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film

Let's take a... Self Tape

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Let's take a... Self Tape

Often times in the audition process (for TV/Film and sometimes Theater), casting will ask for a self tape audition. This is a video recording of the actor reading sides, provided by casting for the show they are working on. In this self tape, you will often have a reader (who is off camera) read the scene with you, and record your best take at this audition. What is so great about self tapes, is that you can watch and re record your audition 700 times until you are confident with it, whereas in the  audition room, you only get the 1 take.

Tips and tricks of the trade:

  1. ALWAYS MEMORIZE THE SIDES!
    1. I can't say it enough, nothing looks more tacky and unprofessional then an actor sending in a video that they had time to prepare for with sides in hand.
  2. Have a blank/solid background
    1. When I get self tapes submitted and I can see people's' living rooms or house, all I can focus on is "oh that's a nice couch" or "how can they afford to live there!"
    2. I alway advise to film against a wall or hang a blank sheet up
  3. Shoot Horizontally 
    1. If you're shooting on your Iphone, make sure it isn't vertical. This ain't no insta story, this is your one chance at this job opportunity. Put in the effort
    2. Don't cut off the top of your head, frame it nicely.
  4. Lighting 
    1.  If you are going to continue this profession for a long time, I would invest in some basic lighting equipment. (my recommendation) these ring lights are perfect and used by so many Youtubers, they light your face, highlight your eyes and make your video look that much better!
  5. Sound Quality 
    1. Make sure you sound clear and that you are speaking loud enough
      1. Often times actor's will rush and casting won't even look at your video because they had to spend the first 15 seconds figuring out the volume.
  6. Slate
    1. Slate before you read your sides (unless otherwise instructed)
      1. Most of the time your slate should be a seperate take than the actual reading of sides.
      2. Casting usually gives instructions on what to say, but generally you say your name, location, age/height and your representation if you have any. 

My rrecommendations

  • Lucas Van Engen  is a very talented actor who has mastered the art of the self tape. Lucas has been in the business for awhile now and has learned a thing or two about taping! He charges $40 to shoot your audition, coach you and will edit your video. (What a deal!)
  • Sky Town Entertainment is another great company I have sent clients to before, great prices and a good solid team who knows what casting is looking for!

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 The Power of Connections

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The Power of Connections

I'm sure you've heard the expression "It's all who you know" a million times. As trite and cliché as it is.... I am a FIRM believer in it. Living by this principle, I haven't applied for a job in a traditional sense, since 2016. I've been very fortunate and have made connections throughout this incredible city and established myself enough to get work by word of mouth. These connections are great because eventually, they provide gigs and opportunities that pop up all over. I don't know about you, but I can't stay put in an office job, let alone a stationary job for too long, hence why I love this field of work. 

I have found that many managers/agents who have been in the industry for a long time, will say that this isn't true, you either have the talent or you don't... but I struggle with believing that. I have found, that especially in the arts industry, a lot of it is who you know, and the talent is expected. 

How to do this:

First off, I just want to make it clear, that I in no way have all the answers, this is just what has worked for me and in other's lives I've been able to interact with.

  • Just be present. This is such an important thing to keep in mind. Be ready to talk to people, meet people, go out, remember names, and always look for opportunities to make them remember you. I can't tell you how many times me and my friends have been out and we have met someone that we admire or is known in our field. My good friend Wesley Barnes is famous for making these types of connections. Wes could get a tree to be his friend, he's ballsy, bold and approaches these situations with a unapologetic gravitas that people can't refuse (we've see so many Broadway shows for free because of this gift of his). He is a success story in the making, but more on him later. 
  • The Power of Social Media: As Gary Vaynerchuk wrote, in his amazing book (that motivated me to start this blog) Crushing It, Social Media is our now, it is a free gateway into the lives of our heroes, and icons lives. It is a way we can create a brand for ourselves, just like them. Keep your social media updated, interesting and relevant to who you are.
    • Social Media can be a blessing but also such a struggle, it can become another job that you end up pouring hours into. I know I personally struggle with just remembering to keep my social media presence active. I want people to know I am out there, working hard, and give a subtle but constant reminder that I am hustling, so that when they need someone for a job, I'm the first that pops into their minds. (I know, easier said than done. You have to find that balance of posting just enough and not over doing it so people aren’t sick of you or become numb and just scroll past you.)
      • Side note: If you don’t think casting directors look at your social media when deciding if they should hire you or not, you’re wrong. So, make sure it’s a perfect representation of you!
        • Side Side Note: I've been discovering the amazing art of hashtaging more and more (I know I'm super late to the party here) what a great portal into the media worlds of people you never thought you could meet! #hashtagingisgreat

 

  • Be on the lookout:
    • People in our industry are EVERYWHERE, I've met people that I work with at clubs, on airplanes, intermissions of shows, catering gigs and even Tinder (most luck I ever had on there). I have found that while I am talking to these possible connections, I am constantly looking for ways to have said person talk about their career (people love talking about themselves). This opens up a way for you to plug yourself in, showing them how you can fit in their world.
      • "Oh wow that's great, we both work in the same industry, what's your Instagram? Would love to see what you're working on?" A compliment that allows you to have a way into their media platform which grants access to their business life, and DM's! (DM's = Direct Messages). 

 

There are SO many ways to get connected, especially those of us that live in NYC. Take a risk, be brave, make the connections. You never know in our field, be ready to talk, and more importantly be ready to listen, your big break can be from the women you let have your seat on the train. 

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