Self-Taping is Here to Stay

Don’t sweat it; putting an audition on tape is a blast! Photo Courtesy: Thinkstock.

by Guy Camilleri

You look down at your phone and see that your agent or manager is calling. You answer the call and find out you have an audition for a major role in a pilot, running television show, or a film. That’s awesome! Also, you notice they requested a self-taped audition and want it within the next 24 hours. Don’t sweat it; putting an audition on tape is a blast! The reason being is you get to do several takes and choose the best take(s) to submit.

Follow these suggestions to submit an undeniable performance on a professional looking tape that will put you at the front of the line.

Learn the lines. In the past, it was standard practice to hold the sides (script). And, in some cases, it still is. But when self-taping, it’s critical to provide the casting director with your absolute best work, not merely a ‘reading’ on tape. Know the material inside and out (given the time constraint), and allow them to see your talent and your unique point of view of the sides. First impressions are everything, seriously.

Choose the right partner to act opposite you. One of the creeds at my studio in Venice is: “Actors don’t read, they relate.” What you need is an actor (off-camera) who is willing to connect and fully respond moment-to-moment. And, you need to make sure you are listening and relating back. This give-and-take of the material creates a level of intimacy in an authentic moment that makes it hard for the casting director or director to look away.

Invest in the proper equipment.  It’s called SHOW BUSINESS for a reason. So, make sure you have a smartphone, camera, a tripod (to stabilize the camera), basic lighting package and a microphone. Be sure the camera is set to horizontal vs. vertical and frame the audition to a medium close up. The last thing you want is to have an undeniable performance get lost due to inferior lighting, improper framing, and marginal sound quality. Not to mention, how that might reflect on your representation. Create a professional looking submission and keep your agent or manager proud they submitted you.

Know your frame line on the camera. Knowing your frame line and sizing the performance for this type of media is incredibly liberating. Once you know that, you can adjust accordingly, follow through on your intentions and get down to play, for real!

Wear clothing that suggests the role. And, you are sending a specific message that you are serious about the audition. It also allows you to experience the first stage of what you hope will become the opportunity to own this character!


Break a leg.

Venice-based acting coach Guy Camilleri. Photo Courtesy: Guy Camilleri


Guy Camilleri is a Venice-based actor, acting coach, and poet. He teaches regular classeson Monday mornings and Wednesday evenings at the Electric Lodge, in Venice. His private coaching specializes in audition preparation and self-taping. To audit a class and/or book a coaching session, email [email protected] Follow Guy on Instagram @guycamilleri and Facebook.