Summer 2020

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 53 of 74

W hen it comes to auditions, self-taping can seem like a daunting process. But the practice has become an integral part of casting, particularly during the pandemic, and it's a skill that working actors should master. The change to the casting process provides new benefits for both performers and casting directors. For casting directors, there's now a larger pool of applicants to choose from, and actors have the opportunity to submit themselves for a greater number of roles, while perfecting their auditions before submission. "My casts wouldn't be the same without it," said Krista Husar, a casting director who worked on Twin Peaks: The Return, during a SAG-AFTRA Casting Directors Talk Self-Tape panel. "I think of [my work] on big studio films and TV shows, and there are four leads I wouldn't have had without self-tapes." That doesn't mean that there aren't challenges. After all, performers not only need to prepare for the audition, but also have to set up their space, make the recording and, in some cases, edit their work. What do you need to know when self-taping? Here are some words of advice from SAG-AFTRA-sponsored self-taping workshops featuring casting directors from around the country, including Husar and casting directors Caroline Liem ( Jimmy Kimmel Live!); Tracy "Twinkie" Byrd (Fruitvale Station); Jenny Jue (Snowpiercer); Arlene Schuster, a commercial casting director with more than 2,000 credits; and film, television and new media casting director Jason Kennedy (NCIS). Participants served on various SAG-AFTRA panels, including Anatomy Anatomy While safer at home, work continues with self-tape auditions. 52 SAG-AFTRA | Summer 2020 | GETTY IMAGES X7 Self-Tape Self-Tape the President's Task Force on Education, Outreach & Engagement's Self-Tape Like a Pro webinar in May and the PTEOE's Self-Tape for TV Basics livestream in July. The Recording & the Performance Although it may seem like there's a lot of focus on your recording equipment, remember that the purpose of the tape is to showcase your skills to the casting directors. "The priority is that you give us a great performance [and] preparation is half the battle," said Kennedy. For actors, this doesn't just mean practicing your sides before you begin the recording, but learning what you can about a product or brand, the director's or producers' previous projects, and the tone and pace of a film or TV program. Said Kennedy, "A lot of times, you have the ability to watch an episode, or if you are familiar with a show, you already know what we're expecting and how to jump into the character," said Kennedy. When you feel you're ready to record on your smartphone, digital camera or even your computer, do what you would do best as if you were auditioning in person: Make a connection. Look up and try to connect with your eyes, and be mindful of your movement, particularly when coming in and out of the frame. "You don't have to physically enter or exit," noted Los Angeles member and self-taper Tim Powell. "Just pivot or turn in frame to give the same effect." And, this isn't an Instagram video: Be sure to record in landscape mode (horizontally) unless otherwise instructed. Lighting & Sound Given that a self-made audition tape may be their only chance to see you, casting directors agree that proper lighting is one of the most important details to consider when recording. At the same time, they advise against an elaborate setup. For illumination, casting directors advocate using a ring light. Ring lights are

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of SAG-AFTRA - Summer 2020