In recent years self-tape auditions have become the leading way for actors to audition for roles. They are convenient for casting directors and allow actors to showcase their talent without having to travel to an audition in person. However, preparing for a self-tape audition can be challenging, as it requires actors to not only deliver a great performance but also master the technical aspects of recording and submitting a video audition. Actors who are unable to follow submission directions correctly risk being overlooked in the casting process. In this blog, I will provide you with some tips and advice on how to prepare the proper equipment for a self-tape audition, so you can give your best performance and increase your chances of landing the role.
One of the biggest misconceptions I’ve seen new actors struggle with is that they think they need to buy all sorts of fancy equipment to make the best audition possible. But the quality of your tech should never be your main focus. Unless you are still using an old Android from 2012, most modern smartphones are capable of giving you the video and audio quality you need. As you start getting more practice and experience you could consider upgrading your lighting equipment or tripod, but it should never hinder you from sending in what you have.
I’m going to give you a simple starter pack list first and then a larger list of things that aren’t necessary but can be helpful if you plan on auditioning often.
That is all you really need to film an audition capable of booking a role! Here are a few other items that could help you improve the quality but also sometimes get in the way or prevent you from being as efficient if you need to get the audition done quickly before work or school, or everything else you do in your busy busy life!
Better camera quality
-Larger video files are harder for casting directors to load and view.
-Takes more time to transfer to the computer and upload than it does to upload directly from your phone
-Looks more professional.
-Brighter backdrop colors sometimes help catch the eye of CDs while they scroll through submissions.
-Useful if you don't have easy access to a blank wall
-Takes up more space
- Takes more time to set up if you don’t have the room to always
-Helps illuminate you from behind so you don't look flat against the wall
-No cons, if you can afford a small floor light it’s a good addition but not necessary.
-Really helpful if your phone has bad audio quality, not needed otherwise
-Cheaper lavs or booms don’t work much better than standard smartphone mics so it would be a little bit more expensive to improve the quality that much.
-Takes more time to set up.
Basically, it comes down to whether or not you have and want to spend the time to set up more equipment when you could be using that time to practice your lines and improve your actual performance of the scene. Your money would be better spent on acting classes and headshots before you start buying any of this extra equipment.
Self-tapes don’t have to be such a headache to prepare for! With a minimal set of equipment, you can easily set it up and break it down in under two minutes, giving you more time to focus on the character breakdown and understanding the way you want to act out the scene. But that is a topic for a different blog post, (which I will be writing about next so don’t be a stranger and sign up to be notified any time I post a new blog).
Bonus Tip! No matter how good your acting is, casting directors won’t even consider you if you can’t follow directions. Always read and re-read any submission instructions about your self-tape and slate shot before sending in your clips.
Daniel Ward is an actor, writer, and contestant of Broadway Bound Live Season 2 and can be contacted on Twitter @wordsofward34 or Instagram @wardledorp