The Power of Self-Testing: A Game-Changer for Actors

In the ever-evolving landscape of the entertainment industry, self-taping (or self-testing) has emerged as a powerful tool for actors to audition for roles. Gone are the days of solely relying on in-person auditions. Self-testing allows actors to take control of their audition process, showcase their talents, and land roles with greater efficiency and flexibility. Let’s explore some of the pros and cons of self-taping for auditions: 


Convenience and Flexibility:

One of the most significant advantages of self-testing is the convenience it offers. Actors can audition for roles without travelling long distances or take time off from work to attend a hurried in-person audition. This flexibility allows actors to balance their audition schedule with other commitments, such as work or family responsibilities, making it easier to pursue their acting career. 

Control Over Performance:

Self-testing gives actors complete control over their audition performance. They can choose the location, lighting, and background to best suit the character and scene. This control allows actors to present themselves in the best possible light and showcase their acting abilities without the distractions or limitations of a traditional audition setting. Actors can even choose to film their audition in a location fitting the given circumstances of the scene, or a place special to them that allows them to access a particular emotional state.

Privacy and Time:

Unlike in-person auditions where actors may have limited time to prepare and deliver, self-testing provides actors with the opportunity to rehearse and perfect their performance before recording. This extra time allows actors to fully immerse themselves in the character, explore different interpretations, and deliver a polished audition tape that captures the essence of the role.

Increased Opportunities:

With self-testing, actors have access to a wider range of audition opportunities. They can submit audition tapes for roles in different cities or even countries, expanding their reach beyond their local market. Additionally, casting directors often use online platforms to discover new talent, meaning actors have the chance to be seen by industry professionals they may not have access to otherwise.

Self-Tapes are very often used as first-round auditions. Learning how to get your best acting work on your self-tape is a great way to get invited into the audition room for final role selections. 


There are a lot of questions and concerns that arise around the topic of self-testing. Let’s address some of the common drawbacks of self-tests: 

Technical Challenges: 

Moving from in-person auditions to self-taping can be daunting to some actors. Struggles around lighting, sound and camera angels can distract inexperienced actors from delivering their best acting performance. 

The good news is that delivering a good self-tape has never been easier. Even a dated smartphone is enough to submit a perfectly serviceable self-test. A few other small affordable items can be added to your self-tape setup over time to help make things easier. Check out Peter’s list of recommended items HERE.

The most important thing to keep in mind when filming your own self-tests is: can we see you, and can we hear you. If the answers to those two are YES you’re good to go. 

Casting Directors are used to watching self-tests, and we don’t expect you to submit tapes with high production values. You will get better over time the more you practice self-testing regularly.

Peter’s online Self-Tape Mastery Course is a 4 week masterclass in everything you need to know about Self-Tapes – covering both the creative and technical side of Self-Taping. Learn More About Self-Tape Mastery.

Upload Glitches: 

Correctly uploading self-tests to the Casting Director’s preferred submission portal is important to ensure your audition is received before the deadline. 

One of the most important things actors often forget is to always compress your self-test before uploading. There are many accessible and free video compression programs available for computer and smartphone, I recommend: Handbrake.

Lack of Connection:

Some Actors feel that self-taping can be very impersonal, with no connection to the Casting Director. You may feel a bit lost in the quiet of your own space without anyone to give you direction.  One of the best ways to conquer this is by using a trusted reader you enjoy collaborating artistically with. 

As you become more experienced at self-tests you will find a freedom in working on your audition in private or with only a reader. There are definitely performance benefits in allowing yourself the time to follow your instincts away from time-pressures. We can learn a great deal from watching and directing ourselves as Actors. 


Unfortunately for the actors that dislike watching themselves on camera, successfully self-taping will mean you need to watch/edit your own footage. Love it or hate it – this is undeniable very good for your craft. Learning to put aside our self-consciousness and look at ourselves kindly as actors is one of the best artistic gifts we will ever give ourselves. 

One of the best free programs for editing self-tapes right on your smartphone is Capcut. It is very intuitive to use and there are abundant demonstrations available on Youtube. 

In Conclusion:

Self-testing is here to stay. Self-Taping has revolutionised the audition process for actors and casting directors alike, offering convenience, control, and increased opportunities to showcase their talents. By mastering the art of self-testing, actors can take their career to new heights and increase their chances of landing coveted roles.

To perfect your self-tapes under the direct guidance of a working Casting Director and renowned Acting Coach – feel free to check out Self-Tape Mastery and Self-Tape Your Showreel. 

Self-Tape Setup Equipment Guide

The following is a list of items we recommend actors have in their self-tape setup. There is no need to go out and buy them all at once – most of these can be improvised until you can afford to buy them.


It is important to be able to place the iris of the camera level with the eyes. You can always prop up your phone on furniture or books but a reliable tripod is great to have. 

SmallRig Selection 47cm – 200cm Aluminum Alloy Camera Tripod 

Compact Flexible Leg tripod (will need to be placed on furniture or wrapped around other items)

Iphone Holder Mounts:

JOBY GripTight 360 Phone Mount

YaYa Universal Smartphone Tripod Adapter Cell 

Manfrotto MCPIXI Smartphone Holder Clamp


Backdrops are recommended to be grey and free of any wrinkles or textures that can distract the eye from your performance. A functional backdrop stand and roller blind is a great investment to your self-tape setup. A grey blackout quality roller blind held up by a stand is the most versatile option, however can be a little bulky when moving house. Foldable curtain options combined with a stand are more affordable but will leave you ironing wrinkles quite often unless you choose to leave the sheet hung.

Backdrop Stand, Heorryn 8.5 x 10ft Background Stand Adjustable Photography Muslin Background Support System Stand for Photo Video Studio

Roller Blind Blockout Window Blind 100% Blackout Commercial Quality Full Shading 180cmWx280cmD Light Grey

A More Affordable Curtain: Choose Grey 3×3.6 metre option. Please note this curtain will need to be ironed as opposed to the more expensive rollable curtain above.

PRO Photo Studio Premium Polyester Collapsible Backdrop Background


The following softbox lighting are all excellent choices:

Abeststudio 2x135W Continuous Lighting Kit 20″x28″/50x70cm Softbox Soft Box Photo Studio Set Light Bulbs Lamp 5500K Photography E27 Socket Softboxes

Abeststudio Photography Softbox Lighting Kit 2X 85W 3200K-5500K Bi-Color Dimmable LED Softbox Continuous Light Studio Equipment for Portrait Product Fashion Shooting

Abeststudio Softbox Lighting Kit, 20″x28″/50x70cm Soft Box Continuous Lighting Kit


I highly recommend the Rode – MicMe microphone (make sure you choose the right connection for your phone )

·      Iphone or Ipad – Lightning

·      Android – USB 3c

·      Other – 3.5mm sound connecter 

* Please note Peter Rasmussen Acting Studio may receive a small commission from some of the above links. We own, use and recommend every item on this list.