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Actors, you should ALWAYS read *all* of the instructions for your self-tapes, as they (and we) are all a little different.

But in case Casting hasn't specified certain things, here are some simple basics you can follow, (to protect your/your reps sanity): #minithread
Again, these are to guide you ONLY if Casting hasn't otherwise specified. (Read all of the instructions, every time, I beg of you!)

1. Slates: if Casting doesn't say where to put your slate, (beginning, end, separate) put it at the end. We should see your performance FIRST.
2. Slates (again): if Casting hasn't asked for a slate, it's still good to include a basic one, saying your name and height, (great if you can make it full body, but ok if you can't.) It's good for us to hear how you pronounce your name and get the perspective on your height.
3. Labeling: if no labeling instructions, make sure you include your FULL PROFESSIONAL NAME, ROLE NAME and SCENE/TAKE (if needed.) Your name and the role are a must. (No nicknames - it needs to match your resume/acting profiles.)
4. Separate or Edited Clips: if Casting doesn't say to keep your clips separate or edit them into one, then it truly doesn't matter. Do what's easiest, just be sure they're labeled properly.
5. Lack of Upload Instructions: if you haven't gotten info about how to upload your takes (to EcoCast, Cast It, etc.) then send it to your reps/Casting in an *easily* downloadable format. (Attachments, links, whatever. Just make it easy.)
5. Cont'd: Personally, I've never liked private YouTube links. Only the person you shared it with has access, which could mean that our assistant has access, but we don't (or vice versa.) Make. It. Easy.
6. No NDA: almost all projects require one now, but even if this one doesn't, you still need to keep your audish as confidential as possible. Don't post about it, don't upload your clip to YouTube, etc. Be discreet, no matter what.
7. No Deadline: we may forget to give you a deadline, but things move very fast this time of year. Take the time you need to do it right, but don't take a week. We are sending tapes to prods on a constant/rolling basis. If you spend too much time, you could easily miss the boat.
I'll continue to add to this thread as the season picks up. This seems to be the most panic-inducing time of year for actors if you feel you don't have enough self-tape info. Don't overthink this particular stuff. Follow the directions, if given, and follow your instinct, if not.
Ha! Remember pilot season? (RIP) Remember JANUARY? (Was January this year?)

Anywho... here are some more self-tape basics to help ease stress...
8. Actors, if you are asked to re-tape an audition and the note you receive confuses you, ask for clarification. If we’re asking you to re-tape it means we like you and want you to succeed. (This goes for both self-tapes and live reads... but *especially* self-tapes.
8 cont'd. Sometimes our notes make perfect sense to *us* because we have a more context, (script/concept from creatives/notes/other actors’ choices/etc.) but they can be confusing to anyone else. ASK YOUR QUESTIONS. We are here to help you, and we are *truly* rooting for you.
9. If you're going to miss a self-tape deadline, (even by 45 min.) please communicate that to Casting. If there's a chance we can extend, we'll do so. It also helps us not have to bug your reps to bug you to find out what's going on. Everyone appreciates a good communicator.
10. Virtual callbacks/casting are VERY DIFFERENT than self-taping. They require a practice or test with a friend (seriously, practice... you'd be amazed at what can go wrong.)
10 cont'd. Important: you can practice and be totally "ready" (mentally, technologically,) & things will STILL go wrong, (mostly technically, but tech probs will make audition nerves come roaring out of hiding.) Tech issues are simply the rules of the internet. Expect them.
I'm gonna hijack this thread for a moment to talk about some virtual casting basics... hold on to your butts... I could legit talk about this for days, (I teach it in my self-tape classes because it is not easy, folks!)
11. Internet issues are COMMON. Do yourself a favor and place yourself near your router (or plug in) for your virtual casting sesh. Test your internet speed in different areas of your home to see where the ideal location is for your session.
11A. If you live with someone, kindly ask them to go for a walk or sit quietly and read a book while you are having your virtual session so you can have the full bandwidth. (If they're watching Netflix, you're screwed.)
12. CLEAN YOUR LENS BEFOREHAND! I know you're all getting good at doing this on your phones before you self-tape, but make sure you do it on your computer. (That thing is DIR-TY.) Add streaming and layers of internet to that dirty lens and it is REAL hard to see you.
13. Place your computer (or whatever you're using for your sesh) at eye-level, whether you are sitting or standing. Plan to not move it (so you may need to adjust your energy, depending on the scene.) Eye level device = fewer chins/nose hairs. (You can thank me later.)
14. LIGHT! Our computer cameras aren't as great as our phones. Use the lighting set up that you use for your self-tapes. It will help the camera open up more and give you a clearer/sharper look.
14 cont'd. Ideally you do your virtual casting session in your self-tape space because it's set-up with a plain BG, good light, quiet, etc. Just make sure the internet speed is up-to-par there. (See #11.)
15. Set a back-up recording. Want to alleviate your virtual casting-related anxiety? This is the most important thing in this thread because...
15 cont'd. sh*t will unquestionably go wrong (on your end, on their end,) and there is no bigger bummer than thinking you may have had a really great take and the director saying "oh no! You froze there for a second!"
15 again. Do your heart a favor and place a phone or camera as close to your comp lens as possible. Start recording right before you start, don't play/cheat to it, end the recording when the call is finished. (Don't futz with it during the call - it's simply a back-up.)
15 some more... even if you never need it, you will feel so much less stress knowing you're covered if they say "we think that was good, it was just really glitchy."
16. If you forget to set a back-up recording and there's some obvious glitchiness, plan to self-tape as soon as you can with the notes you were just given.
17. Make sure you turn notifications off or put your devices on Do Not Disturb (airplane mode is ok but you have to turn your WiFi off on your phone otherwise it'll still ring.) Those dings and rings that come in on your computer are UNBELIEVABLY loud on Zoom.
18. If session is on Zoom, pin the reader and then go to your picture box, click the three dots in the upper-right hand corner and choose "hide self-view." (You're welcome.)
18 cont'd. An excellent lo-fi solution if you are struggling to find that option is just to grab a little sticky note and put it up over your box so you aren't watching yourself.
19. Avoid the instinct to step back/away from your computer to give yourself more space. It's already hard to see you with these computer cams, streaming issues, etc. Don't make your face even tinier in the frame than necessary. Aim for the same frame as your self-tapes. #Rhymes
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Keep Current with Erica S. Bream, CSA

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