Self-Tape Tips

Compiled by : Thembi Zikalala

Self Tapes are not going anyway, Today’s NORMAL requires actors to hone their Self–Tape Skills, here’s 5 Self-Tape Tips to up your game”


#1 Read and understand the brief carefully.

Follow the specific directions of the brief. Every casting office has a different way they’d like to have self-tapes uploaded, so be sure to double check any notes.

  • Did they ask for specific framing, like a full-body shot or just from the shoulders up?
  • Did they ask for you to upload the videos with a specific format?

TIP: Read the directions thoroughly to avoid asking questions in the brief.

#2 Equipment you need to shoot a self-tape

If casting directors click on your tape, and the sound is too low or they can’t see you well, they might just as likely click to the tape of the next actor. To produce a self-tape of “quality”, your basic equipment should include the following:

  • A cell phone (or a DSLR)
  • A tripod
  • A ring light (or basic lighting)
  • A mic (small zoom recorder/podcast)

TIP : Video must be shot in Landscape,from the waist up not portrait.(Unless requested differently) Background noise must be kept to a minimum. Only the actor auditioning should be in shot.

#3 Get off-book before recording

Memorize your sides before taping, it is imperative that you give a performance and not a “read” on video. If you have multiple characters in your scene, place them on the opposite sides of the camera. Keep you’re an eye-lined level as close to the camera as possible, don’t find ideas on the floor (do not look down). That first impression is all you get!

TIP: Be prepared and immerse yourself in the material so you can give the best performance.


#4 Pick a good reader

When picking a partner, make sure it’s someone with good diction and ask them to stand on either side of the camera, do everything in your power not to focus on yourself, but instead on your scene partner. Have a good connection with your scene partner:

  • having a clear objective and focusing on your scene partner will massively lift the quality of your tapes.
  • is your partner affecting you?
  • is your partner changing you with their words?

TIP : Working with great actors is the biggest acting hack in the game.


#5 Have clear intentions!

The performance is all in the choices that you make, be intentional. If you’ve received the audition, it’s because they already like you and think you fit the role. What matters is what separates you from the other actors and what you do with the script. When shooting your self-tape show a little of your personality to the person who will be watching. Then, give it your all.

TIP: Remember, you are both the actor and the director, have a“short film” shooting approach will help you tell the story.


#BONUS Submit self-tape before the deadline

If you’re a last-minute kind of person, you might be missing out on a hidden opportunity. You know how the saying goes “The early bird catches the fattest worm”, some casting directors view self-tapes as they arrive. The earlier you submit the better your opportunities are!

TIP: Remember to give yourself time before the deadline to upload the video especially for file sharing links (e.g. WeTransfer links)


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