5 Key Ingredients For A Successful Self Tape Audition

Whether you’re going to a studio that can produce your self-tape or you plan on doing the tape yourself, there are certain key things you should be thinking of:

#1  Be prepared. If you’ve been given the script days in advance or at least a day in advance, please read the material, study it, and prepare. There is nothing that reads more unprofessional than an actor who is not prepared. It’s a waste of your time, a  waste of time for the person reading with you, and does not leave a good impression amongst casting directors. The idea is not to try and book THIS job, but instead, leave an impression that will keep you in the room for the rest of your life for ALL JOBS, or at least the ones you’re right for.

#2  Show up for yourself at least 15 minutes early. If you do this, you will not be stressed out, you will have a moment in which to breathe and really get into the zone. This same rule applies across the board, even in life. Show up for yourself!

#3  Rehearsal is homework. Keep it this way, this way you don’t spend time trying to figure out how you’re going to execute the scene during your self-tape session. Come prepared and ready to play. Use the time you’ve booked or set aside to try different options that will bring you closer to the success of the scene or scenes.

#4  Be OFF-BOOK! Actors who have properly prepared and have made a choice, walk into the room with little or no doubt, confident (not Ego & Pride) and leave strong impressions with casting directors. This is the same energy you should walk in with when you do your self-tape at a studio or on your own.  Your the casting director for the next few minutes to however much time you spend on the self-tape. So just like them, root for yourself and expect the very best!

#5  TRUST. The most important ingredient for a successful self-tape. Trust that you have what it takes. That it’s in your DNA. That it lives in your spirit. This way, if you’ve prepared and you TRUST, nothing but the very best will show up.

As a side note, when you do your Slate*, make sure to take full control of this moment. Don’t shy away. It’s the one line that isn’t in the script and, it belongs to YOU. It’s truly your moment to shine and show “Who” and “What You Are!”.

*Slate: When you state your name at an audition. For some auditions, this can sometimes be followed by stating the following items: Character Name, Height, Agency, Location of where an actor resides and/or does an actor have a valid Passport. Any other items depending on the project can be added to this list. This is usually stated very clearly in the breakdown or by the casting director in the room.


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Self-Tape At Home vs. Self-Tape at VCAS

Self Tape At Home

If you think I’m going to sit here and bash you for being free and independent, that is not what’s going to happen. I encourage my students, friends and family to be free, independent and the very best within themselves. To go somewhere and have a self-tape done by someone outside of your home costs money, and sometimes, we don’t have it. I’ve been there. So let me show you how to do it on your own:

Step 1: If you have a smartphone with a camera, you’re all set.

Step 2: Find a plain white, gray or blue wall in your home. if you only have orange or fuchsia in your home, that’ll do too.

Step 3: Find someone who can read with you behind that smartphone.

Step 4: The best time to do a self-tape is during the day. You can use the natural light pouring in the window to illuminate your face. Make sure that the window is facing you and not behind you. With a string light behind you, it will create a silhouette and casting directors will not be able to see your face. (If daylight isn’t available to you. Then lamps and room lighting will do the lighting).

Step 5: Read through the scene a few times with the person reading. This way you create a nice flow. Sometimes your reader will be reading for multiple characters, and it’s a good idea for them to be very familiar, this way nothing affects the speed of the scene. Some scenes are for comedies, and require for the rhythm to move fairly quickly. Timing is everything.

Step 6: Hit record, slate if required and begin the scene. Do as many takes as you need, till you feel comfortable.

Step 7: After that, once you’ve decided which take you will submit to casting directors. You can use an app like WeTransfer to send your file. Make sure that your file is not more than 500 MB (Industry standard).

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Self Tape at Victor Cruz Studio

If you decide that you want to do your self-tape at the Victor Cruz Acting Studio, the following will be included:

  • 3 Point Lighting Setup
  • Gray Background
  • Professional Video and Sound Equipment
  • A Coach to encourage and bring out the very best in YOU.
  • MP4 File created of your audition (No more than 500MB) with titles, transitions and scene numbers.
  • All Self-Tapes are emailed via WeTransfer within 1 – 2 hours from actual self-tape.

And that’s it. You’re off and in the mix and have given yourself a chance to be seen by the best.

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When The Phone Doesn’t Ring As Often


When the phone doesn’t ring as often, what do you do? Do you sit around and wait longer or do you take control of the situation.

I got my first professional job in 2003. It was for an episode of The Sopranos on HBO. After, eight months went by and nothing. Not even the sound of crickets. I remember sitting by the window and searching for a star to wish upon through the New York City polluted sky. I think I found one or was it a plane flying by in the distance at thirty-five thousand feet. Who knows? All I know, is that when things got quiet, I started writing.

And during that time of my writing, I discovered that I was pretty good. Then I produced my first short and my best friend directed the episode. And then, there was another project, and then
another and so on and so on.

