In this day in age, self-tapes are becoming increasingly popular among casting directors and people looking for fresh new faces for their latest project. Here's how to ensure you've picked out the best monologue/script, and film your best audition.
Photo by João Marinho from Unsplash Photos
Pick out the best script or monologue, something that suits the character you're auditioning for, or find a character you think best suits your acting style and personality. Personally, I like to film my tapes using a monologue rather than a script, because I find it takes more time and preparation to have someone else read lines back to me. Although, if you choose to read a script that has more than 1 character, but you don't have anyone to read for them, pre-record yourself saying those lines on another device. Make sure to give yourself enough time before and after a line, and put lots of energy into it.
- A bare wall/background or a background that isn't too distracting. Try to have a neutral color like cream, gray, or blue, or a green screen.
- Use natural light, a ring light, or special lights in your space to highlight your face and body. It's important that we can see you fully.
- Limit the amount of noises, from your clothing/jewelry, to the space around you. Noise can also distract you from delivering a great performance.
- Dress accordingly. I like to wear a simple form fitting shirt (no graphics or designs) with one color, hair away from my face, minimal to no makeup, a small amount of jewelry, and simple pants. However, if you are told that you should dress up a certain way, follow those directions.
- Make sure that; the device you're recording on is charged, the quality of the video is clear, and there are no weird things showing up on the screen (too many shadows, an object, etc.). I film all of my self-tapes on a phone, sitting on a small stool by my bedroom wall.
- Frame your body from about the waist up, and leave a little bit of room at the top of your head. You can sit or stand depending on your script. Remember, when you're filming, if you are required to move closer to the camera, or future away, leave yourself enough space, but don't overdo it so you're still in frame.
- Find a direction to look in, directly into camera, slightly away, or overhead.
- Now your ready to film, BUT, a word of advice, if you're not ready to film, don't film. There's no point putting all that time and energy into something when you aren't in the right headspace, or physical space to do so. Take some time to prepare so you can focus on showcasing your talents at the best level.
After many takes (film as much as needed), you have finally filmed your best self-tape. Now, all you need to do is edit certain parts of the film such as cutting, or adding additional clips. Analyze your tape from start to finish so you can send it off! Make sure to have fun with your self-tapes!
I won 5th place in the Hanford Monologue Slam 2021 using this self-tape.
Honorary Reporter, Ziga Poromon, #WeAreHere, Asia Lab