How to Avoid Self-Tape Sabotage: PART ONE

Remember the days when we’d get an audition and there’d be a mad scramble to ensure we can make it there for the scheduled time? Maybe there’d be some work shifts to switch, some favours to pull, or maybe in the end–we’d have to decline the audition.

Well, one great thing about self-tape auditions is that we don’t need to do that anymore. We can generally fit a self-tape into our schedule.

But…there’s a lot of other things that I miss. For starters, simply walking into the room, focused and in the “zone”, not having to worry about all the technical things like lighting, camera, backdrops, props and audio.

There are some other things, but for Part one of this series, I’m gonna talk about just the technical side of things.

Those technical things use to stress me out HARD!

I live in a small house with no bare walls, two young kids, my husband hated being my reader, and I was dependant on daylight. Once the pandemic hit–I knew I had to make some changes.

I had to invest in myself. This wasn’t just a hobby, or side hustle–this was my DREAM, my PURPOSE. I needed to take it seriously, or else, how was anyone else ever going to? I needed to stop sabotaging all my hard work!

Now, you might be thinking–Sabotage? Why would I ever do that?

Well, it starts with self-limiting beliefs.

One way we sabotage our self-tapes is by not spending the money, to ensure we have what we need to do our job effectively. Imagine if you worked in a restaurant and you refused to buy the uniform? Or if you were a graphic designer and you refused to by a computer?

We justify spending on those things because we see it as a “real job” and it’s the cost of doing business. But when it comes to acting, well–some of us feel like if you spend money on your acting career it’s somehow going to waste. You THINK that way, then it WILL be that way.

Our minds have this funny way of finding evidence to confirm what we already believe. A belief is simply something we’ve been telling ourselves (or maybe it’s something that someone else told us) over and over again. When you do that enough, you’ll start to seek out reasons why you’re right.

Follow the steps below to learn part one of: HOW TO AVOID SELF-TAPE SABOTAGE.

  1. If you were going into work, you’d have a “place of work” right? Well, that doesn’t stop when you’re working from home. Whether it’s the bedroom, basement, or corner of your home–figure out your “go-to” area to do your self-tapes. Clear out a little corner, or at least pick an area that you can easily move things around to give yourself enough space.
  2. Invest in appropriate equipment. Stop it with the wrinkly sheets, the desk lamps, and piles of books to balance your camera on. Once you’ve found your dedicated area, figure out a way to set up a nice flat backdrop, and invest in a ring light with a tripod.

    Acting is about being seen, so proper framing and lighting is imperative. Not only will you look way better, but you won’t be restricted to just shooting in the daytime!

    Backdrops can be curtains or bedsheets, yes, but for goodness sake, IRON THEM OUT! Do everything you can to put the full attention on YOU, not on whether or not you’re gonna take that sheet down after and put it back on your bed!
  3. Quiet on set! Now that casting can see you–make sure they can HEAR you. If you can’t spend the money on a microphone yet, then just do the best you can to ensure that the dog and kids are outside, turn off your fan, and tell your spouse to turn off the TV. I for one, have to wait until everyone is in bed at night to do my self-tapes. Not a night owl? Try waking up super early to do them instead.

4. Make a wish list! You have the basics now, and that’s a great start. But you wanna keep improving your game, right? So make a list of things you want that will improve your self-tapes. I recently upgraded my ring light to two soft boxes. What I found was a more consistent and professional lighting. Then I invested in a shotgun mic. Next, I’d like to upgrade my current iPhone 8+ to an iPhone 12pro.

When you make a list of equipment that you want/need for your self-tapes, it means that you are taking acting seriously. You’re mentally priming yourself to seek out things that will help you succeed. You might start by doing some more research on what equipment works best for your budget, or what casting directors recommend.

So the next time someone asks you what you want for your birthday, or Christmas–rather than getting that sweater or video game, ask for something that’s on your wish list, so you can avoid self-tape sabotage.

Now that we’ve gotten over all the technical stuff, next week, I’ll continue this conversation in PART TWO. This is where I’ll discuss the mental game during the self-tape process that’s sabotaging your audition.


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