The 7 Best Acting Self Tape Tools Under $20

By R.G.

This is my second cycle of an NYC pilot season. I’ve opted to grind away at my 10,000 hours at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. 

Actor CEOs, how is your self-tape grind? Here are 7 Self-Tape Pro Tips to keep you going this pilot season.

Pro Tip # 1 – Have A Reader on Lock

Have a reader (or three) on speed dial and one in your pocket for quick turnarounds. Get a solid ‘yes, I can definitely be your reader’ from your actor friends. Don’t rely on maybes or *ahem* flakes. Now’s the perfect time to create an actor’s exchange.  

Get connected with a real live actor as a reader for free with the Actor Trade App. (Tell ’em Actor CEO sent you!)

Pro Tip # 2 – Prep, Prep, Prep

Prep before recording. Treat it like an in-person audition. Work before the camera rolls so when you call action, you can have fun and take all those juicy artistic risks… in the comfort of your own home!

Pro Tip # 3 – Stay Ahead of The Deadline

Don’t wait until 11:59 PM on the day of the deadline to submit your footage. Build a habit. Once the ECOcast or email comes in from your agent, get to work that day.

Pro Tip #4 – Know Your Details

All slates are not created equal. Read the taping instructions. Some casting directors want your name and city. Others want height, weight, and rep. If you’re not sure, ask your agent or message the casting director on the EcoCast. And don’t forget about framing. If they want a shoulder width frame that zooms out into a full body shot, make sure your frame is shoulder width that zooms out into a full body shot.

Pro Tip # 5 – A Professional Look Is Everything

Set a personal standard. If casting says iPhone is fine, nothing special needed, remember your ActorCEO brand, professionalism. A professional space is more inviting. It helps the casting director focus more on your hard-earned work. Don’t let bad audio, lighting, or shadows take away from your brilliant acting. Now is your time to shine.

Pro Tip # 6 – Check, Don’t Obsess

Playback your footage before your reader leaves and double-check the audio. That includes the volume of the reader. Make sure their voice is not on blast. Also, give yourself a limit. Don’t obsess. Record three times and you’re done. Be confident in your choices. Work what’s in your control. You’ve earned this, you’re ready!

Pro Tip # 7 – Up Your Self-Tape Skills

Strengthen those self-taping skills. Snag access to the Self Taping 101 course. Use ‘ActorCEO101’ for a massive discount so you can work on personalizing your own self-tape studio. Think of it as ActorCEO goodies to help build the best audition mindset–I’m a working actor, here to work.

Bonus Nugget For My SAG-AFTRA Members

If you’re in NYC head to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation Website and sign up for a casting access profile. Not only will you get access to some sick, career changing classes, you’ll have access to two free, 15 minutes self-tapes per week! 

It’s pilot season actors! May your auditions be fruitful and lead to bookings. Or multiply and build connections. There’s a saying–if you stay ready, you’ll always be ready. Another favorite: luck and success is opportunity meets preparation. So get to work. When you’re not brand building, leave Mike a comment or tweet about your latest self-tape success at ActorCEO.