Without a long introduction here are some tips that might help you with your next self-audition video.
Take Your Time
Since it is an audition tape, take your time. Get the lines right and do a few takes if you need. That is the nice thing about it being a recording you do in advance and send. You can do as many takes as you like before sending it. We would recommend having someone with you to add a second set of eyes as we often are our own worse critic.
If you are doing the audition tape at home do it in a place without a lot of distracting items in the background. The best is a white wall behind you. People don’t want to see your dirty laundry lying on the sofa behind you. Also, don’t allow for a lot of background noises and find the quietest space possible.
Get Someone To Read With You
Find someone to read opposite of you if the scene is a conversation. Ask a friend or whoever is holding the camera to read the other persons lines. The audio doesn’t need to be a perfect match for yours but does need to be audible in the recording.
Use the best equipment available to you. If you are using your phone to record the video hold it in landscape not portrait, also, attach it to something rather than having a friend hold it. Shaky camera is distracting. For the sound if you can try to use a lapel or lavalier microphone. Even a cheap one is going to be better than the mic on the phone or camera.
Proper studio lights are pretty pricy, but a window and natural light is pretty cheap. If it’s a rainy day or there is too much noise next to your window you can use interior lamps, just be sure to light for the shadows. Also, the light color might be a bit yellow on camera depending on your cameras color balance. This could require some color correction before you send the video.
To Slate, or Not to Slate
Hopefully you were instructed by the casting director or agent if they want a slate or not. If not, ask. Most of the time they do, but sometimes they don’t.
Export and upload the video in the best quality possible. Any modern camera or phone can do high quality video, so use it. If you are sending via a Vimeo link or Dropbox, you want the viewer not be distracted by pixilation.
The most important item in an audition tape is you and your performance. That is what you want the person watching to focus on, not distractions that could have easily been avoided. So take your time to get your next self-audition tape right.