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.

The One Thing To Have In Every Audition

What is your goal in an audition?

To get the lines right? To be the best actor? To deliver the drama and conflict of a truly dramatic performance? Guess what? So is every actor.

That is what I expect you to aim for.

Sit in my seat for a moment. The Casting Director’s seat. I am seeing countless auditions – and these days, a growing amount of self tapes – and what pops? What do I remember? The actors who deliver the unexpected.

Picture this: I am sitting in front of my computer, clicking on links to view an actor’s audition and generally, I am bored. Why? In the vast majority of cases, I know your work. I know what you can do.

I know the scene. I know the character. I have expectations.

If you deliver what I expect, where is the impact?

The big question you have to answer is:

What memory have you left with me?

I see the same thing again and again: actors striving for the wrong thing.

Excellence. Accuracy. Perfection.

Perfection? Is that what makes any creative person stand out?

What is your goal then? Covfefe.

What is covfefe? No one knows. But when Donald Trump created it, we were fascinated, intrigued, baffled, and everyone talked about it.

It was memorable.

Isn’t that what you want for your audition? To be remembered and talked about? Of course it is.

So what is covfefe? Even the President is unsure. “Who can figure the true meaning of covfefe?” he tweeted the day after the word stormed social media.

How does this translate to your audition?

You must seek to deliver something that no one expects. Currently you want every action, every reaction, every motivation justified.

Which is a worthy goal, but not at all memorable amongst a dozen auditions. Because every actor is doing that.

Sean Spicer said of covfefe:

“ the President and a small group of people knew exactly what he meant (when he said covfefe)”

And so it is with auditions. The people who count (the audition audience) know what you are doing. We know your intentions. (Even if very few others do!)

Give your next audition ‘covfefe’. Even if it you are not 100% sure of what it is ☺

How Memorable Are You?

I had an actress in for a go-see recently, gorgeous, blonde, 20s, caucasian. She was having issues because the last role she played was ‘Party Girl 3’ and prior to that ‘Danny’s Girlfriend’. She was playing all these nondescript roles.

The point I’m trying to make is – how memorable are you? Memorable you say? Well I’m a really good actor!

Yeah so are a lot of people. A lot of people are really good actors. What is your point of individuality?

That’s what you have to deliver in your self tests. Your self tests when they are a specific test for a specific role. Or just your self tests when you’re trying to attract the attention of a casting director or an agent.

What is your individuality? What makes you memorable? That is what you have to deliver.

Not your ability, your individuality. Be memorable.

Do You Have The Courage To Be Imperfect?

I’ve just been searching this quote that I heard on a TED talk or something like that. Now it’s credited to so many people. I’m not going to take claim for it, but I am going to say:

‘Have the courage to be imperfect’

Does Jim Carrey strive for perfection in his performances? Kristen Wiig? Rebel Wilson? These are the kinds of hugely successful screen actors.

Amy Schumer’s a great example. She doesn’t strive for perfection, she strives for individuality.

This is the problem with so many actors. When your only link to the audition is the pages. You think everything you need is on those pages. Now your goal is to be perfect with those pages.

It’s not about the pages. It’s about the character you create.

It’s not about perfection. It’s about finding your imperfections.

Have the courage to be imperfect.

What Is The Best Way To Sell Yourself?

When I think of the masses of marketing material I get, be it in the letterbox, via email or face to face, the person that sits there and tells me all about the product and the qualities of the product, makes me switch off.

I switch off unless I really really want that exact product they’re describing

Who does connect to me in terms of sales? Communications, ‘touches’ as I call them, that deliver a good story well told.

A good story well told can be two lines. But it’s left a memory, because it’s a good story well told. That’s the thinking I want you to apply.

I had an actor in who is the weapons expert with the Australian Reserve Army, so he can take apart every weapon. He’s left an indelible memory, he’s told me a good story. That’s more important than telling me all about the training you’ve done, the credits you’ve got, the roles you’ve played.

I know you’ve done all that. You’re an actor.

A good story well told.

Why You Shouldn’t Worry About Making Mistakes In An Audition

In sport, in the professional arena, all the participants play to win. They’re not going out there to just turn up and play the game. Imagine if you supported a team like that. They’re in a professional sphere and you’re in a professional sphere as an actor.

So you go to auditions. Do you play to win? Do you play to find the moments and things that are better than everybody else? Or do you just play not to lose?

What I mean by that is do you go to an audition fearing mistakes so therefore what you do is you say ‘just don’t make any mistakes Greg just keep it all safe and nice.’

In my studio I see a lot of actors auditioning and 99.9% of actors play so they don’t lose rather than play to win. You’ve got to play to win. You’ve got to take those risks. You’ve got to out and do something that’s instinctive to you.

Don’t aim to not make mistakes. Aim to make mistakes! I reckon that’s the go. Talk to you soon.

When Are You In Front Of A Camera?

When are you in front of a camera?

Here I am in front of a camera and I can explore and I can experiment and hey I’m pretty good at doing things in one take but sometimes I need a few takes.

Let’s think about you and your journey. When are you in front of a camera? I bet the vast majority of times you’re in front of camera is either an audition, where you really want the part, or a workshop. What do you want to do there? You want to impress the other actors.

The point being you are never in front of a camera just to explore, just to experiment. Let’s face it a musician will just sit there and scat, a singer, a painter. A sculptor will just try something and go ‘it’s not quite working’ and leave it one side.

When do you do that? When do you experiment with no goal? Other than to just explore. The answer is you don’t. You’re only ever in front of a camera to achieve.

Actors Be Proactive Not Reactive!

Your journey as an actor, and this is just my assessment, your journey is you get a great photo, you get a great resume, you are so excited by your agent and now you wait.

Well no perhaps you don’t wait, perhaps what you do is you do workshops and things like that to be a better actor.

I believe if you do all those things as an actor you are being reactive. You are waiting for someone else to trigger an opportunity for you. Somebody else to provide the impetus to change the destiny of your career. Its not driven by your ability it’s driven by somebody else’s decision.

But if you were proactive, what you would be doing is you’d be seeking to place yourself in front of those people who are making decisions. You’d be seeking to put the right content, the right digital communication in front of them which makes them think about you and remember you.

That is the journey of Self Taping School. To empower actors to be proactive about their career rather than reactive. Because at the moment, who dictates the entire process of your opportunities? Your agent.

I want to put that power back in your hands.

What Do Doctors & Casting Directors Have In Common?

There was a report recently, a medical report in New South Wales (the state I live in here in Australia), and it said that doctors have admitted that they deliver best practice 50% of the time. Why? There’s too much information.

When you go in to an audition how much do you write on your sides? You sit in the waiting room and you see that other guy and he’s got all these notes on his sides! What is he thinking about?

If you have too much information on your sides you’re confused. I’m telling you to move forward, write nothing on your sides. Explore, experiment, don’t lock yourself in.

I tell you what’s written on your sides, the address of the audition, and the time of the audition. That’s all. Scary, imaginative, individual, spontaneous. You’ll succeed I promise you.