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Self tape success – what to do and don’t

​​​I work for the Outreach team at the University of Gloucestershire, where I graduated with a degree in Performing Arts back in 2015. Since then I’ve been working as a professional Equity registered actor and I’ve had to do many a self-tape to secure acting roles, particularly in film. I would like to share some tips with you that I’ve learnt over my career so you can prepare yourself for filming for online auditions and interviews.

1. Check your framing. It’s a good idea to position yourself slightly to the left and to check that there aren’t any distracting items in the background. Ideally you should find a plain (white or cream) wall as your background and shoot with your head and shoulders in the frame. Try to use natural light, so self-tape in the daytime; pick a bright day but avoid working with a window directly behind you as this will produce an overexposed effect where you appear dark.

2. Don’t worry about props or costume. Keep it simple, keep your energy up, talk directly to the camera and make eye contact, just as you would with an audition panel sat in front of you.

3. Check for background noise. Choose somewhere away from roads and ask others around you to be quiet whilst you film. You may want to use earphones to reduce background noise but this is optional, so don’t worry if you don’t have access to any.

4. Buy a tripod. If you can afford one, a tripod will ensure you’re straight in the frame and give your video that extra edge. You can pick up cheap ones online. If you can’t do this, avoid using selfie sticks and instead rest your phone or camera securely on a stack of books.

5. Watch it back. Unless you’re delivering a live audition online, remember to watch it back when you’re finished to check that you are happy with what you’ve done and then upload your video onto a sharing platform. To ensure you can send large files easily, use something like Dropbox or WeTransfer – both are good free options. If you’re not happy with the end product, do it again! After all, practice makes perfect.

I hope that’s been useful for you. If you have any questions about auditioning or self-tapes you can chat to me online or get in touch via email. Good luck! ​