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Basic Outline and Description
Pamela Carrier
Updated 1 year ago

Basic Outline and Description: 

If you don’t have a showreel, we highly recommend that you create an ‘Intro to Camera’ self tape video for Casting Directors to quickly get a sense of how you perform on camera.

Your self tape should give casting directors and clients an idea of who you are and what you are capable of. It should also set you apart from the competition by highlighting something that is unique about you. This could be related to your skills, creativity, or personal experiences. 

Other than your headshot, your intro to camera video may be the only thing Casting Directors look at before deciding whether or not they want to bring you in for an audition.

So as you can imagine, it’s a really good idea if your self tape is fun, creative, and highlights what makes you… you! 


A self-tape should only be approximately 30 seconds long


Make sure to include the following:

  • Name

  • Location

  • Height

  • If you have experience, provide a few highlights

  • Something interesting about yourself

    • Could be a story

    • Skill that is unique (singing dancing, standup, etc)



A no-frills digital camera or an iPhone is all you need. 

Make sure that you: 

  • Shoot the footage in horizontal/landscape format, never in portrait. 

  • Use a mounting bracket for your mobile device so that the video is stable and does not distract from your performance.


Try to light yourself with 2 lights on either side (Make sure they are as close to white as possible) or even better, get yourself a ring light. You don’t want any shiny orange light hitting you and no light coming from above causing shadows — Casting Directors want to see you, not half your face covered in shadow! 

If you don’t have good lighting, try to make use of natural light by filming in front of a window. Just make sure you are facing the window, otherwise all the Casting Director will see is your silhouette. 

Remember, the best possible lighting can be created through natural lighta ring light, or c stand lighting


Try to have a clean backdrop, free of artwork, plants or anything else that might draw the viewer’s attention. A clean blue, grey or white backdrop is a good choice. 



The best framing is a mid-shot to a medium close up — this means shooting your video so that you are visible from about the mid-waist up. 

Look off slightly to the right of the camera, do not look down the lens — that’s considered a no no. 

Wardrobe & Makeup

Don’t wear any clothing that will draw attention away from your face and ensure your makeup is natural. Avoid brand names, patterns on clothing and heavy make up. Remember, you want the casting director’s attention to be 100% on you and not your clothes or makeup. 


Read your dialogue clearly and perhaps add in a little creativity where possible to show the casting director your abilities as an actor and your acting style. 

If you’re looking for more inspiration or details check out our blog post on How to Film a Self Test That Rocks

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