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Thanks for visiting our website and wanting to know more about the ever growing casting phenomenon of self taping.


Over the following pages, you'll learn the basics of what it is, the advantages and disadvantages of doing it, what's involved and tips and tricks to get the best possible results.


So read on, absorb and feel more prepared and confident whenever you're asked to put yourself on tape...

What is self taping?


Self taping is an increasingly used method of casting in the film and television industry, and now even in theatre. Instead of going along to a conventional audition, casting or screen test, actors are asked to film their own auditions, edit the scenes together and upload or email the finished product to the casting director or production company concerned, sometimes to extremely tight deadlines. While some people embrace the challenge, others find the process daunting and confusing, even terrifying, not knowing where to start, whether they've got it right or if what they have filmed is of good enough quality.



Why self taping?


There are a number of reasons that a casting director or production company might ask you to put yourself on tape. They may need to see performers who are from a different country before they go there to shoot, they may be unable to get the director or other members of the creative team into the same room at a given time, or they may simply be looking to save money, as hiring a studio or casting suite is expensive. On the plus side, they will be able to see many more actors than at a conventional audition, you can tape your audition whenever suits you, rather than having to make yourself available at a specific time and you could also save money on expensive last minute train or plane tickets.



How do I do it?


As with any audition or casting, you will be asked to read from a script, sing a song or improvise a scenario. They may well email you sides (script pages) of the scene/s they need to see or a backing track for a song. You work on these exactly as you would for a conventional audition and then film yourself doing it and send it to the company as soon as possible, using the method they specify.



Don't I need expensive equipment?


No! While this was certainly the case in the past, technology these days means that most mobile phones and tablets now shoot high definition video through their cameras, which is perfectly good enough quality for a self tape. You may also need a chair or stool to sit on, as it's easier to shoot yourself sitting rather than standing, a tripod or ladder to get your device to the required height and keep it still, and some extra light, if necessary, to make sure you are well lit and not acting with some, or all of your face in the dark. There are also several  editing programs that are easy to use and free to download. 



... or a studio?


No, you can shoot your scenes in a room where you live. Just make sure there's emough light (you can use lamps to lighten up dark patches) and there's a neutral background behind you, so that people don't get distracted from looking at your face.



Can I do it on my own?


You can, although it's far easier to have someone else with you to operate the camera, read in any other lines (fellow actors are especially good at this) and give feedback on which takes are best.If you can find yourself a self taping 'buddy', who lives nearby, you can help each other whenever either of you needs to do a self tape



How long will it take?


That depends on several factors, such as how many scenes or songs they've asked you to prepare, how long it takes you to set up the camera and lighting, how many takes you need to get each one right and how long it takes you to edit the clips and get them uploaded or emailed. Always allow far more time than you think you'll need (especially with your first few attempts) and remember that, as with most things in life, practise makes perfect... or at least better... so be sure to do regular dummy runs (every day for several weeks, if you can,   before you're asked to do it for real. CLICK HERE to download some scripts to use for practise.



But I'm a technophobe! I couldn't do that


Yes you could! You can do anything you put your mind to, and, as we've said, regular practise makes it a lot easier. If, however, you're really daunted, there are some studios that will put you on tape and do all the rest, for a fee. If you're in the UK, Spotlight, in London's West End, is the best, but google other studios that might be nearer to where you are.   



Love it or hate it, self taping is getting more and more common and is here to stay, so have a go and get prepared.