Give Me Feedback on My Self-Tape, or Pay Me for It!
Casting directors don’t even give us the courtesy of a little feedback on our self-tapes
(The Anonymous Actor)
(Photo: Andrea Piacquadio | Pexels)
I am about to unleash my fury on this page! If you don’t want to hear a full-on, profanity-laced rant, you might want to look away.
Let me start with a basic, undeniable premise: Actors should be paid to do self-tapes.
Let me repeat that: ACTORS SHOULD BE PAID TO DO SELF-TAPES! It is un-fucking believable that we are not!
We save them money and time…
When a casting director conducts an audition, they SPEND money, don’t they? They have to pay their casting assistant to assist with the details. They might have to pay a session director or reader. They have to pay for the studio where they conduct the auditions. They pay for whatever equipment, supplies and props they need for the audition, too. And, since time is money, don’t forget about the time, energy and labor they put into conducting the auditions.
The problem with self-tapes is that those costs – and burdens — are now being passed onto the actor. The casting director gets to SAVE money by demanding that we poor actors foot the bill.
With self-tapes, WE pay for the studio time by setting up our in-home studio. WE sacrifice our time setting up the lighting and getting the sound right. We pay our friends or spouses to be our readers and to be camera operators (or we ask them to do it for free, when they should be getting paid). WE have the burden of editing and everything else.
So, like…. shouldn’t WE be getting paid for our services and the services or our friends and spouses??? If we’re saving them money, how about we get a little taste for our labor?
The problem with self-tapes is that those costs – and burdens — are now being passed onto the actor.
We are compensated when we go to a fitting after we book a job, aren’t we? We get compensation for all kinds of minor things: mileage, use of our personal wardrobes, et cetera. Granted, these payments come after we book the job. But the point is, they are payments that acknowledge and reward the EXTRA effort we put into making the project a success.
So, how about a small amount of compensation for self-taping? Just a taste! Just something, ANYTHING, to acknowledge and appreciate the extensive effort we put into doing these self-tapes.
How about some feedback, instead?
Now, before any of you smart alecks attack me in the comments section, let me be clear: I’M JUST KIDDING!!! I’m 90% kidding, at least. I know this is never going to happen.
It’s unrealistic. It would essentially amount to casting directors paying actors to audition for them.
Not gonna happen! Ever! I know.
But how about this for a healthy alternative:
How about they give us some feedback after we send them the self-tape that took us 1-3 hours to complete?
Are they too busy for that? Well, bless their sweet fucking hearts!
I mean, all they would have to do is send us two sentences:
Here’s what I liked about your self-tape: (insert positive comment)
Here’s what I didn’t like about your self-tape: (insert constructive criticism)
That, my friends, would be compensation enough. Because, 1) they took the time to acknowledge our self-tape and the extensive work that goes into it, and, 2) they gave us invaluable feedback on ways we can improve, as actors, so that we get better and better with each self-tape that we do.
Am I asking for too much, here? It’s two fucking sentences!
Casting directors are asking for too much, sometimes
Now, I wouldn’t be writing this if self-tape requests were simple, one-take affairs. But we all know that’s increasingly not the case.
How about they give us some feedback after we send them the self-tape?
Casting directors want multiple takes. They want extra adlibs included, on top of that. They want a full body pan and pictures included. They want a separate slate. They want perfect lighting and perfect sound and perfect background, and on and on.
And, of course, it must be well-edited. And what if you live alone and can’t get a reader? Too bad they say. It counts as a strike against you.
All I’m saying is…
All I’m saying is, if they’re going to make us do all the work that they used to do, which saves them time and money, and if they’re going to demand the perfect self-tape, how about we get a little appreciation for the one or two or three hours we spend trying to put the damned thing together?
As it stands, they don’t even give us the courtesy of a little feedback on our self-tapes! We just send it into cyberspace, never to be heard from again.
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