overhead lighting and lots of shadows. I use a ring light (may come with tripod) and I also love a good soft box. This is a category you can go crazy in, so get what you can afford and improvise. You can always upgrade later.
SELF TAPE INSTRUCTIONS:
If you took my workshop, these points are reminders. If you haven’t taken my workshop yet, take it. It can be repeated if you need it!
Acting, coaching and self tape auditions are skills that have taken me years to learn, you are not going to be expert at it on day 1. If an audition is important, get a coach. If you are out of town you can FaceTime or Skype a session. I am always happy to work with you and last minute is no problem, I’m used to it! Each session is like a private acting class that can be applied to all auditions.
Reading: You need a reader. The reader does not need to “act”, just read quietly so as not to be louder than the actor auditioning. Recordings don’t work. If you need to you can get someone on FaceTime or even just on the phone, email them the script and put the phone close enough to hear!
Framing: For scenes, the frame should be top of the head to just below shoulders. No head room please! They want to see the actor’s face, not the background.
Slates: the apps include electronic slates, and you usually need a full body, head-to-toe slate as well. If you don’t have room you can pan the camera up and down. The actor should look relaxed, which means breathing and happy thoughts. Name and height, and sometimes other information is requested. Check your agent’s email instructions.
Props: Keep to a minimum! Simple things like phones are ok, but no eating or drinking or anything that distracts. That goes for action as well. Keep it simple, they don’t need to see the whole story, just your close-up!
Eyelines: close to camera but not into the camera unless it’s specifically necessary for the character, i.e. newscaster or vlogger. The most important person is the reader, anyone else can be on the other side of camera.
Remember to breathe and find the reason you care about the character and the story! It’s always there if you look for it.