My Self-Tape Evolution
A brief history of how my self-taping improved
(By Kesha Tyler)
(Photo: Cottonbro | Pexels)
My early self-tapes were a rather shitty affair. I’m embarrassed to say it, but it’s true!
Before the pandemic, when self-tapes were less common, I would get self-tape requests. They were annoying little buggers.
“Oooh, we’re too cheap or too lazy to rent an audition space. Can you just send us a self-tape?” (At least, that’s the way I interpreted it.)
So, I would do the best I could to put something together. But those tapes were horrible! Just plain embarrassing, now that I look back on it.
But as time went on, and as self-taping became more and more mandatory, thanks to the pandemic, my self-tape game improved considerably.
Let me take you through a brief evolution of my self-taping history.
The First Generation
My first generation of self-tapes were as hideous as someone farting on an airplane in the seat in front of you. They were just hard to watch.
I would usually do them in my car as I was going about my day. It was literally just me, saying the lines, while holding up my cellphone. I cared nothing for production value. I figured, as long as they could see me and hear me, that’s all that mattered.
The Second Generation
My second generation of self-tapes got a little better. But they still weren’t very good. I stopped doing them haphazardly from my car, at this point. I began putting forward a little more effort.
These pre-pandemic, second generation tapes produced in my apartment. I would place my cellphone on a table, at eye-level. I would remove pictures from the wall so that my background was empty.
My second generation of self-tapes got a little better. Some even got me some callbacks!
I would use natural light, or I would use a lamp with the lampshades tilted towards me. That was my lighting scheme.
All-in-all, those tapes were more watchable. Some even got me some callbacks!
The Third Generation
When the pandemic hit, I knew it was time to take self-tapes more seriously. I went from getting occasional self-tape requests to receiving over 90% self-tape requests.
In-person auditions vanished overnight. Even large roles were now requiring a self-tape for the first round of auditions.
So, I stepped my game up.
*My new lighting scheme became a ring light.
*An adjustable tripod replaced my table.
*A clean, blue drape replaced my empty wall as my backdrop.
*I purchased a microphone attachment to use when needed.
*And my cellphone will soon be replaced by a more professional camera.
It’s been quite an amazing evolution, from my early self-tapes to the ones I produce now. And the quality keeps getting better and better.
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