Self-tapes continue to plague even the most talented and tech-savvy. While you shouldn’t stress too much about your self-tape, you do want it to look and sound fantastic while giving your best performance (no pressure, right?). However, sometimes your character needs to do things in the scene that you’re just not sure about in an audition setting. This post (a continuation from July’s blog post "Answers to Your Self-Tape Questions: Part One"), is meant to alleviate some of those worries when it comes to challenging scenes.
What do I do if there is a kiss in my scene?
I have recorded countless self-tapes for actors in which the scene involves a kiss. Obviously in a self-tape situation (and any initial audition, generally speaking) you are not expected to pull your reader in for a lip lock (and shouldn’t, fyi). What you can do, however, is play the moment before the kiss happens. There is often a look, a movement, an acknowledgment of some sort. Enjoy this moment. In other words, don’t skip over it just because the physical kiss isn’t actually going to happen. The powers-that-be who watch your tape are going to be looking for those moments. The same idea applies to the moment after the kiss takes place, as well.
The breakdown describes my character as either nude or scantily clad. Am I really supposed to be nude in the self-tape?
No, though this can vary slightly depending on gender. For example, if you identify as male and your character is shirtless in the scene, it’s a pretty safe option to remove your shirt when appropriate. However, those identifying as female should not appear nude in a self-tape. You never know who will be watching your tape and where it might end up. You can, however, choose a skin-colored tank top and shorts which will accomplish the look of being scantily clad, and also suffice for a scene which calls for nudity. In general, you will not be expected to remove your clothes during a self-tape or initial audition. If you get far enough along in the casting process where it becomes imperative that you show your body, you will be given instructions on what is needed from you. When choosing how much to reveal during a self-tape, follow this rule of thumb: if what you're doing feels uncomfortable, you probably shouldn't be doing it.
My character uses a weapon in the scene. How do I play this?
Well, for starters, don’t use an actual weapon. You should never bring a weapon into an audition room - trust that any props you need will be provided by the casting director. If recording a self-tape, you don’t want to scare your reader by waving an actual knife around. There are two ways to approach the scene: you can either use an object similar to the weapon (think fake knife or something similar to the shape and size of the weapon) or you can mime the action without using any props. The key is to not let any prop you use overshadow your performance.
Stay tuned for a future post titled "Answers to Your Self-Tape Questions: Part Three" regarding the technical nitty gritty of editing and sending your self-tape files.