Some actors love self tape auditions and some dread them. For this video I thought I’d try an experiment: reach out to actors asking them how they felt about self tape auditions and see what advice they could offer and have them respond via self tape.
The result was surprising. Not all the actors I asked got back to me, and some took longer than others with their videos, which may say something about how they feel about self taping; but the four who did respond, Karissa Barney, Allen Lewis Rickman, Maria Aparo, and Mark Granville Merritt, gave some great tips on how to make a successful self tape.
Self taping has its advantages and disadvantages. The biggest advantage is that you can audition for a project without having to go to the audition. If you’re out of town, or the casting director is in another state, you can create your own video and send it off. This is also the biggest disadvantage. While it’s nice not to have to travel, you miss the opportunity to meet the casting director. You can’t establish a rapport, and she can’t get to know you personally.
Another advantage is being able to do as many takes as you want to until you get one you like. Most people auditioning in person won’t ask for another shot if they feel they didn’t do well on the first reading. If you’re taping yourself, you can look at yourself on video and make adjustments to give a better performance. For example, John C. Reilly shot and submitted several takes of himself performing the song “Mr. Cellophane” to earn the role of Amos in Chicago, for which he was nominated for an Oscar.
Whether you love it or hate it, one thing is for sure. Self tape auditions are here to stay. In a world that’s becoming smaller and smaller through technology, casting directors and productions are relying on self taped auditions more and more. For them, it’s terribly convenient; saving both time and money. They don’t have to book a rehearsal space to conduct auditions. It’s much easier and faster to watch someone’s audition video than it is to take the time to meet and greet each actor. Using this tool allows casting directors to narrow down their selection quickly.
Being able to give a great self tape audition will continue to be an incredibly useful skill now and in the foreseeable future. It’s important to embrace this method of auditioning and learn how to do it well.
The thing to remember about a self tape audition is that it is the actor’s entrée to the casting director. It’s a means to get into the room with him so he can get to know you. It is not an end unto itself. A good self tape can get you the in person audition, and hopefully eventually get you the part.