You don’t need an expensive camera to put together a quality self tape. An iPhone video should be sufficient and can be easily formatted. Avoid using a laptop as the sound quality is likely to suffer. When using an iPhone to film, make sure the mic is close enough to get a good sound.
If you have a smartphone, we highly reccommend downloading an app called Slatable. It’s a very uselful and user friendly tool that allows you to record and edit your self tape in high quality. Download it here: http://slatable.com/
ALWAYS tape with a scene partner. They should not be in the shot with you but rather just to the side of the camera. Make sure the volume of their voice does not overshadow your own – it is your audition after all.
Make sure you are off book – it is almost impossible to give your best if you are preoccupied with getting the lines right.
The ideal resolution for a self tape mp4 file is 720p. Try to avoid presenting anything drastically lower or higher.
Always film in landscape. Your head and chest should be the focus of the frame. Your attention should be directed just off camera (i.e. looking at your scene partner). Make sure not to look directly at the camera. If you are going to wear make up, it should be very light.
Your spoken introduction on tape should simply give your full name, height, your agent’s details or whether you are representing yourself, the title of the scene and your availability for a live meeting and the shoot dates.
Unless given specific instructions, you can send two versions, especially if the scene is short, but it is best not to announce differences between the two takes. Make sure there is a valid reason for sending two though – not simply because you ‘don’t know which is better’. When sending your tape, make sure the presentation and takes are sent as two different files. It makes the editing process easier for us.
If you can, watermark your self tapes and NEVER upload them to Youtube. You’ll be kicking yourself if you become to next big thing and your auditions are leaked online. Production companies are also very hot on discretion these days so when sending tapes make sure to use a protected link or secure file sharing system. Do not just attach the video to an e-mail as they are normally very weighty and clog up our inboxed.
An obvious note but, when sent a self tape request, treat it as seriously as you would an audition. Many actors dismiss the opportunity and think that if they were being considered seriously, they would be invited to a face to face audition. Not the case. The industry functions on quick turnarounds and actors are booking jobs from self tapes. Make it a priority when given the opportunity and prepare it just as would a real casting.