Today, I own my own production company. When the phone doesn’t ring as often, do you just start complaining, feeling sorry for yourself, or do you look at what you do have, and start making some moves?

The choice is yours. Take advantage of every moment. You’ll be very surprise as to what you discover in the process.

– Victor Cruz

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Take Control Of The Audition Room

A lot of us as actors, we don’t know our own self-worth. When we walk into an audition room, we may have planned what we are going to do, but when we see the casting director and the camera facing our way, for some reason, out of fear, we begin making different choices.

Choices that we think, the casting director wants us to do. But how can we know what is inside their heads? We don’t. So stop! Stop allowing fear to take over the spotlight in that room.

Instead, take control. Look at the camera, look at the casting director, and look at the entire room.

And in your head say to yourself “You have no control over me!” Because they really don’t. The only thing that you don’t have control over, is the final decision. That is completely out of your control.

– Victor Cruz

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Discover Your Value

So many times, we as actors go out into the world and we walk into these rooms for auditions and completely forget what we’re worth. The truth is, that the casting directors behind the cameras and tables in the room are not at war with us. Instead, they’re hoping and praying that you’re the one that they’ve been looking for. But what happens to us, is that we plan, we work on our auditions, we’re prepared and then we walk in, we see the casting director and immediately we can get in to a head space that whatever we’ve prepared, is not good enough.So we switch things up. How unfortunate. Unfortunate that we sell ourselves short and devalue our choices because we’re afraid.

Fear should not control you. Past traumas should not control you. You should be in control. How do we do that? Look at yourself in the mirror and begin to see yourself for who and what you are. Accept yourself. Love yourself (truly). Be grateful for all of your blessings. Because the blessings are gifts sprinkled throughout our journeys. You have to know, that there is no one else like you in this world. There is only one version of you. And if that is true, then what you truly have to offer, has not been seen before in that casting room. So walk in their with confidence. Honor yourself by doing in that room what you planned and do it fearlessly.

Because the truth is, this is your moment. Your slot. Don’t give it away to fear. Fear is the unknown. Embrace it and empower yourself.

– Victor Cruz

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The Starving Actor

I know what it’s like for your stomach to growl while you’re on your way to an audition. That moment when you only have a dollar to your name, and the best you can do is get a cup of coffee in hopes that the caffeine will stifle the hunger for at least a few hours. I noticed something, that when I really needed money, it would effect my auditions. I think they knew that I was hungry in the room, but the truth is, maybe that feeling or that energy wasn’t right for that character. So I had to switch my thinking and control my emotions. This way, when I walked in the room, I focused on what I was trying to accomplish in the scene.

If you’re trying to figure out, how do you make money while pursuing your career as an actor, my answer to you is this: Find a job that is flexible. Something that you can do in the early evening into night or sometimes you luck out, and you work at a place where the boss supports your dream and he or she will let you step out to auditions whenever you need.

Pursuing your dream as an actor, is not something that you can do as just a hobby. Unless you agree with yourself that from time to time you will perform at a local theater or maybe even produce your own film or web series, then at that point, there is no pressure for you. But if you are considering this as a serious profession or pursuit in your journey, you have to commit all the way. If this is something that you have dreamed of since you were a kid, then honor that child and take the first step.

The term starving artists made sense when I first started. It was also a term that we hear all the time because it’s part of the acting world culture. But I also feel, that the term can come with a bit of pain and suffering. So I say this to you, there is no reason for you to suffer on this journey as you pursue your dream and honor that child. Instead, look at every opportunity, person that you meet along the way, and lessons as some of the many gifts that are a part of this beautiful journey of yours.

– Victor Cruz

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On The Road

I love when I get a chance to travel to another state to work as an actor. I’ve traveled out to places like Los Angeles, Arizona, Miami, Baltimore, and Chicago. It’s really cool cause sometimes you visit places you’ve never been to before and it’s a really nice break from the normal rhythm of wherever you might live. When you arrive at the hotel or house that you might be staying while you film, it’s a great time to rest, clear your head, and rejuvenate for when you’re done with the job and have to head back home. So when you do return, you’re ready, with energy for the next audition or project.

I remember the first time I visited Miami. I was cast in a Budweiser commercial for the Spanish market.I ended up working with someone who I knew from New York, and so the vibe was really cool. I got a chance to enjoy Cuban coffee for the first time. And though my heart definitely skipped a beat the moment that coffee hit my system, it was truly one of the best cups I had ever had, of course, aside from my mother and Godmother’s coffee back in NYC. Which gives you a good kick to start your day.

The flan was amazing too. The quality and the texture of the flan was something I had never experienced before. By now, you the reader have shifted from acting talk to food talk and I’ve probably made you really hungry. I know I am.

Victor Cruz

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