I am extremely excited to present the second post of my series – The Top 10 Tips for Self-Tape auditions.
Today I’ll be sharing the wonderful Janet Hampson’s tips. Janet has over 20 years experience working in the industry. Janet’s credits range from series for ITV (Coronation Street), BBC1 (Citizen Khan), BBC2 (Hebburn), BBC3 (C-Bomb, Lunch Monkeys), CBBC (The Johnny & Inel Show) and Sky (The Cruise, Little Crackers). Needless to say, Janet is known in the North and London for her exceptional work!
I recently went to see a piece of theatre Janet cast called ‘Down the Dock Road’ at the Royal Court in Liverpool. It was a funny, gritty and a moving piece of theatre – definitely one to watch and one to be proud of. You can find the rest of Janet Hampson’s credits on her website along with FAQ’s section at the bottom of the landing page.
Don’t forget to go to Janet’s website here: Janet Hampson CDG Website
Now, without further ado – please find the questions and responses below. As i’ve said before this information can be crucial to actors who simply don’t know what to do with themselves when a self tape auditions come through. A big thank you to Janet for taking the time to share her thoughts on self tape auditions and allow us to gain some insight into how it’s meant to be done.
1. What is the biggest tip you could give actors regarding the quality of the video?
Ask a decent reader to read in with you – if you can’t find an actor friend, please don’t ask your neighbor/nan – it won’t help you give your best performance.
2. Is an iphone or camera phone that best way to go for filming?
They are easy as you can upload straight from the phone, and the quality is good enough to be able to tell if it’s worth bringing the actor in later. Use a tripod once you have set up your shot. They make them for phones too.
3. What is the perfect frame for the actor’s body on camera?
I’d say ask what the director/producer want, but if you can’t find out, a mid shot. Anyone reading in with you should NOT appear at all.
4. Could you give us some insight into where is best to film your self-tape auditions?
Film yourself against a neutral background without outside sound interference if possible. It is very distracting to see dirty pots in your background!
5. Dress neutral and basic in the video or would you suggest to dress geared towards the role?
You can dress neutral but with some kind of nod to the role. Don’t go in for ‘costume’ or full on character make up.
6. Biggest tips for the actor to let the reader know before filming?
Tell them what is happening in the scene, rehearse it, practice how you want it to be.
7. Should actor’s slate before the self-tape begins or do you prefer an edited version with text, spotlight pin and contact details?
I prefer the actor’s name to come up over the first few frames of the self-tape, before the scene begins, then there can be no question of who is about to speak.
8. Best ways to submit the self-tape to the Casting Director? Do you have any sites you prefer? (Vimeo, We Transfer, IMovie Version?)
I can open and send on most self tapes. Vimeo is easy to use for both parties.
9. What has been your most memorable able self-tape audition to date? (Good or Bad)
Scarlett Alice Johnson did an absolutely brilliant self-tape for me once. If she had been in the room, I don’t think I could have found any notes to give her – she was fabulous.
10. Any final tips or pointers you’d like to pass on to actors on self-tapes?
Nothing is quite like being in the room, but if you genuinely can’t get there, give it your best shot by self-taping and getting it there speedily. If you don’t know the technology, find a teenager and take a lesson!
Thank you again Janet for all the responses you’ve provided me and for my readers. I hope this helps gives actors a better idea of what it takes to produce a successful self tape audition! It is important when moving into a digital age that everyone is up to speed on the level of professionalism it takes to get noticed on camera and off.
Everyone make sure to go and follow Janet on twitter @JanetHampson and check out her website to keep up to date with any posted auditions, opportunities or FAQ on submissions.
Hearts & Flowers, HCx
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