Pilot Season is in full swing, and for many actors this means self-taping auditions. I recently had a student tell me, “The reader they provided for my self-taped audition was TERRIBLE!”
Self-taping is different than a regular audition, and we can use this to our advantage. We get to call the shots and design the final outcome. We have the luxury of choosing our environment and taking our time, so we are able to guarantee only our best work is submitted to the powers that be. If we don’t take charge of the taping experience, however, it can become a lost opportunity.
Three Ways to Ensure Your Self-Taping Shines:
1. Bring your own reader.
While some taping studios include a reader in the hourly fee (or perhaps your agency has a self-taping room in their office) always carefully consider who you will be reading with. Often, the default reader is not a professional actor, and I’ve even heard of instances where the reader has seen other people audition for the same role and tried to redirect the actor to match those performances. You don’t need these added distractions and stress – this is your show! The best way to control as many variables as possible (and to minimize surprises) is to bring your own reader with you.
2. Be sure they can act.
Often when an audition opportunity arises, we find ourselves scrambling to memorize lines and book a taping studio. This can result in us asking the closest person (whether they be our roommate, spouse, or best friend) to read with us in the audition. While they might be our number one fan, this does not necessarily mean they have an acting bone in their body. After spending valuable time preparing the scene, nothing can sabotage the taping more than involving someone who doesn’t understand the art of acting or the nuances inherent in a scene. Always strive to read opposite someone who is going to bring out your best performance. This will have the added benefit of sounding more dynamic to the casting viewer, subconsciously elevating your audition in their mind.
3. Sex matters.
Always strive to have your reader match the gender of the character they are portraying. It doesn’t matter how competent your reader is, if you’re performing a dramatic, romantic scene and each time you call out the name “Jennifer” a man’s voice responds, it has the potential to seriously distract the viewer. Make it easy for casting to believe you are actually speaking with that other character. Contrary to a regular audition, self-taping provides you with more opportunities to stack the deck in your favour – make it so seamless they can’t help but effortlessly visualize you in the role.
Give them your best!