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iPOP Tips: How to Make Your Self Tape Standout

With Zoom becoming the new audition room, how you present your self-tape matters now more than ever. Creating a great self-tape is not just about what you wear or lighting. Casting directors are in search of certain factors when it comes to casting the role. Read below for how to make your self-tape standout and nail your next on-camera audition!

1. Performance Anytime you are self-submitting you have to bear in mind that CD’s have high expectations. They are under the assumption that even though you may have just received the audition materials, that you ARE prepared. This means bringing your A-game is essential. So make sure you memorize the copy as well as make strong choices for your character. Take the time to do the work and please make sure the recorded take you submit is your best one! If you find it hard to choose which take is best, then ask your agent or colleagues to help you decide. Believe it or not, some talent will submit their first and only take. Remember, your self-tape will be what CD’s are basing their decision on, so make sure it reflects what you can do!

2. Personality Since casting is asking for your self-submission in lieu of an in-person audition, they miss out on getting the chance to meet you. If possible, they’d like to get to know you a little through your self-tape. One way to do this is to use your slate as a chance to show some of your personality as well as your professionalism. The best candidate for the job is usually someone who can juggle last-minute script changes and possible rearrangements with location and schedule. They’re looking for a person with a can-do attitude who can handle anything that’s thrown at them. Sure, they can’t really get to know you from a quick clip, but there are things you can do to suggest that you’re the right person for the job! How you present yourself in the self-tape is key. Consider a friendly smile for your slate, carefully choose your wardrobe, and don’t forget to enunciate so they can understand you.

3. Technical Quality As we said, it is not all about perfect lighting, but technical quality does matter. If the CD cannot hear you or your video quality is low, it MATTERS. Your best bet is to solve all of these technical issues ahead of time. Find a space in your home that you can designate as your self-tape spot. Set up a camera, lights, background, etc. and have it ready to go. It is also important to make sure your background is not distracting since you are the focal point. Lastly, if you’re using the microphone on your camcorder, ensure that it is close enough for you to be heard and audible. Medium to medium-closeup shots are usually fine for self-tapes and ensure better audio quality.

4. Following Instructions Make sure you read and follow the format and size specs for the clip. Also adhere to any slate, wardrobe, and direction that is given in the breakdown. Casting directors share these helpful instructions, which are usually passed along from the client because they’re expecting to see them in the recordings. This is an easy step that could instantly kick you out of the running if you don’t follow them so make sure you read the details before submitting!

5. Fitting the Role Make sure you’re appropriate for the role before going through the trouble of self-submitting. If you’ve specifically been asked to self-tape then by all means send something over, but if it’s a general call, save yourself the time and effort if you don’t fit the breakdown. Time is limited and valuable for everyone, so focus your efforts on submitting for roles best suited for you!


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