It has been over a year now that self-taping has become the new normal. Since the beginning of the pandemic, many of us have become quite skilled at self-taping from home with makeshift setups and spouses or roommates as readers. Although it’s a gift to have been able to continue to audition from the comfort of home, there are three habits you want to nip in the bud now in preparation for days when you will be auditioning live or back working on set.
1. Don’t let yourself get in the habit of being a 20-take-wonder.
Yes, when you have the time to tape at home casting is expecting that you have the time to submit a solid take free of line flubs and those less than perfect takes that can occur live in the room due to nerves. But if you’re in the habit of taping each scene 10–20 times before nailing it, you’re very much sabotaging yourself in your future. On set you’ll never have 20 kicks at the can and certainly not in a live audition room either. Pro tip: practice scenes and mock auditions where you do your script analysis and put scenes on tape as often as possible practicing getting to those golden moments in fewer and fewer takes. Practice makes progress.
2. Don’t let yourself engage unprofessionally with your self-tape reader.
Continue to maintain respectful and professional etiquette even when in the comfort of your own home. Don’t let yourself develop impatience or other bad behavior while taping at home. Normalizing that energy and behavior in your process will mean it can also show up on set, in the waiting room, and in your own energy body in the audition room. Pro tip: treat your reader (whether it be a roommate, friend, cat, or spouse) as you would any on set colleague. Practice patience, learning to give feedback and direction with direct kindness, and get in the habit of going easy on them and yourself in those high pressure or stakes moments, and that behavior will be available for you when it counts.
3. Don’t get so busy trying to execute and deliver that you forget presence and play.
Remind yourself that you love doing this! Yes, this is your job but it’s also something more. This is your art. Your vocation. Being an actor is a great gift. Don’t get so lost in trying to get through it that you forget to enjoy it. If you can delight in your own work now, from home, when no one is watching, you’ll continue to do so on that sound stage. Pro tip: after you’re all set up and ready to go, take a moment before that first take. Look in the mirror, into your own eyes, and remind yourself that this is your passion. None of us ever know which audition could be our last. Be present and let yourself have fun.
Enjoy your tapes and enjoy your talent, and you’ll give space for the industry to do the same!
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