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How to do a Self-Tape Audition

In recent years, the casting process has changed quite a bit, which means actors are not always required to do in-person auditions.

This is the era of self-tapes that comes with a lot of advantages and gives both actors and casting directors more flexibility.

In our classes, we do a lot of self-tapes, either for practice or for actual auditions. We are happy to say that many of our students have been booking roles in TV series! Are you next?

You only have one chance to make a first impression, and while self-tapes are more convenient, you still have to do your absolute best if you want to book that role.

Here are a few tips on what to look out for:

1. Background, lighting and sound

Have a plain background, preferably blue, grey or black. It's best to avoid white!

Make sure you are well lit from the front - use either natural light or two soft boxes to light your face evenly.

Casting directors won't even bother watching your tape unless it's good quality and they can hear you well. Be sure to have a good built-in mic in your camera or a lavalier microphone attached to your outfit.

2. Pay attention to all the instructions

So many actors make the mistake of not paying close attention to the details - don't be one of them! Some agencies want you to slate (record your introduction) in a particular way, or zoom in on a certain part. They usually ask for a medium close-up shot, framing is essential. Self-tapes are generally sent by hightail, dropbox or wetransfer and need to be less than 100MB - again, read carefully what the requirements are.

3. Have a good reader

Having a circle of actors who are willing to be your reader, is really important. Another option is to record your audition tape at an acting school where they have a professional set-up with a coach to guide you and read the lines of your scene partner. Don't rely on your mum (well, unless she is Reese Whiterspoon!) or neighbour for that. Get it done like pro!

4. Make unique choices

You want to stand out, you want the casting director to remember your performance - and not because it was so horrible! Think outside the box, make unique and bold choices for your character. Of course, it helps to take regular acting classes and rehears with fellow actors. The good thing about self-tapes is that you can have plenty of takes to get it right, not like with in-person auditions.

5. Look the part

Select clothing that best represents your character without it being too flashy or distracting. After all they want to see how you can act.

We hope these tips helped you to see more clearly what and what not do when you are preparing for a self-tape audition.

Remember, self-tape doesn't mean you have to do it yourself! We highly recommend to get professional support.

At Marbella Film School, apart from screen acting classes, we also offer private coaching sessions for audition tapes.

Looking forward to seeing you soon.


Marbella Film School Calle Jacinto Benavente 37, Marbella (Centro), 29601 Málaga, España. Phone Number: +34 951 247 285 E-mail:

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