Is Self Taping a fad or here to stay?

Six Reasons why your next acting workshop should be ONLINE

If you could do an audition anyway you liked, in any place, at any time, where would you choose?

Let’s face it, a visual artist chooses where to paint and a composer chooses where to compose. They choose creative environments.

But an actor must ‘create’ in the Casting Directors studio.

Until now. (Could you choose to do a selfie and not a CD test?)

But you baulk at self tests because:

You don’t know what they want and you think they’ll tell you.
You are scared of the technology
You don’t know what take to choose
You think if you meet the casting director, it is much better.

What if I could take away all those fears? What if I could empower you to take control of your audition. If I could do that, now answer the question:

Where is the best place to Audition?

And of course the answer is: in your own home. Where you have control of the time the place the everything!

And that is why you MUST start your journey of being excited about self taping

Yes, you heard me correctly …. Excited! That is what the members of the January course have discovered.

If you do an ONLINE workshop:

  1. You deliver a self test every week. You tape at home, when you want, where you want.
  2. On our member only password protected page, you upload your self tape. You see other members who have done the same. You see various actors auditioning for the same part. With the same self tape format.
  3. Effectively, you sit in my seat, the casting director’s seat. Seeing self tapes of actors doing the same dialogue. How is each one different?
  4. By doing this you develop objectivity. You quickly understand that the difference between a good self tape and a VERY good self tape is not the ability of the actor. It is their imagination. Their individuality. what works. And what does not. You see how little moments communicate a character far more effectively than the perfected delivery of lines of dialogue.
  5. You receive personal feedback from me on every one of your tests. Note: this is private, delivered to your inbox. It is not shared with anyone else. So I can be honest and objective about your work. I will make observations about your strengths and your weaknesses.
  6. As we have members from all over the world, you will develop the understanding that self taping is a universal language, spoken only by actors. And it is the most powerful communications tool an actor has ever been granted.

 

Self taping is here to stay.

Self taping will become the only way an actor can ‘introduce’ themselves to a casting director.

Self taping is the surest way to convince your agent, you have the chops to do the best roles, on the biggest productions.

Self taping is a process that YOU control, and not the other way around.

Self Taping School January 2018 starts Monday 15th January. Numbers are strictly limited to ensure everyone gets individual attention. We are more than 50% booked out.

Act now and book your place. Tomorrow we may be booked out.

Where is the best place to audition?

And you will probably say on the right location, with the director, and a sympathetic crew, and your choice of actor opposite you, and the time to do multiple takes.

If that is the best way to do an audition, then it certainly is not going to happen in a casting director’s studio.

By the way, it may seem I am being hard on Casting directors. Not true. I have been a full time casting director for 35 years. I am president of the Casting Guild of Australia.

I love casting directors.

What I do not love is the process of auditions. A process of screen testing where we must subject actors to conformity, every time we are casting a film

If you have the confidence and knowledge to audition with a self tape, then you have empowered your self in the following ways:

You can do as many takes as you like, whereas in the CDs room you can do one. One only.
The qualities of the character are the ones THEY choose.
You do not have to sit in the waiting room of other actors, dressed like you.
You create an audition space that HELPS you create the character, rather than a Casting Director audition room that is a creatively suffocating environment
You choose the reader. The perfect person to help you deliver YOUR creative vision of the character (not the casting directors)

So, if you agree that there are real, tangible benefits from delivering a self tape, if you agree that you have the power to deliver YOUR version of the character more effectively, then now you are saying do I achieve that?

By doing your next acting workshop online. (What is an online workshop?)

Does your agent always send your Self Tape on to the Casting Director?

Many casting directors provide the full details of the upload when requesting self tapes. The details will include file size, the website to upload to, the conventions that they want you to follow for naming the file.

They will also instruct you on what to have, do and say on your tape.

But when your agent sends you the information, they give you everything but then they say ‘Send your file to us’

Why? Because they are checking if it is good enough. They do not want bad self tapes being sent to the casting director. It makes them look bad.

So they will receive them, review them and if not good enough they will say to the casting director, ‘Oh that actor is not available, or unable to do a selfie, or ….. any number of excuses’

So no, they do not always send it on.

Now think of the reverse situation. Which is:

You do cracking, top-shelf, impressive self tapes. If you do that, not only does the agent not check them first, but now the agent is actively trying to get you more self tap opportunities.

They hope they can get you a self tape every day – because you make them look good.

These days, a self tape is not simply an audition for a role. It is the opportunity to deliver a brand. Sure your brand (is he a good actor?) and more importantly, the brand of your agent.

If you are not getting self tape opportunities, is it because your agent does not want their name, on your self test.

Because no matter how good an actor you are, if your self tape is poor, is unwatchable, then we don’t care how good an actor you are. There are too many other actors delivering good self tapes to spend time agonizing over yours.

