The Self-Tape is going to be crucial

As we go forward with the new casting paradigm, self-taping is going to be more and more important.

Self-taping is when you record your audition on your own at home, and send it in.  But in order to do this effectively you need to get set up.  At minimum you’ll need a smart phone, a tripod, a soft light such as a ring light, a plain blue background, and a very good reader.   A reader is an actor friend playing the other side of the scene off camera.  

It all sounds pretty simple, but it’s a tricky bit of business to do well.  I’ll do a whole video on self-taping in my online course, so you can do your best work and look professional at the same time.  

For now, start thinking about a creating a flexible space for your self-tapes.  You only need a bit of wall in your kitchen or office.  The easiest set up is to buy a queen-size, blue bed sheet, which you hang on the wall behind you.  Be sure it is free of wrinkles cause they are distracting.  You’ll sit or stand in front of this while playing your scene.  Thus, casting can focus on you and not your messy bedroom.  

Your phone should be placed about 4 feet in front of you, at eye level.  This is important.  And your reader should be right beside the phone so your ‘eye-line’ is as close to the lens as possible without looking directly into it.  It’s important too, that your reader doesn’t over play the scene (taking the focus off you) and that they are not too loud in the mic (which does the same thing).  

Lighting is crucial.  Casting needs to see  your face, amazingly.  The best solution is probably a ring light, which creates a soft glow on your face making you look great.  Hard light, like direct sunlight, is the worst kind of light because it creates dark shadows where your eyes should be, and shows every line and spot on your forehead.  Think of it as the difference between a sunny day and cloudy day.  You want it to look like a cloudy day in your space.  

Those are the basics.  Oh, and do a great job on the scene too.  Check out the course for a full explanation with examples.