How a Coach Can Help With Your Young Actor’s Self-Tape

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Photo Source: Photo by Ionut Coman Photographer on Unsplash

Self-taped auditions are just as important as in-person auditions. Parents and young actors alike need to take them seriously because they can lead to great opportunities. So the question of whether or not to seek professional help in creating the best self-tape for your child is an important one.

Ultimately, the choice depends on you, your child, and the audition. Most kids and teens can benefit from coaching. A credible coach will show your child actor things in the script she may never have thought about. If you’re short on time, you can still Skype with a coach and handle the filming yourself.

Money is also a factor when it comes to coaching, and only you know your situation. In my opinion, if you’re going to pay a professional to produce your child actor’s self-tape, you should pay for their coaching, too. Assuming you do your research and find a reputable, recommended coach, it can help your young actor stay competitive. As much as you might be tempted to coach your young actor yourself, don’t. Kids learn bad habits that can take quite a bit of time to break.

A good self-tape is more about the acting quality anyway. The outcome still depends 80% on your child or teen, not the coach. The taped audition will always be substance over form and acting quality over picture quality. It’s simply far more important than the quality of the tape itself because the audition is about the actor, not the videographer.

Whether or not you work with a coach, you might still end up filming your child’s self-tape and should keep some simple tips in mind. Casting directors give specific slating, filming, and submission directions. Follow them. You run the risk of your child’s tape not being seen simply because you didn’t follow directions. During taping, young actors will sometimes give a quick peek back to the camera to see if it’s still focused on them. Encourage your child to focus on the reader, not the camera. If you’re reading for your child, don’t overshadow them. It’s not about you.

Also, consider the lighting of where you tape and make sure there are no shadows. Tape somewhere quiet without background noise and use a light grey or white backdrop. If you use an iPhone, make sure it’s horizontal and attached to a device that secures it on your tripod.

Your child’s audition tape will always be more about the acting than the beauty of the tape. With that said, stay competitive and use a good coach if you can. Let your coach absorb the headaches so you can go back to your blissful life as a stage parent. This is an opportunity that could very well change the direction of your child’s career. At the very least, it’s also an opportunity to be seen and remembered.

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The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

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Todd Etelson
Todd Etelson is a top NYC kids and teen acting coach, specializing in on-camera television, film, and audition technique. In 2004, he founded Actors Technique NY (ATNY), a TV and film school for serious young actors.
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