Self taping. It is here to stay. And you must see it as an opportunity, rather than an obstacle course.

Because when you do, so does your agent. And they will shout your name from the roof tops.

How Do You Connect To The Frame In Your Auditions?

I think all drama training is always about how the character is connected to the text. Because the text gives you all the clues.

But the thing about auditioning and screen tests is that it’s about the delivery. The delivery is the communication to the decision makers.

Therefore at the Self Taping School, here at The Audition Technique, what we talk about is how you connect the character, not to the text, but to the frame.

The thing is in terms of the delivery of the character, a glance actually speaks volumes. A look away speaks volumes.

Have a look at Rachel McAdams test for The Notebook where she turns her back on the reader.

That is connecting the character to the frame, and that’s what we explore at the Self Taping School.

3 Points To Consider When Getting New Headshots

Headshots are the bane of every actor. And if your headshot journey is similar to mine all those years ago, you are seldom excited by the results.

I would like to change your thinking.

The first thing you need to consider is what is the purpose of a headshot? Many actors believe it is all about having a great photo of themselves. Something they are proud of, an image that shows they truly can be a gorgeous leading man or leading lady.

And yes, many photographers produce these images. And the person who responds to them the most …. Is your grandmother.

One: An actor headshot is to make a casting director stop and think about you.

For some actors, this means making the casting person change their pre-conceived idea of you. For others, the goal is to make them look at you and REMEMBER you.

Tough call that one. I mean to say, as a casting director, why would one more actor’s headshot make you memorable? Because that is who you are trying to impress. Not family. The headshot is a professional tool. To inspire the casting director to get you in.

How many actor photos do I see in a day? More than you can imagine.

How many photos make me stop and think? Think about that actor?

None. Well, not many

Two: You must think of a headshot as a professional message.

In business speak, a professional message means a piece of marketing. That is trying to attract a customer’s attention.

If your customer is a casting director, what will they be interested in? What will they stop and consider? The answer is not ‘yet another actor headshot’.

They will stop and look at an image that changes their thinking about you. More importantly, you deliver a character or character type that they cast.

This is a principle that most actors fail to understand. That you must deliver an image that makes casting people look twice.

This is the golden opportunity presented by the digital age – for both still images and videos. And is one of the principal reasons we started Self Taping School.

Think about your head shot:

Is it what you want to say?
Or is what a casting director wants to hear?

For the message to succeed, it must be about them. Not about you.

Three: One shot? Or a range of shots?

Do any of these contact sheets look like yours? In other words, after a full session in front of the camera, do you look the same in all your shots?

I see actor’s photos on online acting casting sites and they have six or more photos uploaded …… but they all look the SAME!

And as you can see from these contact sheets, the problem is not the choice of image. The problem is that you have not captured a range of characters in the session.

Now, notice my specific choice of words here. I did not say you caught different looks. I said you did not capture different characters.

Think of it like this. Is the casting director of ‘Neighbours’ attracted by the same actor head shots as the casting director of ‘True Detective’?

No.

To succeed as an actor you must think like a casting director. Think about what THEY want, and not what you want.

And if you are confused by how to do that, then you are thinking old school. You are thinking a good head shot and a resume and a new agent will change all your opportunities.

No. OK, well maybe, but mostly the answer is no.

There are a few main problems with getting a great head shot:

  • The online casting databases. They require a portrait orientation which immediately limits your options. But if you think the online casting sites are you only outlet for your photo, then again, your thinking is stuck in the dark ages. At a time when casting directors received images in the post.
  • Your agent. Your agent wants you to look like everyone else in your agency. This is a fundamental understanding that many actors lack. You think your agent is there to work for you. Nope. Your agent is there to shape their brand. But there are ways around that. Listen to our Podcast on Agents.
  • Your photographer. Again, they are not working for you. They are working for themselves. You know when your photographer says ‘oh, casting directors don’t like that’. Most times they have no idea. Why? Because they are not casting directors.

Put simply, you must make the decision to deliver your individual qualities.

To achieve that, you may have to firstly choose what your individual qualities are.

And how to deliver them. And who to deliver them to.

Think of your last three or four years as an actor. Are you happy if the next three or four years are exactly the same?

Stop doing the same thing again and again.

Change the way you look at acting, and you change the way casting directors look at you.

Find Your Own Rhythm In Your Auditions

You know when you see Kristen Wiig acting in ‘Bridesmaids’ there’s all these little ‘ums, ahhs, ohhs’. There’s all that kind of territory.

Do you think if you read the script of that film do you think all those moments would be on the page? No.

There are two different versions of every character. The writer’s version, and the actor’s version. I believe the great movie stars, the great screen actors, deliver their version of the character.

Not the version that’s on the page, but their version, the version unique to them. They don’t improvise, they don’t ad-lib they keep delivering the same dialogue but they find a rhythm that is theirs.

That’s what you’ve got to find. Your rhythm.