Tonight was Week 3 of class, a continuation from Week 1 and Week 2. During the week we had to self-tape an audition and then also prepare a large audition for television to do in class. The self-tape had to be in by Monday at 7pm so on Sunday morning my roommate Janelle and I set up my camera and lighting, ran through the scene a couple of times, then filmed a couple takes. I picked the best one, cut it together with my slate, and sent it off that night after getting home from work and “Trainspotting”.
So let’s talk a little about self-taped auditions. With the advance in technology, self-tapes are becoming more and more common. With other states offering tax incentives for film and television productions, we have what’s called a “local hire”, which means a person has a place to live in that city. Popular locations include Atlanta, New York City, Chicago and now New Orleans. You have to have an address in that city (for tax purposes), pay for your transportation, and put yourself up in that city to work as a local hire. So if you can be a “local hire” you may be asked to put yourself on tape for the local casting directors, producers, director. There’s a right way and there’s a wrong way.
Things to do:
- Proper Lighting (be sure you can see both sides of your face)
- Correct Frame (a bust shot, and about the size of a golf ball above your head)
- Correct Eye Line (even with the camera, but just to the right or left)
- Live Reader (ie. don’t read through the lines like a monologue, or read the other part!)
Things NOT to do:
- Don’t read the lines of the other character yourself (or pre-record them)
- Don’t wear “busy” clothes, ie. stripes, flowers, lots of words
- Don’t send a HUGE file. Make it easy for casting to download it
The most important thing to remember is to read ALL of the instructions that casting sends. When they ask for a full body slate with profiles, then make sure it’s a FULL body slate, not just your half your body. Here’s my slate. We then cut, reset the camera with the proper framing (and better light since it was closer), and shot the scene. I downloaded them to my computer and cut the two clips together, which is a lot easier than it sounds.
I have a Dell, and therefore I use Windows. I’ve always been a Windows girl so I can’t give tips on how to use iMovie, but I here it is also super easy. I used Windows Live Movie Maker. Just click “Add Videos and Photos” on your toolbar or where it says “Click Here to Browse for Videos and Photos”. Choose the files you want, then drag them and put them in the correct order. You will see in the screenshot below that each file has a “film strip” image at the beginning and end. Click on the clip you want to move, then drag to the right position.
Hit play to make sure it’s how you want it to look, then click Save and voila! you have just cut together two clips! Because it saves it as a .wmv file, you will need to convert it to a mp4 file. Just Google “convert video files” and many choices will pop up. Choose the one you like and follow their directions. Now you have a file that anyone can watch, regardless if they have a PC or a Mac.
I was very excited that Meg and Sunny had us do a self-tape audition. While I have done a few in the past, I’ve never been thrilled about doing them. But doing one for class and then getting feedback and talking about the dos and don’ts was really helpful. I feel more prepared should I have to do another self-tape, and I think my roommate will too, since this was her first time helping me. So don’t fight the popularity of self-tapes, they are becoming more and more common and we need to embrace them. So cheers! Can’t wait for Week 4!