Daily Self-Tape

Hello from Atlanta!

I’m writing from our suite at the end of a phenomenal trip back to my hometown — yes, I actually let the hubs come with me this time. 😉

My last bit of business was being the guest speaker for a Q&A event with Houghton Talent. Houghton repped me way back in my Atlanta-kid-actor days and I always offer to do events for their clients when my schedule permits. It’s awesome to get to connect with Mystie and the amazing Houghton team, plus so many ninjas who are crushing it where I grew up.

Tonight was the talk and it was awesome! I got to reconnect with actors I’ve known for nearly 20 years (yep! CRAZY to get to see folks from so far back… especially since none of us has aged at all) and I got a great topic to share with y’all, as I knew I would.

This is one that’s gotten such heat in Atlanta (and probably in other markets too, I’d imagine) that even the agents wanted it to be covered: “All these requests to self-tape are throwing off my booking ratio. How do I not get depressed about this?”

Yeah. That’s a biggie, isn’t it?

You were chugging along, going in the room, booking whatever percentage of your auditions (read more about the booking ratio here), and suddenly this whole self-tape thing is driving that ratio in the wrong direction. And it’s getting to you.

I get that this could make you less likely to want to self-tape after a while. You’re like, “Get me in the effin’ room! I can BOOK there, dangit!”

(Let’s set aside the reality that acting on camera itself involves being able to move people, deeply sometimes, without being in the same room with them. C’mon… duh. You need to get good at booking the room even if you’re going on tape to do so.)

So here’s the fix.

You’re an actor. You’re hustling so you can get more jobs in which you get to act, right?

Great. Here’s an invitation to do so. In front of an audience! Sure… maybe it’s an audience of one or two, but it’s an audience. And not just *any* audience! It’s an audience of BUYERS you know consistently have a need for solutions to the problem YOU solve!

These are folks who can truly appreciate the gift you’re sharing with them! COOL!

Do the work. Make it good. Send it off. Move on. Live your life.

Don’t get all metrics-focused and start handing off the keys to your enoughness by giving away so much power on whether you’re cast from that self-tape (or even if the dang thing gets WATCHED). You’re an actor. Act every day.

Shoot something. Rehearse something. Jam with a fellow creative. Join our totally free SMFA Ninjas Self-Tape Challenge. Become an asset your agent cannot WAIT to offer a self-tape to… because you’ve made it clear you’re going to deliver EVERY DANG TIME and never gonna grouse about what self-tapes are doing to your damn ratio.

Because you’re an actor. Create. Be awesome. Get BETTER. Put in your 10,000 hours. Perfect your pottery. Show up, shoot, dismount!

There is so much goodness that can come of this when you don’t get in your own way.

Jam with me about this in the comments just below! I’d love to know how your relationship with self-taping is… and whether you’re down for the free challenge. 🙂

Oh, and the jetsetting in my life is about to get put into overdrive! Ninjas of New York and London, grab your spots in our quickly-filling-up classes TODAY! I cannot wait to jam with y’all!

’til next time… stay ninja!

And thanks again, Atlanta, for the wonderful visit. Happy 85th, Daddy! 🙂


Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!

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10 Comments

  1. Cory Anderson September 25, 2018 at 4:33 am

    What a great night last night! Thank you so much for coming and sharing your insight with us. I have never been too obsessed with my booking ratio, but have definitely missed the magic of connecting with a casting team in person since I’ve started self-taping more and more. But you’re right, every self tape is an invitation to practice, a chance to play and an opportunity to book the room. As you said last night “Make the magic! I know you can because Meryl Streep does it!”

    Reply
    1. Bonnie Gillespie Bonnie Gillespie September 25, 2018 at 4:35 am

      Right on, Cory! 🙂 Show ’em how it’s done. Thank you for joining me last night. What a blast! 🙂 Keep me posted on how everything goes for you!

      Reply
  2. Sherry Locher September 25, 2018 at 6:47 am

    Bon! Had to give you a big thanks for this post – you are super amazing as always, but today really brought home what I’ve been zig-zagging with lately! I’ve been asked to self-tape for some TRULY spectacular folks recently, and I’ve been zigging: FREAKING YEAH! I get to have my tape seen by Xmazing!! and zagging: ugh, I am a whole film crew to do everything AND act – ugh! Then I turned my thoughts to this reality: I get one shot in the room, one. With a self-tape, I get as many as I think necessary and THAT is what gets sent to the CD. Wowza. For some I cannot get easily in the room with – as in you fine LA and other CD peeps (thank you!) – and all the CDs who are asking that I send them a reason to hire me – asking!!! – it’s all a huge win-win-WIN! I’m self-taping today and how freaking lucky am I to say that!!!

    Hugs and love from NYC, Sherry Locher

    Reply
    1. Ninja Erin September 27, 2018 at 8:02 pm

      Love that, Sherry!

      Reply
  3. Derek McDonnell September 25, 2018 at 7:43 am

    Thanks so so much for the talk last night Bonnie. (from the one who had you sign my SMFA with the silver marker so it wouldn’t get stolen again). It was that book that helped me find Houghton and decided they were my on brand agent. It wasn’t until after I signed that I found out that you were once with them as well. I have spent the last year fully perfecting everything about my self tape setup, and it is an artform in itself. I taped at a bunch of the “self tape” studios in town to steal their good ideas, and ditch their bad. and I can confidently say I know have better quality tapes coming out of my apartment than any of those places that drain actors wallets for sub par tapes. At the end of the day, I know CD’s not looking for the best quality tape of course, they are looking for the actor. But I have at least made a machine that removes every barrier of crap quality so then can see me act, and imagine it is in their movie. Rock on Bon, and thanks for the talk tonight, I feel very aligned.
    -DM

    Reply
    1. Ninja Erin September 27, 2018 at 8:04 pm

      Talk about “lurk, then lead”! LOVE how confident you are in your self-taping abilities!

      Reply
  4. Bianca September 25, 2018 at 8:18 am

    I used to be so scared of self-taping before I got my own set up. It’s now my favorite way to audition! I get to invite actor friends over to play with me, how fun! & now, I’ve started offering self-taping as a service in my market! That’s how much I love it! Thanks for teaching me the magic of self-taping, Bon. <3

    Reply
    1. Ninja Erin September 27, 2018 at 8:06 pm

      How awesome, Bianca!

      Reply
  5. Heather Alexander September 25, 2018 at 2:11 pm

    I actually love self taping. Well, love is probably too strong a word, but I really like it. I’m also the type of person who likes tests. I feel like I have a great deal of control with the material when I’m self taping. And knowing that they watched it (because I check the link) makes me feel successful. As if I have been seen.

    Reply
    1. Ninja Erin September 27, 2018 at 8:07 pm

      Rock on!

      Reply

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