Hello there! I am Bianca, the Brand Manager at Extras Ireland and The Production People. During the last couple of months, we have received many requests from our clients for self-tape auditions from our Extras and Actors.
Therefore, we would like to give you all our best tips and tricks to create a great self-tape audition, even if you are at home. So, let’s begin!
Check what resources you have available
The first step you need to consider before starting your recordings is a prior evaluation of the place(s) where you would like to record yourself. This way you will identify if you need to make some changes in your layout, or get any additional gear, such as:
-Tripod: If you don’t have one, a stack of books would be helpful
-Camera: Either a professional camera, or your phone would work great
-Lighting: If you do not have any lighting gear, sit close and in front of a window or any other light source
-Audio: Choose a quiet room and shut down all devices that make any sounds. Do not forget about pets or children that could cause an interruption. After this, do some audio testing to identify if the microphone in your camera or phone is as good as you need it to be.
-Background: It is best to shoot your video with a background that is plain or at least is not cluttered. It would be ideal if you can self-tape yourself in-front of a plain wall.
Practice makes perfect
Read the character’s description and the scene(s) given to you with plenty of time. If you invest time in understanding the behaviour of your character and place yourself in the scene(s) context, you will have a better performance.
We strongly encourage you to memorise your lines, so you are not holding the scene papers in your hand when filming your audition. In addition, by memorising and nailing your lines, there will be a lot less useless footage for you to delete later.
Pro tip: If you have practice using a teleprompter you can definitely make use of it during your audition. Just make sure you do not get too distracted by trying to read the text correctly, so that does not affect your acting performance. Practice is important.
Do some trials
To get a better performance after doing some trials. Tape as many times and you need to re-watch your tapes to see what kind of movements look best, and if you are talking highly enough.
If you need to change anything around you, like putting a frame away, or getting closer to your source of lighting, etc. This is the moment to do so.
Pro tip: If possible, make sure that the clothing you are wearing might be similar to the clothing your character could be wearing during the film. For example, if you are auditioning for a soldier in WWII, try to wear something with an army pattern, or a green jumper/shirt. In every case avoid wearing jewelry that moves and makes noise.
Now… the big time has begun!
Once you have practiced and done some trials, it is time to film your self-tape. The first step for any kind of audition is to introduce yourself. You will typically get instructions about what information to give for your slate.
Pro tip: Introducing yourself in an audition or self-tape is called “slating” and the introduction is called a “slate”. If you’re asked to do a “tail slate” that means they want your slate at the end instead of the beginning.
You can find the slate instructions in the email you received with all the audition details you must be aware of. Read them carefully so you will give all the information the casters/producers need to know from you.
In the case none specific instructions have been provided, you can state your name, your agency, nationality, and age. After that, you will need to mention which is the part you are auditioning for, and something specific to the role (i.e. if you speak Spanish) if needed. You can say something like this:
“Hi, my name is Bianca Vertiz and I’m represented by Extras Ireland. I am 28 years old and I come from Mexico City so I can speak Spanish fluently. I am auditioning for the role of Mariana Vergara”
Your slate is the first impression the casters/producers will have from you. So you should not slate in character. Just be yourself.
Sometimes, your slate instructions might mention Full Body or profiles.
Profiles means they need you to turn to the left and to the right so they can see what you look like from the sides. Whereas Full Body means they want to see your whole body, jest as shown below:
Pro tip: There are multiple ways you can go about getting your full body into the shot. Here are some techniques:
-Place your camera further away from you for the body shots.
-If somebody can help you, zoom in and out with your camera.-If somebody can help you, do some panning with the camera down and back up so you can still get all of you on camera, just not all at once. Note: some advise against this method because it’s less convenient for the viewer than seeing your whole body all at once. This should be your last resource.
After these shots, you can start filming your scene(s), just as you have practiced. If you need more tips about how to film your scenes, check our 5 tips for a great self-tape post.
Sending your tape
If possible, once you are happy with your tape, you can edit it by cutting off the extra footage that might not be necessary. Sometimes you can do this directly on your phone, or by using a very basic video editing software. There is no need to be tech savvy.
After that, make sure you saved your tape properly, and watch it completely before sending it to us/the casting agent to verify the complete scene(s) were taped.
You can either use services such as WeTransfer, share it via Drive or Dropbox, etc. In the case the producers asked you to send your tape on a specific platform, make sure to do so. If you send it using a different platform, your tape will not be viewed so all your effort would be wasted.
I really hope these tips help you to create a perfect self-tape audition at home. Remember that we have other articles on the blog here for you to learn more about this industry – make sure you read them to give yourself the best possible opportunity for success.
If you have any other questions, please get in touch with us. We will be happy to assist you and get to know you!
If you’re in need of Extras, Actors or Models for your next Creative or Commercial Project, get in touch. We’d love to help. Simply email [email protected] or call us on (01) 634 3112 to see how we can collaborate with you.