How Much Time to Take Between Your Slate + Audition on a Self-Tape

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Q: In self-taped auditions, how much time should I take after my slate before I begin the scene, and how much time should I wait before breaking character to end the audition?

Most of the time when actors start a self-tape audition, they put their slate in a separate take. But in the case of the scenario you’re describing, where it’s all going to be in one, I would say you should introduce yourself, then take a moment to become the character and feel the character. Turn around if you need to. Then, turn back to us in character. 

I would also say that before you start the acting portion of your audition, stay in the character’s mindset until the moment you become uncomfortable. That way, you know you’re fully there. 

Now, if you’re self-taping, you can always edit out those gaps or pauses. However, if you’re in the room and the casting team is telling you, “OK, we’re just going to slate, and then go right into it,” just remember that it’s always your audition. That time is granted to you; take it.

Do what you need to do to get there, and give what you want to deliver to the camera. It can be daunting, but let the experience be joyful for you. Always think about audition days this way: “This is the best day of my life, because I’m getting a chance to do what I love.” Then do it, and make us know you love it! 

Before and after my self-taped auditions, I like to linger in character. But I would say that if you have the opportunity to introduce yourself first on a separate slate and then do the character portion, that’s preferable.

This story originally appeared in the Nov. 4 issue of Backstage Magazine. Subscribe here.

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