Feedback on Get Down with Self-Taping

Got a lot of great “yes, and…” regarding last week’s column Get Down With Self-Taping. Let’s dig in!

Good morning, Bonnie!

Earlier this summer, I went out of town for a few days. As luck would have it, I was offered an audition for a film. I asked if I could put the sides on tape. Permission granted and sides acquired, I filmed, edited, and submitted my video audition. That was a Friday. On Monday, I was offered the role. A week later, I was at the table read, then on set, filming. Throughout the process, various members of the awesome production team told me they had seen my audition and loved it, which was really sweet of them.

The movie is called You Me & Her. It was written and directed by the fabulous Sarah Doyle, who was one of eight selected for this year’s AFI Directing Workshop for Women. The film stars Shannon Woodward from FOX’s Raising Hope. I play her in flashbacks at age 16. 🙂

Just remember, folks: Hugh Laurie taped his audition for House in a hotel bathroom!

Have a wonderful week, Bonnie and company!

Allie Costa
Tiny but shiny.

I love this so much! (Bonus points for a fab logline, Allie. Truly you!)

Concrete examples of self-taping *working* are wonderful, and even more wonderful (yes, really) is the awareness that you must self-tape regularly to be so comfortable with the process that when the right opportunity aligns, your self-taping skills are unquestionably outstanding, so your talent can shine through.

Here’s another of the wonderful emails I received on this topic.

Hello Bonnie!

Just read your “Self-Taping, Get Down With It,” and I totally agree!

Additionally, I have learned more from self-taping than I have in any on-camera class… it’s one-on-one training, let’s be honest. 🙂

I’ve been in this business for a long time and have been self-taping since 2007. It was born out of necessity, gas was too stinking expensive, and my new agent was totally on board with it! I’ve since changed agents, but I am in Atlanta and average two auditions per week. For not being in LA/NY, that’s not bad.

I have learned to become more and more comfortable auditioning because I do it so often now, AND I can look at what I did right, and what I did wrong. As is happening more and more often in our region, actors are BOOKING off of those self-tapes. I booked a WB feature opposite Drew Barrymore off of a self-tape.

The self-tapes become the audition, the callback, and the screen test all at one time, if the CD is clever enough to ask for multiple takes (especially for Under-5s), so they can see your transitions into the beginning and ending, and the various ways you would do the scene, if directed.

This is where actors MUST be at the top of their game: You have to direct yourself! Again, this is best learned by DOING over and over and over… and watching over and over… seeing others in classes and workshops over and over… watching those shows you’re auditioning for over and over, etc. 😉 Many actors don’t like to watch themselves, but at this stage in the game, technology has us all hostage at a survival-of-the-fittest type adeptness.

Many actors are technology-challenged, and argue that they do not need to learn anything, that they can just call/find someone else to do it for them. But, unfortunately, that mentality is what is killing careers.

Best bet? Learn how to self-tape. Do it for your own fake auditions. You are, essentially, having an on-camera class for yourself at least one time per week where no one but you and your camera operator-slash-reader is watching… heck, just turn the camera on and let it be just you, yourself, and no one else for a while, then graduate to having a reader. Then, when the face-to-face comes, it’s almost a piece of cake. 🙂 The reader and camera operator have changed, the physical building has changed, but YOU and your imagination of your scenes have not changed at all. It takes the fear out because it’s more familiar.

Thank you, Bonnie, for all your GREAT insights! I dearly love reading your columns and appreciate how you help others!

Jackie Goldston

Nothing but AMEN and woo hoo, here, Jackie! This is great advice and I so appreciate you writing in to share it with the readers of The Actors Voice. Keep up this new version of the acting class! It’s great practice and obviously, it pays off. 🙂 Rock on!

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

Originally published by Actors Access at Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

(Visited 85 times, 1 visits today)

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.