How to record the perfect self-tape?

By Michael Karpienski | Last Updated: November 11, 2023

Recording the perfect self-tape audition requires attention to detail and careful planning.

Think of it like being a restless van Gogh and knowing how to setup the easel and the paints before rolling up your blue painter’s sleeves and making a mess of those Cypresses blowing in the fields. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you create a standout self-tape that gets you booked:

Script Preparation:

Read the audition script carefully, understand your character's motivations and emotions, and memorize your lines so you can deliver them confidently. Be sure to know the lines so well that you do not look like you have memorized them, if that makes sense?

Location and Lighting:

-Choose a quiet, well-lit room with minimal background distractions. If in NYC like us, be sure to say a little prayer before you hit the red record button and hope the 3 fire trucks do not come roaring down the road on perfect cue. -Use a neutral background or one that suits the scene's context. Make sure you have ironed out all wrinkles from the backdrop. No one wants your Academy Award Winning self-tape to be tainted by a funny face looking crease above your left ear!

Camera and Sound:

-Use a high-quality camera - a smartphone with a good camera can work if used correctly. (Do not use your grandma’s iPhone IV).
-Use a stable tripod or surface to keep the camera steady. Set the camera at eye level and frame from head to chest.
-Use an external microphone for clear audio if possible.

Wardrobe and Makeup:

-Dress appropriately for the character and scene, and avoid distracting patterns or logos. Yeah, probably not the best idea to put on your favorite pink and green tie-dye.

Rehearsal:

-Practice your lines, timing, and expressions until they feel natural.
-Record rehearsals to review and improve.
-Use a mirror a few times for starts, and then take it to the camera when you feel fully in character.

Recording:

-Record multiple takes if needed. Don't be afraid to do take after take after take after take, Stanley Kubrick style. -Find a reader (someone to read off-camera lines) who can deliver lines convincingly.
-Maintain eye contact with the camera while reacting to the reader’s lines. This is the magic of a self-tape. Looking into the camera gives casting directors a very intuitive sense towards the actor, which helps them match their perception of the imaginary character that gets conjured up in the mind through the act of studying a script.

Editing:

-Trim the video to include only the best takes and the slate (introduction) if required.
-Avoid over-editing. Casting directors want to see your raw performance.

Uploading & Sending:

-Approach self-taping with the same professionalism as in-person auditions
-Follow the submission guidelines, including the format and file size requirements.
Practice, attention to detail, and continuous improvement are key to creating the perfect self-tape.
With time, you will develop your unique style and increase your chances of landing roles. Practice makes almost perfect (for perfection is subjective in this industry, right?) Go at it and good luck!
-For more tips on how to create the perfect self-tape, check out the article below!

USING YOUR ACTOR-PERFORMER WEBSITE

How to add/edit photos in your website gallery or portfolio:

-Dress appropriately for the character and scene, and avoid distracting patterns or logos. Yeah, probably not the best idea to put on your favorite pink and green tie-dye.
Visit our Maintenance Center
The first step in editing is always to enable the visual builder.
—Open the settings by double clicking on the gallery or pressing the settings button
—Click the “+” button to add more images to your gallery from your media library.
—To delete an image from your gallery, hover over it and click the “trash” icon.
—Drag images in the gallery to rearrange them into the order you want to see them.
Please visit our guide for more information on how to edit your website.