UBC theatre

Self-Tape 101: 10 Tips to Audition Like a Pro!

In recent years, self-tapes have gained popularity as a great way for actors to submit an audition from the convenience of their own homes. However, filming a self-tape can feel pretty daunting, so we’ve gathered ten tips that we think will help you to shoot incredible auditions. Whether you’re looking to add to your general acting know-how, or (hint hint) preparing to apply for UBC Players Club’s Fall 2022 Mainstage, The Importance of Being Earnest, this is the post for you!

Chloe's 10 Tips to Self-Tape Like A Pro

1. Do Your Research!

Before you jump right into choosing material for your self-tape, set aside some time to look into the show you’re auditioning for. Take note of the genre, the location or time period in which it’s set, and any characters you may want to play. All of this information can be incredibly helpful when selecting material for your audition! As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to find a monologue that fits the tone of the play (or role) that you’re auditioning for. You might have an amazing comedic monologue already in your repertoire, but that won’t help the director see how your talents would fit into a tragedy. Understanding your source material is a great way to ensure that you’re setting yourself up for success!


2. Highlight Your Strengths!

Auditions are all about showing the casting directors why they should consider you for their show- so naturally, you want to use your audition to highlight what you do best! When choosing audition material, look for monologues that allow you to demonstrate your individual strengths as an actor. The best pieces are ones that allow you to show a range of your capabilities all within one performance. In other words, avoid pieces that are one-note, and look for ones that allow you to play with transitions or beat changes. If you can nail a character arc in a 60-second audition tape, you’re showing your directors that you’ll be incredibly prepared to play a dynamic character in a full-length production.


3. Practice, Practice, Practice!

Once you’ve found your material, it’s time to rehearse! Since self-tapes are fairly short, most casting directors will expect you to be off-book, meaning that you can recite all of your lines without a script. Memorizing a monologue can feel pretty intimidating, so make sure to give yourself enough preparation time so you don’t need to stress about learning your lines at the last minute. When memorizing your lines, it may help to begin by splitting the piece into sections rather than attempting to learn everything at once. Once you’ve perfected each section, you can join them back together and have an amazing monologue ready to go! Don’t be afraid to ask friends or family members for help rehearsing. Hearing some feedback can be really useful during the preparation process!


4. Choose the Right Angle!

When filming a self-tape, you’ll typically want to use a medium close-up frame, which means you’ll be filming from your chest to just above the top of your head. Make sure the camera is at eye level or just above it. You can always stack some books as a DIY tripod if you need a little extra height! As for the background, try to find something neutral that won’t distract the casting director from your performance. A solid-coloured wall in a subtle shade like white, grey, or blue works perfectly.


5. Check Your Tech!

Before launching into your Oscar-worthy performance, it’s a good idea to do a test run of your recording equipment so that you can troubleshoot any issues that may come up. Film a short clip of yourself saying a sentence or two in the location you’re planning to use, then watch it back to ensure that the lighting and audio quality are satisfactory. It would be such a drag to have to re-film your entire audition due to technical difficulties, so a quick test run can be a total lifesaver!


6. Remember Your Listener!

When filming a self-tape, chances are you’ll be the only actual actor in the room. However, in the context of your chosen material, your character is likely speaking to someone- whether it’s another character, a group of characters, or even the audience! As you say your lines, remember to visualize who you’re speaking to and how their reactions to your words may influence your character. It can sometimes be helpful to place an object at eye level off-camera to act as a reference point for where a listener might be. That way, if you need to make “eye contact” with this person at any point in the scene, you’ll have a consistent point to focus on.


7. Take Your Time!

Typically, directors will ask that your audition falls within a specific time limit (such as a 30-60 second monologue). You may be tempted to rush through your material to make sure that you can fit everything into the time limit.  Even while performing a monologue, it’s important to allow for beats (or pauses) to occur in the scene! As you film, allow yourself time to breathe and pace the lines in a way that makes sense in the context of the scene. If you’re consistently going overtime, it may be time to look for some new material!


8. Don’t Strive for Perfection!

One of the joys of self-tapes is that they provide actors with the opportunity to film a couple of takes before they settle on one they’re happy with. However, don’t fall into the trap of starting over for every little mistake! It’s so easy to allow your inner critic to take over and end up filming dozens of takes in order to get the “perfect” one. This will take up so much time and just result in you feeling super frustrated, which isn’t the best headspace to be in during an already stressful process. Remember that casting directors don’t expect perfection from you, so you shouldn’t either! It’s okay to shoot a few takes, but that’s really all you need.


