Self-Taping & Slate Tricks| 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. 

With adjustments, you can ensure your tapes showcase your work, in the best light.


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!

*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. Or a simple sticky note on the floor of your hotel, make it work.


  • 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.


  • 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.

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. When your making strong choices with good production quality, you will draw them in.
  • 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!




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s