3 Easy Self-Taping Steps for Child Actors! Do you panic when you receive an audition that calls for a self-taped submission? If so, you have two choices: You can make an appointment with your favorite taping service, or you can tackle it yourself.
Finding a great taping service in your area may take a bit of research. As the popularity of self-taping increases, taping services are popping up around the country, and you may need to try several services before you find a great fit. If you decide to try taping the audition on your own, here are some suggestions on submitting a great tape.
There are many options for studio lighting. You can do an Internet search for two point and three point lighting set up options, and you will discover numerous links, videos, and listings for lighting options at very reasonable prices.
An external microphone is not a complete necessity, but it does increase the overall sound quality. If you choose to forego the external microphone, it’s important that the reader, the person reading the lines with the actor, be very conscious of their volume. The reader’s volume should never overpower the actor’s audition.
Overall Quality Tips
Always use a tripod so that the video is steady.
The type of camera you choice is not as important as the sharpness of the video that it records. Most smart phones shoot in high definition, so as long as everything is in focus, you will likely get a great quality from a smart phone. If you choose to use a smart phone, make sure to shoot the video horizontally and NEVER vertically. *Editors note: The Ganey’s use the Canon EOS Rebel T3i.
Framing – Make sure you follow directions for how to frame the video. During the audition, an acceptable, standard framing is from about the shoulders to the top of the head with very little space above the actor’s head. Often, a casting director may ask the camera operator to include a full body shot of the actor during the slate. To achieve this, you will need to zoom out for a full body shot and zoom back in on the actor’s face.
Slate – Typically, the slate will include the actor’s name, height, and role. Minors are usually asked to include their age. Casting directors may also want to see a full body shot of the actor, or they may need to know the actor’s location, availability during the shoot window, or if they are willing to cut their hair. Remember to look in the email for any specific slating directions and to make sure to include them with the audition. Finally, look for directions about how to send the slate. Does the casting director want the slate at the beginning, end, or in a separate file?
Things to keep in mind: Self taping may eliminate the initial cost of traveling for an audition, but not all costs, since travel is rarely covered for callbacks. Be ready to pay for travel and even lodging if you are invited to a callback or hired as a local hire.
Contributor: Terri Ganey is an actress, wife, mom, educator, and lover of all things in the entertainment industry! She is also Hollywood Mom to two talented young actors. After graduating from UCF in Orlando, Florida, and embarking on a career in education, she decided to pursue her lifelong dream of acting. She began professional training in 2009, signed with an agent, and began booking print work, commercials, industrials, and films in the same year. In 2010, she earned a doctoral degree in education. Terri and husband Matt also own and operate a professional taping service in the Los Angeles area and another taping service in the Atlanta area. When does she sleep?!