15 / 04 / 2020
HOW TO: Film A Self Tape
In this week's blog we are talking about self tapes!
Self tapes allow our models and actors to be introduced to clients and casting directors virtually, saving money, time and space for both parties. They seem to be becoming evermore popular and, especially in the current climate, it's really helpful if you can be ready to roll when one is requested.
Tessa Reynolds, MD, says "Flattering, up-to-date casting videos are a great asset for all models & actors to have on their web page so the client can get a feel for the personality and the real person as well as seeing images. With new technology, let's face it, anyone can look amazing with retouched images but our casting shots and videos allow the client to see someone looking exactly as they would if they stepped through the door into a casting."
To help you with this we thought we'd put together our top 10 hints and tips for filming a self tape at home!
Team SR's Top Tips :
1. Environment is super important. You may be quickly taping in between jobs/castings which is understandable, but if you can, find a quiet space with nothing too distracting in the background. If you are at home and have time on your hands, a plain neutral wall is the best place to tape. Natural light will be most flattering, however make sure your light source is facing towards you. If you stand in front of the light source (i.e. window) the video will become over-exposed and unclear. If you prefer to film outside in natural daylight, choose a plain and unfussy background such a wall or green foliage.
2. A phone is more than efficient to shoot your self tape on. If you own a fancy camera then by all means use it, however don’t feel like you need to splash out on expensive equipment.
3. Always shoot horizontally rather than vertically. Landscape is the same shape as a TV screen and looks much more professional.
4. Look presentable. Perhaps a given, but you should always treat a self tape as if you were going in to a physical casting. Look natural and don’t go overboard on makeup. Make sure your face isn’t shiny, your hair is brushed etc. (unless it would suit the character you are taping for!)
5. Which brings us on to point 5, what to wear. If you are taping for a specific role you should have been given a character breakdown, which you can use as a guide for wardrobe. If there isn’t any information on the role, the trusty white t-shirt and jeans combo is perfect.
6. It always helps to have a nice simple ident. You should introduce yourself and state your agency, show your profiles and your hands (if you have long hair, make sure to hold it away from your face whilst showing your profiles). Casting directors will always specify if they would like any other information in the ident, such as your height, or any relevant experience. Make it clear when you have finished the ident and are moving on to the audition piece.
7. If there is a script for your audition, it is best to learn it if you can. This is not always possible and you won’t be expected to learn a very long script by heart. If you do need to use a script, make sure it is out of shot, never covering your face, and always bring your eyeline back to the camera. Ideally, someone should read in for you if there is another character. They should sit behind the camera, so you can use them to play off.
8. Don’t let your self tape get too long. We’d recommend filming a few takes, but chose your best 1 or 2 and include these rather than 20 minutes of footage! The Casting Director will have a lot of tapes to get through, and a long video will take an age to download. We like to use WeTransfer to share videos.
9. If you can, try to send your self tape over as one file. It’s fine to shoot multiple videos but it’s best to edit them together into one video, so multiple files don’t need to be opened.
10. Have fun! A self tape is a great chance to show your personality in the comfort of your own home. Take the opportunity to experiment and get creative. The more tapes you do, the better you will become at it. If you make a mistake, try leaving it in – the Casting Director may appreciate a little laugh!
Sandra Reynolds Model Agency is a London based model, influencer, acting and child modelling agency. Successfully providing commercial male and female models throughout London and the UK