There’s a bit of controversy going on at the moment about self taping and how so many actors are not happy with the way things are in the new digital world of self taping.
I understand that actors would prefer to have immediate feedback and make eye to eye contact with the CD or Director, but are they justified in asking to be paid for a self tape? And is it better for the actor to be auditioned in the room?
We would love to hear your views.
So what is all the fuss about Self Taping?
Misconception #1: Firstly there seems to be a massive misconception with actors and Casting Directors not viewing their tapes.
I can promise you we look at your tapes!
What I can’t promise you is that we watch them all the way through!
And yes I know this is a major concern for many actors, but if you just spend a day in our shoes you too would understand why.
When we have a major film to cast and we have 35 lead/ main characters to colour our project within a month (as we have just been through in casting our last feature film), then time is already against us. By the time the brief goes out and we start receiving our submissions, if someone does not hit the mark with the character we are looking for within the first minute or two……….We scroll on to the next. It’s as simple as that.
Misconception #2: It’s better for the actor to do an in the room audition.
This is a tough one. Maybe it is and maybe it’s not. There are many actors who would prefer to be in the room to get the feedback and to read the room as to how they are doing. I totally get that.
But the flip side of that is you are handing over all the control to the CD and whoever happens to be in the room. If they are running late and you happen to be in the middle of the session, then you can bet that they will rush you out without giving you the opportunity to necessarily put your best foot forward. You leave feeling despondent because you know it was not the best you could do.
If you are not the character the CD is looking for, they can see it very quickly. They may have to continue running the scene with you until the end, but as soon as they can they will be calling “NEXT!” And then delete you from the tape.
Believe me this is what happens. You will not make it to the Directors cut.
Whereas with a self tape you can perfect it until you are happy. You have the control. You can add a bit of quirkiness to show your inherent qualities or …..?
This is your time and your space.
Misconception #3: It’s much more expensive than being in the room.
I truly cannot agree with that. By the time you take time off work, you either catch a bus or Uber to the audition, or you drive and pay for parking and you spend the time waiting and performing then back to home or work, you have spent considerable time and $$.
Of course if you are going in to a self tape studio, where you have to pay for the reader, the studio and the upload, then absolutely this is time consuming and expensive.
But this brings it round to doing your own self tapes at home. Which is where The Audition Technique comes in.
Yes you need to invest in a possible ring light (Maybe $25) or other form of lighting, a back drop (a grey or blue sheet is fine), a stand for your camera, a microphone (this could be your most expensive item) and your phone or camera (do you have our Self Tape Check List?).
You do not need to spend money on your set up. I’ll repeat that – You do not need to spend money on your set up.
We are not looking at your technical skills or how proficient you may be with camera skills. We are looking at your character, and your inherent qualities that you bring to the performance.
Yes lighting is important as is sound.
We must see you clearly (light needs to be in front of you not behind you) and we must hear you clearly (rather than your reader).
We are not looking for a film maker but an actor.
We truly don’t care if your dog barks in the background of your tape, or your baby cries, or your phone rings. We are not testing you on your short film making abilities.
We are testing you for the character we are hoping to colour our script world in.
Remember, “the audition process is only one step in the process and perfection is the enemy of the good when it comes to self tapes”.
Actors are frustrated with the self taping process because they believe they are not being given the same opportunities as in room auditions. Is it more so that so many actors do not understand how to use the Self Tape process to their advantage?
To point the camera, turn on the mic, say your lines and posting it off, is not considering your audience. Your self tape audience.
There is a better way. A way to be remembered and stop the CD in their tracks so that they watch your tape all the way through and either book you for the job or book a callback.
Yes it is true, we are the gatekeepers. We answer to both producers and directors, networks and studios. We have a chain of command.
Our job is to cast our project with the best possible actors/ characters we can find. No matter where they come from, no matter how they deliver their best performance.
Like it or not. Self Tapes are here to stay!
We would love to hear your views on this issue. Shoot us an email to [email protected] and I’ll be happy to answer.