A call for an audition is always exciting and sometimes nerve-wracking. More and more casting directors are requesting taped auditions, and that usually means self-taping. You know the major considerations, good equipment, good lighting, etc., but here are five tips to help you prepare a great self-made audition tape you may not have previously thought of.
Pick A Good Reader
The work of the person they are responding to in character affects the performance of any actor. You train to work around the bad, but there is no question poor performance makes your job more difficult. This is your self-taping audition, so make it as comfortable as possible. That starts with your reader. Select one who is a talented actor preferably, but also one not inclined to outshine you.
Don't Focus Directly Into The Camera
Unless instructed to do otherwise by the casting director, it is best to not look directly into the camera but to look to the left or right slightly, at approximately a 45-degree angle. When possible, it helps to place the reader in this position off-camera so that you can look at and respond to her naturally. You are, after all having a conversation with the reader (actor,) not merely reciting lines.
Memorize Your Script
Yes, it is not uncommon to audition while reading from a held script, but again, this is your self-taping audition, so why not optimize the conditions? You will always give your best performance when you memorize your lines, when you thoroughly know and understand the scene, and certainly when you don't have to look down at a script. Get off-book.
Dress Appropriately And Powder
Your clothing should not distract, so your wardrobe should be plain without busy patterns. Avoid white as it can reflect poorly under light, and black can isolate your head more than desired. Wearing clothing that at least suggests your character is always a good idea, and lightly pat some makeup to remove shine from lights.
So you've finished taping, all went well, and you feel good about your performance. Great. Now edit. One advantage of self-taping is the ability to present yourself as pristine as possible, so spend the time making your tape perfect. Select your very best takes, cut out all unnecessary footage, label the clips appropriately and reduce the size of the file when possible to maximize quicker viewing. Casting Directors, more than anything, want to hire professionals who make their jobs easier.
Self-taping auditions are here to stay, and the better you can become at it, the more callbacks you will receive. As with everything, the minor details of self-taping matter make a tremendous difference, so take the time to master the subtleties of the process and good luck.