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Self Taping Tips

Self-taping is easy. You probably do it already on Instagram, Tik-Tok and other social media sites. Actors have self-taped for many years in the theatre world, and it is now becoming more of a standard for film and commercial auditions. You'd be smart to practice and improve your self-taping abilities. 


I suggest you look at the tips on Backstage's website. They have several subject pages: 

SAG-AFTRA also did a recent webinar on self-taping, which you can watch for free (even if you're not a SAG member). 

VERY briefly, here are some tips from me:

Slate first: Look into the camera, smile, say "Hi" and state your name.

Usable Footage: remember, this is not an audition. Your footage is what will go into the film. Think about your character. Dress appropriately. Use props, if called for in the script.

Background: choose your setting for the character. An interesting room is much better than a blank wall.

Busy Work: give your character something fitting to do with your hands. Everyone does "stuff" constantly in life. Like eating, drinking, clipping your nails, reading a book, playing a game on your cell, etc. Find something that matches your character.

Camera: a cell phone is fine. Put it on a tripod or other resting place, for best results. Most phones have a forward-facing camera which will allow you to see yourself as you film. I also recommend you turn on the timer, so that you can start the video and then get into place.

Framing: place the camera horizontally. Film yourself with your head and upper chest visible.

Sound: film in a quiet place, and turn off AC, refrigerator or other noise sources

Lighting: think about how your character should look in the script. Don't make your footage too dark or too bright, but it's OK to make the mood fit your acting and the script.

Editing: don't worry about problems. I will edit the footage and get rid of the parts that don't work.

Readers: You can skip the dialogue of other characters. It's better for you as an actor if you have someone read the other lines. It doesn't matter what they sound like, but make sure you don't "step on" their voice. Pause for a split second after they finish before you speak (this is important so the editor gets clean sound on your voice). 

Takes: Take as many takes as you want. Please send at least 2 takes.

Submitting your footage:

Send your footage to my email

You can send video files many different ways. WeTransfer is (I think) the easiest for you to use. Dropbox and Google Docs are frequently used options. Turn off all permissions and passwords.

Very small files (short videos) can be emailed simply as an attachment, but you'll likely exceed the size limits.

Some people have sent footage to me through FaceBook. I am on FaceBook as Brent Von Horn.

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