Self-tape and virtual video auditions are often used in the casting process for Performers and Actors. With the world currently switching to online communication due to COVID-19, it is also now essential that if you want to audition or interview for drama school, college or university, you know how to succeed with an online interview or a remote self-tape audition.
Before we get into our guide to a perfect self-tape, you might be wondering what a self-tape audition is. If you are asked to audition from home or submit an online interview, you will need to film yourself performing or answering set questions, either via a live video call or by sending a video file electronically.
You will also need to consider what to wear to self-tape. You should treat your virtual audition in the same way that you would an in-person audition. If you know you’re going to have to dance during the self-tape, make sure you are wearing appropriate dancewear. Likewise, if your remote application is in an interview format, ensure you’re dressed for an interview. Bear in mind that busy patterns and stripes don’t come across well on camera, so stick to plain clothing if you can.
The top 10 tips for self-taping or attending an online interview:
If you can get a tripod then it really does make a difference. It holds the camera sturdy and at a good angle. If you can’t get hold of a tripod, then don’t worry. Be creative and prop up your filming device (phone, laptop, camera) on a shelf or some stacked boxes to get the angle right.
You want the camera to be not too close but not so far away. In a monologue or song performance, above the knees should do the trick. However, when dancing you will need your whole body in the frame. Try to clear the room to give you the depth of space and most importantly lift the camera rather than tilt it up. This will give you a better angle to film your audition piece.
If you are in an interview, just take a seat in front of your device and prepare everything you might need, including a glass of water.
- As much as possible, keep the background for your self-tape plain and simple. Ideally, it would be a plain wall, but failing that, make sure you don’t have anything too distracting in the background. It shouldn’t be obvious where you are in your home.
Make sure you consider the lighting. Direct sunlight can obscure the view of your face and hinder the audition.
Try to deal with any potential disturbances like a pet or a family member interrupting. Of course, if this happens and it is live, just deal with it and carry on.
- If you are using music, check your sound levels beforehand.
Have you thought about how to introduce yourself in the self-tape? Start by stating your name and the title of the piece as an introduction before you begin.
You’ll need to do a test self-tape to ensure you can be seen in the frame and can be heard completely clearly. Check if there are guidelines set by the drama school or audition panel on whether you should look at the camera during your self-tape audition. If not, look just above or to the side of the camera rather than directly into the lens.
Most importantly, relax and just do the same performance as if you were in the actual room with them. The interviewer knows that this is a new experience for us all and remember they are on your side.
If you’re looking for further advice on self-taping, check out Fourth Monkey's guidance on their virtual auditions here.
For general tips on auditions and getting into drama school, see the below posts on the Get Into Theatre blog:
Published: 17 April 2020