Here are Richard's top tips for successful self taping...
- As with any audition, learn any material you are sent thoroughly before putting it on tape
- Make sure the room in which you shoot your tape is quiet, echo-free and light enough. Try to also have a plain or neutral background behind you, so that you are the main focus.
- Sit to shoot your scenes, rather than standing, as this will ensure your face is in shot the whole time.
- Ensure your camera (or mobile phone or tablet) is on a tripod or other steady surface to avoid shaking and is level with your face.
- It's much easier to have a friend with you to operate the camera and read in the lines of other characters (fellow actors are especially useful for this).
- Do test shots of each scene and play them back to check picture and sound quality before actually shooting a take (you might actually end up using some of them).
- Introduce yourself with your name and agent (or personal contact details), mention which character you're reading and introduce each scene to separate them.
- Separate each take with a note of the scene and take number, like a clapperboard, followed by a second or two of silence. Write down the numbers of the takes you think are useable, so you can view them after shooting.
- Your performance will be fresher the fewer takes you do, so concentrate and keep going. Only take short breaks to refresh if you really need to.
- The eyes say it all, so make sure they are emoting, rather than looking down and reading from the script.
- Editing is far easier if you shoot a whole scene as one, rather than picking up mid-take, so if you make a mistake, start again.
- When you have the best take for each scene, Edit them cleanly and put all the scenes onto one file, as this will make it easier to send, and view.
- Be sure to adhere to the sending or upload methods that have been requested and send the finished product as far before the specified deadline as you can.
- Do at least one dummy run before you are actually asked to self tape, so that you're fully prepared whenever the need arises.
There's a chapter on self taping in Auditions: The Complete Guide and lots more step-by-step advice on the most effective ways to put yourself on tape in the eBook, Self Taping: The Actor's Guide and its website, www.selftaping.com.
Go to the DOWNLOADS page to get a printable copy of these tips, to keep with you and remind you whenever you have to self tape and a self taping checklist to fill in and tick off.