How to ‘Self-tape’ for a Commercial Casting
So! As I’m away, I had to self-tape my own commercial casting for a VERY big job, as I’m not here for the actual casting (completely typical!)
I’ve never done this before, but having done a trillion commercial castings in my lifetime, I generally know the patter and what they were after.
The most important thing here is to pick a location with a plain background and great light. Natural light can be more flattering, as long as it’s not streaming in from one direction (as I’ve said before, side light can show up a few sins!) Most people have quite harsh overhead, yellow lightbulbs inside, which is unflattering. Do try to go film when there is most light in the room so you don’t need to switch these on, otherwise there’s a real risk of your eyes looking like dark empty black holes of evil nothingness.
Another annoying thing is that most of us don’t have plain white backgrounds. There are radiators and plug sockets and posters everywhere. To add to this, I was at my boyfriend’s Mum’s house, which is like a grotto – no wall is left untouched! You don’t want the client looking at artwork or lists on the fridge or bicycles on the wall or creepy Marionette puppets in the back (seriously, this is all where he lives).
Another reason this self-tape was tricky was that the client wanted the casting filmed LANDSCAPE! It was mostly of my head and shoulders, so we could have found a tiny patch of plain wall somewhere to film against close in, but a full-length landscape would reveal my bf’s mum’s inimitable furnishings (I love her flat btw, it just isn’t suited to anything requiring ‘plain backgrounds’).
Luckily, I have an industrious boyfriend who suggested filming outside against a white sheet (if there was a plain brick wall or fence, that would have sufficed, but there are ground floor flats in his building). I really recommend outside as it’s flattering light. And yes, as you’ll see it looks a bit funny for the full length, but they will hopefully understand that we’ve been industrious!
So: you’ve picked a decent location (not easy). Now it’s about either setting your camera up on a tripod if you’re alone or roping in a pal. Don’t bother with a parent unless you really trust them, as they’ll get stressed that they don’t understand your phone and wobble the camera and get all huffy, putting you off. I got the brilliant designer Alex Hadjikyriacou of House of Had, whilst my boyfriend directed.
Then just go for it! You aren’t getting harried by a stressed, bored casting director who needs to rush through your casting, so you can take as long as you want and try as many times as you want! Check out that flirty look between each profile – a proper casting trick all models should know. Here was my Ident…just click on the hyperlink below (WordPress isn’t posting it as a vid, for some reason).
Click here to view my ident! – the dog barking adds character, I think!
I then had to do a ‘flirty look to camera’! This bit I found really cringey in front of my friends BUT I just had to think of the money! We filmed loads of takes because I kept flitting between ‘painfully embarrassed’ and ‘Carry On’ vibes.
Lastly…This wasn’t really called for, but I thought that I might recreate what they sent on the ‘treatment’, which means mock up of the advert and description of what each actor does. It wasn’t asked for, but if my Booker didn’t think it was appropriate, she could just choose not to send it to the client. And if it was, then we’d gone the extra mile!
Basically, I was the ‘Wife’ and draping myself across my hubby. My ‘Husband’ had been showing off to his own reflection, and checking out his face while he gets ready.
I can’t believe what a sport he was but my boyfriend, Theo, actually did what I asked of him! Bearing in mind he found it a bit (extremely) painful, he still did it for me and he looks so cute! (And handsome!) In fact now he’ll probably get it instead of me!
My booker loved it and is sent it all off, pronto. Wish me luck!