What is a Self-Tape Audition?


Ben Russell

Ben Russell

·6 min read

There are a handful of ways a casting director may ask you to audition for their project. In some cases - especially for TV/film projects - talent could be invited to self-tape. This means that you will be submitting your audition via video. It’s a great opportunity for a first impression.

    How do I set up my self-tape? 🚀

    Use the below tips as general guidelines to successfully completing your submission. If you ever have any questions, reach out to the poster before you submit. On Casting Depot, you'll be invited to self-submit, where you'll be directed to an upload page. It'll ask you to upload your MP3 or MP4 with specific instructions alongside it. Remember to check the guidelines noted by the poster as they may be different from our suggestions below.

    What camera should I use? 🎥

    Ideally, you should use a computer (or even a tablet) to record yourself. Unless noted otherwise by the job poster, a phone should be fine as well. Either way, turn off/exit out of all of the applications running routinely in the background. The casting director doesn't want to hear a text notification in the middle of your video.

    What about camera positioning?🧐

    The camera should be at eye level (or slightly higher) with you. You should not be looking down at the camera. That's never a good angle. Having the phone in landscape mode is generally prefered. Once you begin filming, be positioned in the center of the frame. Use a tight shot, making sure your torso and head are in frame otherwise you'll look like a floating head!

    What about lighting?💡

    Make sure your computer/camera is between you and the light source. If you have a light source behind you - such as a window or lamp - you’ll appear as a silhouette.

    Location, location, location. 🏠

    It’s important that you’re able to speak freely during your self-tape and that you’re in a space that you can do so. Presentable backgrounds include an office, living room or kitchen. Casting directors will generally ask that when you record, you are not in a car or in a public space.

    What do I wear? 👕

    It’s always a good idea to dress to impress – with whatever style is true to you! Unless noted otherwise by the self-tape instructions, be hair and makeup ready. If this is for a scripted series or theatrical production, wear an outfit close to what your character would wear. Insider tip - Gem tones look best on camera.

    Who sees the self-tape? 👀

    Self-tapes are generally for internal use, only. Meaning that any management or affiliated partners on the project will see and use the tape for consideration. If the tape is used for outside purposes, the job poster will generally note that in their request for the self-tape. It's common that, if this is the case, they'll ask you to sign an image release form before being cast.

    How do I stand out on a self-tape? 🗣

    Energy is the magic answer to standing out. How? Project your voice, enunciate your words and be expressive with facial reactions. Be passionate about the role you're applying for. Unless your character mandate calls for otherwise, set your presence through your voice and choice of words. A casting director, no matter what type of production, will always appreciate the enthusiasm you show during your self-tape.

    Want to dive deeper into acing your audition? Check out this article we wrote that'll help you get prepared for your big break.

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