Putting yourself on tape used to be a pain. I remember when I first moved to New York I actually owned a video camera and was putting myself on tape for projects in LA. I would rush to the FedEx office to get it in the mail so it would arrive in time. Casting directors were still not open to the idea back then. Waiting for a DVD in the mail that may or not play on the DVD or computer was such a hassle that it was not worth the effort.
Fast forward to 2012 and it's a different story. Putting yourself on video properly is so commonplace that its now almost being expected. The expansion of broadband has made uploading and screening videos an easy endeavor. Bi-coastal means putting yourself on tape and uploading it in a file that can be sent.
However… you must remember that shooting yourself for an audition, is still putting yourself on video and basic filmmaking techniques apply. How you film yourself will effect the experience for the casting director. The biggest pet peeve I have when people put them selves on tape for me… is sound. It’s the simplest problem to solve. Go to Radio Shack and get a clip-on mic. Most cameras have a basic mic on the front but it is meant to capture all the sound around. A clip on mic (even a cheap one) will capture your voice and make the tape feel much more intimate.
Think about it from a filmmaker's prospective. Most films (if you're into them) you can forgive a shot or a bad picture even framing, but sound in a movie is much more difficult to forgive. Bad sound is the hallmark of student films. So when you send a video with bad sound the first thing it does is remind me of all the bad student films I have seen. Bad sound also takes away the intimacy of your performance. We hear an echo of a room and are very aware your surroundings. Where a simple clip mic will bring your voice in line with the closeup and make me aware of your subtleties… not the echo of the room.
If you self-tape- use a clip mic or lavalier.Alberto Bonilla is an actor, playwright, director, teacher and HOLA member. He currently teaches the Film and TV class at the Maggie Flanigan Studio.