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What to Avoid in a Self-taped Audition

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Self-taped audition submissions are becoming more and more popular in our digitally interconnected world.  This means it’s essential for actors to master this art.  Here are a few common mistakes to avoid.

Not using a tripod. This piece of equipment is essential for perfectly positioned, steady footage.  You can adjust the tripod as you see fit, meaning you will be able to easily get the proper angle.  Never hold the camera in front of you as if you’re taking a selfie.

Placing the camera too low. You’ll want to always place the camera at eye level or slightly above.  Positioning it too low will produce not-so-flattering footage no matter how attractive you are.  Feel free to try a few different angles to find the best fit before you hit record.

Selecting the wrong frame. Your frame should always be from the chest to the top of your head.  You do not want to have too wide or too narrow a frame, displaying a larger than necessary background or hiding some of your features from view.  An improper frame is distracting and looks unprofessional.

Not following the submission instructions. Always, always, always read through the casting director’s instructions carefully and thoroughly.  You want to make sure you are including everything that’s required.  Missing an integral piece will ensure your submission is disqualified.  What’s more, failure to follow submission guidelines will make it hard for the CD to trust you’ll be reliable on set.

Being unprepared. A self-taped submission should be treated just the same as an in-person audition when it comes to preparation.  You should be ready to engage with your reading partner or to deliver a believable monologue just as you would if you were standing before the casting director.  Make sure to slate, memorize where you can, and get into character.

There is background noise. You’ll want to make sure you’re filming somewhere where you won’t have to worry about traffic noise, passersby, a train, or any other distracting background noises.  You should also ensure you silence phone or computer alarms, and film during a time when you can trust that the camera will have your full attention.

The lighting is off. Lighting is key to creating a stand-out submission. You don’t want a shadow to hide your face or a light so bright it’s tough to make out your features.  Nailing the lighting is a tricky, but essential task.  Natural lighting is best.  Practice producing just the right amount before you begin.

The ability to submit a self-taped audition gives you the opportunity to create the perfect ambiance before you perform.  Take the time to practice the set up and your lines – then, turn the camera on.

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