Self-Taping and Submitting a Reel from Home

Now that the technology available to the public has caught up to the quality that used to only be accessible through professionals, it’s no surprise that many auditions are moving to self-taped reels. While this gives the artist greater control over what directors see, there are still important things to keep in mind when filming to guarantee the quality matches the talent.

The Camera

Ultimately, the camera doesn’t matter a whole lot so long as it has high definition quality. There are a ton of accessories that can be purchased to make the reel look even more professional, but the only two that really matter are an external microphone and lights. Crisp, clear sound is an absolute must and no phone can capture audio quality that’s good enough. Lights mean better control of the look and feel.

The Shot

The background should be plain and your shirt should be form fitting with no patterns. Make sure the shirt color and the background work well together and that the color is flattering on you. As for laying out the shot, you’ll want what’s known as a tight frame. This means it goes from your chest to just above the top of your head. Also remember to position the camera at eye level. Keep still and allow your face to do the emoting. Too much movement is distracting.

The Delivery

Read the casting call directions. The directors will give you exactly what they’re looking for and what they expect from the reel. As with a live audition, make sure your lines are fully memorized. If it’s a dialogue, hire the help of a friend, preferably another actor, to read lines with. Using another’s energy to film a scene can add a whole new level to your performance that helps you stand out.

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