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Self Taping

It is a whole new world out there in film & television. With the decentralization of the industry and technology, gone are the days of having to live in a major market to have a shot at the big film & TV auditions. Everything has gone to self taping. And just like having top notch photos are a must, so are top notch self tapes. This can be overwhelming to figure out what you need to give yourself or your child the best chance of booking that great audition opportunity your agent just got you. Below are samples, information and even a list of products you can buy to put your home self taping studio together!

Self Taping Basics

This is a terrific video on the basics of self-taping by an acting coach named Michael Bean out of Vancouver, BC, Canada

If you would like to purchase a few items and build your own home self taping area here is a link to lighting kit with backdrop. 

If you use your Iphone to shoot your auditions it is good to have a tripod.

Here is a good camera with a microphone. 

And a good basic tripod 

Slating Sample

Slating Sample

Scripted Self Taped Auditions

Self Tape Scripted Audition Samples. These are auditions where talent were given sides to learn.

Scripted Self Tape Audition

Scripted Self Tape Audition

Scripted Self Tape Audition

Self Taped Improvisational Auditions

Below are sample of improvisational auditions. This can happen for either commercial or for Networks that want to take a look at your creativity or natural comedy and timing. Improvisational means you are making up the words. It is not scripted.

Improvisational Self Taped Audition

Improvisational Self Tape Audition

Three Point Lighting

Self Taping Lighting Kits & Tools

Click here for a link online for everything from lighting kits, cameras, tripods, microphones and backdrops. 

Self Taping General Instructions

This page is to give you a good idea of what your self tape auditions should look like.

Tips for self tapes.

First the SAG Foundation has an awesome video, it is long and has lots of great tips.


For your self taped auditions it may happen that you only have a day or a few days and they do expect you to be memorized. You can hold your paper but in my experience talent who are fully memorized and not holding script get more callbacks.

Clothing & Background

You should wear solid color clothing again a different solid colored background with nothing else in the background. We don’t want to see your kitchen, living room furniture or bedroom. Clothing should fit well so we see what the actor’s figure looks like. Do not wear a hat. Do not mime a phone. Use props at a minimum or not at all.

Light & Sound

Make sure the lighting is excellent and we can see the actor well. Make sure we can hear the actor well and the reader who is off camera is not as loud as the actor is.

You should look just right or left of the camera.


Each client will ask for a slight variation on the slate. ( A slate is the actor introducing themselves to casting) Make sure you read what we send you carefully and include everything asked for. Slates should be filmed close up on the actor’s face, pull out to a wide shot so we see all of them. Your default slate if no instructions are given is to slate your name, height and Katalyst.

Saving your Files

The file should be saved as a .mov file, or .mp4 or .wmv. It should be named as follows:

Uploading your Audition

You should never upload your audition to Youtube. Your auditions are for new shows and story lines and scripts are super secret and the studios often times get very upset if anything leaks out. Sometimes you will have to sign a non disclosure agreement before they will even send you the script. You should save your slate as a separate file from your audition scenes. It is best not to insert titles.

Social Media

You also should not post on social media about your specific auditions or callbacks. You can say you have a big audition for movie, pilot, etc. But never ever name the title, or studio or casting office or producer or star.

Naming your Files

When you save your audition scenes. Save them again as a .mov, .mp4 or . wmv file. Name them as follows:

Sending your files

When you send the files to me use or other file sharing site to . Please do not send the files directly attached to an email to me. Especially during pilot season I may have many self tape auditions coming in to me and if you send the actual files it clogs my inbox and when other folks including clients who may want to hire you have their emails bounce and I have no idea who has been trying to reach me.

Follow the Directions

Always read all of the notes and directions that we send in regards to the taping instruction and follow them explicitly. Casting is not kidding when they say if you don’t send it correctly they won’t watch it or forward on to the producers.


When we send out the self tape request their will often be a deadline that we give you that we need the audition videos back by. Please make sure you send the auditions in before or no later than the deadline. I watch every audition before sending it on to casting. If you send it early and there is time and I think we need some changes I will let you know that. But if you get it in close to the deadline there is no time for that. There are occassions where clients may have asked to see 20, 30 or even 40 of our talent for a role and I have to get that all in to them by their deadline. So if everyone waits till on the dot deadline it is definitely a time crunch on my end. When I receive your audition and download it I will shoot you a quick email saying got it. And that is all. It is just to let you know the audition has been received. On days that I uploading a lot of self tapes it will be very difficult to get ahold of me.

When will we Hear Back?

Once the audition has been sent in to casting it could be the same week that we hear something or it could be a month later that we hear something. It is different for every project. Casting very rarely gives us specific feedback. Unless a talent is being requested for a call back, a redirect or being booked. If they do give us feedback we will let you know.

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