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High quality camera taking picture of acress on backdrop



Ever notice you’re getting more and more requests for self-tape auditions, lately?

For better or for worse, the rate of self-tape auditions is on the rise in the Toronto acting scene. But this is a very good thing! It means there’s more projects being cast, more chances to be seen—and more opportunities to book that role of your dreams.

If you’re smart about them, self-tape auditions are a wonderful way to show your skills to casting directors who may be unfamiliar with your work. And more importantly? Self-tape auditions are some of those rare moments in our strange showbiz careers that we can actually control.

When the self-tape request hits your inbox, are you prepared to make the most of them? Here’s some tips for maximizing your tape and putting your best foot forward in the few seconds you’ve got to make an impression.

1. Be Professional

We’ve heard it… you have a ‘perfectly good camera’ on your phone… the ‘sound is okay’… there’s ‘no real difference’…


You’re certainly welcome to tape yourself on your phone and hope for the best, but consider this: when you’re fighting to stand out from a pack of dozens (or even hundreds) of others vying for the same role, do you really want to add some strikes to your tape before you’ve even begun?

Poor lighting, poor video quality, and most importantly poor sound quality are sure-fire ways to make a casting director click on the next available tape and forget yours entirely. Making the investment and taking the time for a professional self-tape shows you’re professional, you respect the process, and you care enough to be seen and heard.

2. Use a (strong) Reader

There’s a lot of confusion when it comes to readers for self-tapes. After all, it’s YOUR audition, not the reader’s, so does the reader really matter?

The short answer? Having a reader who understands the scene you’re shooting matters a whole heck of a lot.

It’s true that the reader isn’t the one auditioning and there’s no need for them to show off/shout/cry/act their little hearts out. But given that the vast majority of scenes are dialogue between characters, having a reader who understands the tone, the rhythm, and the energy of your scene can make a world of difference when it comes to giving you the right energy and tempo to feed off of, as you work your magic.

Beyond that, when watching your tape, you want casting to be focused entirely on you—and a lifeless, stumbling reader is a distraction you don’t need. Enlist a friend you’re able to rehearse with as your reader—or better yet, film at a self-tape studio run by professional actors who can not only read for you, but can also offer some insight between takes.

3. Consider the moment before—and after.

So you’ve gotten a self-tape request, you’ve learned your lines, you’ve selected your outfit and styled your hair *just right.* All set?

What about considering the few seconds prior to your scene? And maybe the few seconds at the end, as well?

Sure, with the magic of video editing, we can easily fade in directly before your first line. But before your character shouts “Howdy!” at their scene partner, ask yourself: where are they? What are they doing? Did they expect to see this person they’re greeting, or did they just notice them now? Are they happy? Sad? Angry?

Answering these questions can give you an extra 3-4 seconds prior to your opening line that can help to set the scene and tell the story—all before you say a word. And as casting digs through tape after tape after tape, a couple of seconds showcasing your energy prior to your ‘performance’ is another little way to stand out.

When it comes to the end of the tape, ask a few questions there, as well: should you exit the frame? If you stay in frame, what emotion should we be reading on your face, in those final seconds before we fade out?

In your tape, every single second counts.

These are a few things to consider when making the most of your next self-tape audition. Callback Headshots is available for professional self-tapes in a full studio setting, complete with scene coaching and reader services by established Toronto actors. If you want to look your best—trust the best. Mention this blog post for a 5% discount on your next tape session.