Bonnie, great column last week.

I agree that we, as actors, must become more comfortable self-submitting taped auditions much like we submit other materials online. I would suggest another problem with getting actors to submit tape is that many actors have no real idea how bad any audition tape looks… even those done in an audition room with a decent camera.

Factors such as light and sound are missing there as well. You and the other professional casting people are talented enough to see past these imperfections to judge an actor’s fit for a role, thankfully! When I look at my own self-produced tape, I can’t help but to compare it mentally to polished, edited, professionally-shot material from finished projects.

I empathize with your friend’s dilemma, looking for a good camera or even a studio to tape an audition. We all like to think we are submitting our best work.

I think some reassurances from the casting community that you aren’t looking for polished production might nudge a few more of us to self-submit tape.

Thanks for your generosity with your time and knowledge,
Stuart McClay Smith

Stuart, these are such good points. This is where that whole “intern in a casting office if you can” advice comes around. There is so much an actor can learn about what’s really going on, about what’s going in front of the decision-makers, just by being something more than an “auditioning actor.”

We send so many rough tapes, sloppy uploads, poorly-lit moments of actor brilliance to the decision-makers because the point is, “Does the actor solve my problem right now,” rather than anything about shot composition or anything else. Of course, if the acting isn’t great, we’ll notice everything wrong with the technical stuff, because the acting isn’t holding our attention enough to dismiss everything else. But if the acting is amazing? We’re in.

One of my favorite examples is this is one of the actors who made it to final five director sit-downs for a role opposite Ernest Borgnine in Another Harvest Moon. One of the five actors who made it to that level shot his scenes on a crappy cell phone camera (and this was years ago, before the iPhone made filmmaking a viable option on a phone), because it was all about the work, at that point. And if the work isn’t clicking, we’ll notice the crap. If you’re amazing and the conditions are crap? We’ll still see the amazing work and at least get you a better opportunity to show of your work at the next round of auditions. Fact.

But the people who fear that that’s just not true — if they’re not just mired in their own Resistance — are just not sure, yet. It’s like the yellow curb loading zone free parking after 6pm trick. You won’t believe it works ’til you do it and have success doing it. Until then, you’ll talk yourself out of it, saying it’s a bad idea and the risk is too high (and, if we tie this back to this week’s column topic on IMDb and actors’ ages, you’ll possibly use it as another way to say things aren’t fair and you’re not being given a shot).

Oh, and before I forget, an amazing list of Dos and Don’ts on self-taping was generated by the good folks at Actors Access a bit ago, and y’all should grab this PDF. Good stuff! Thank you, Actors Access!

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.

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1 Comment

  1. upinder raisauda April 7, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    Many people are comfortable with online auditions or self – taped audition so i think self – taped audition is a wonderful idea for all actors and producers and director.. i really appreciate this blog for such a useful and valuable information.


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