9. Celebrate!

Make sure you put aside time after submitting your tape to reward yourself! Auditioning is super intimidating, and sending in a self-tape is a major accomplishment. Whether you treat yourself to a Starbucks drink at UBC, run a relaxing bubble bath, or make dinner plans with a friend, it’s so important that you find a way to practice self-care and de-stress after completing any stage of the audition process.


10. Keep Trying!

If you don’t hear back this time, don’t get discouraged! Remember, every director has a certain vision for each new project they embark on. Just because you weren’t quite what they were looking for this time doesn’t mean they didn’t still love your audition, and it certainly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t audition for other projects in the future! Even if you don’t land the role, each audition is an opportunity to gain more experience and challenge yourself as an actor. If you keep trying, your hard work is bound to pay off!


Thanks so much for reading! If you’ve got more tips, please let us know, and if you’ve got any auditions coming up, break a leg! We know you’ll be amazing. 💙🧡

Posted by UBC Players Club

Review – The Changeling by Theatre UBC

Review by Britt MacLeod

UBC Theatre Department’s production of The Changeling at the Chan Centre’s Telus Studio Theatre provides an exciting opportunity to witness a seldom-produced piece of Jacobean-era theatre. Written by Thomas Middleton and William Rowley in 1622, the play features two separate plot threads which eventually weave together. The main thread follows the romantically-tangled Beatrice-Joanna as she makes some regrettable, brutal choices, and is further entangled by a horrifyingly violent event and its repercussions. MFA Director, Luciana Silvestre Fernandes has crafted a production that is visually stunning and dynamic with its use of the three audience levels for staging, engaging ensemble choreography, and the beautiful set and lighting design by Luis Bellassai and Zach Levis, respectively.

The big payoff of the design elements is in the way they reflect thoughtful directorial choices of thematic continuity. A network of floor-to-ceiling ropes seems to stitch the three levels of audience in with the world of the play, offering a satisfying mirroring of the appearance and the plight of the corseted (and otherwise bound) female protagonist. Charlotte Di Change’s costume design features layer upon layer of sensuous red, highlighting the bloody deeds of the quintessentially Jacobean plot.

Some design choices prove less effective. In a recognizable historical convention of supporting evil with physical variation or ‘deformity’, the character of De Flores is written as being ‘ill-faced’ to match his villainy. Though we come to understand early on (and progressively more so throughout the plot) that he indeed disturbs Beatrice-Joanna greatly, the character is portrayed by the rather handsome (and engaging) Kyle Preston Oliverwhose face is not augmented beyond a few light blotches of red makeup. But rather than offering relief at the sidestepping of the prescribed metaphor, this design choice compounds confusion about the character, because with what could be understood as the impetus of his othering being omitted in this contemporized adaptation, the Disney-villain-like proportions of De Flores become all the more glaring. That being said, the work of Preston Oliver, and of Bonnie Duff is certainly laudable. Duff’s Beatrice-Joanna is marked by impressively complex micro-expressions, courageous attack, and a natural command of the language.

Although not necessarily portraying central characters, Connor Riopel as Alonzo/Madman, Abbey Laine Schwartz as Lollio and Ishan Sandhu as Antonio (or “Tony”) are standouts, each with surges of energy, bags of charm and bold physical choices.

While the subject matter of the play undoubtedly has great potential for meaning in our current times (as might be evinced by numerous recent adaptations around the world), offering an opportunity to reflect on what the director identifies as a depiction of “the reality of trauma,” this production also raises questions for this reviewer about the ways in which theatre-makers facilitate those afflicted with trauma, actors and spectators, alike. A moment of what seemed to me to be unnecessary nudity not only added fuel to this questioning but was dramaturgically disruptive. Additionally, I wondered if the nearly 400-year-old plot, which is fixated on honour and treachery, mightn’t benefit from a more satirical edge in this adaptation. Despite, or maybe because of some of the points problematized here, this production is worth seeing, as it offers a glimpse at a rather obscure play by a couple of Shakespeare’s contemporaries, and indeed raises important questions for the modern audience about rape culture and our responses to it, trauma and triggering and how theatre contributes to those conversations.

The Changeling plays nightly at the Telus Studio Theatre in the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts January 16-February 1, 2020 at 7:30 pm. Ticket prices: $24.50 Adults; $16.50 Seniors; $11.50 Students. Post-show Talkback January 22. Box Office: 604.822.2678 or box.office@ubc.ca or www.ubctheatretickets.com Website: www.theatrefilm.ubc.ca Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/629550977584876/

Posted by UBC Players Club