Self-Taping & Slate Tricks: Nail your Taped Audition! | Part I

Hello Actors!



If you’re well versed in the art of self-taping, or brand new to the industry.

Your audition tape can make or break your chances for a role, of course.


Even if your content, and technique are at the same level in two tapes-

*If one tape is of poor quality, you could be skimmed through and over-looked. 

*The stories I’ve heard are astounding!

  • As in: The technical quality was so distracting, it was flat out discarded. 



Many of these audition tapes are screened with Assistant Directors, Casting Agents, and their own Assistants.


  1. They begin a process of cutting possibly hundreds, to dozens, then a handful to pass upwards.
  2. Often, roles are cast off the Actor’s tapes:

*For Episodic Television, the need is face-paced for some roles. Eliminating the time to bring Actors in for a call-back. Even cutting the re-direct process for a second taping with direction.

If you don’t believe this tape can book you a project or reoccurring role. Start Fresh!


Represent your skills, make good production choices- even if it’s a last minute tape!

  • Based on their need, and the director’s preference.

*If it’s: Commercial, Episodic Television, or Film: There could be a small group of 5 or so chosen from hundreds. You bet those Actors did the work.

I know you will too!

  • With these Trips & Tricks, you will separate from the pack!
  • This is the foundation of your work.
  • It doesn’t go unnoticed!

Let’s get started!

Here are Self-Taping & Slate tricks to set you up for success!

  • The next Article- is all about a DIY Studio for self-taping:
  • Check it out for full Products such as: Lighting, Audio, Backdrops etc.


Your Frame: Aim for a Medium-Shot. Often used to present a character and their surroundings.

  • Center yourself.
  • Aim for a few inches above your head.
  • Cut-off at underarm level.
  • Then, you explore within your given frame!

*Unless a full body is requested of you!

I suggest all of your slates to be filmed in a studio style, even at home, or on the go. 

*If you’re traveling use a blank backdrop, and daylight with the same techniques we discuss in the next two articles. Create a traveling kit with you!

Save your slate for the end! You may have been taught otherwise. I prefer to open with an immediate depth of work. Leaving your personality and intro, Slate, at the end.

  • That way, It’s fresh in their minds! 

Camera should be at your eye-level: 

  • However, your eyes should be fixated just away, you can use the camera’s edge for reference.

Eye’s should be illuminated:

  • You can adjust your lighting to highlight your eyes. This will showcase your depth of emotion, and expressions.

Mark your spot:

  • Pre-setting your: Lighting, Sound, Backdrop, Frame, and mark.

*All of this can be done with a buddy.

  • Then documented or marked for future taping technique.


  • Self-Tape often in your free time!
  • This will create a better knowledge of your camera’s presence, and technical skills to showcase your work.

*Auditioning is part of your work-take pride in it! 


  • Focus your lights to eliminate any shadows!
  • Use 3-point lighting.
  • I suggest either short or broad lighting technique. 

Your Audio:

  • Invest in a great microphone! A Lavalier microphone with a long cord– works best in my experience.
  • I share my favorite in the next article for you!

Vocals: Your voice should always be louder than whomever is reading opposite for you!


Exporting: Aim to export your file less than 10mb. This way, it can be send directly via email. This avoids the troubles of a hosting site with ads, or additional links.



Forget Establishing a Backstory:

Time is money!

  • Directors are looking for an established objective within the first 15 seconds, roughly. 
  • Capture their attention immediately!
  • These tapes are viewed amidst a busy day.

Draw them in:

  • Work with their environment in mind.
  • Otherwise, your tape will often be skimmed along to jump to the hearty content.

What are your goals with a tape?

  1. Established Objective.
  2. Vocal Quality & Dimension.
  3. Mannerisms.
  4. Depth of Character.
  5. Connection.
  6. Commitment.
  7. Choices.
  8. Use of the frame.
  9. Reaction.

Your Slating:

  • You may hear this in an audition as: “Go ahead and Slate.”
  • Now you state your name!

You’re an Actor! So use your time!

  • Speak with your diaphragm.
  • Enunciate.
  • Use your eye contact.
  • Inject this small window with your own personality!
  • Begin with great posture.
  • Showcase your confidence.
  • Unless told to do otherwise: Keep hair away from your face.


I hope these Tips & Tricks help you create wonderful tapes.

All with the hope to showcase your talent, and technique.

*Free of easily-avoided distractions!




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