Self-Tape Tips Part 6: Unsolicited Tapes
Casting Directors don’t love receiving unsolicited self-tapes.
My first instinct when I receive an unsolicited self-tape is to sigh and shake my head in frustration. I value an actor’s time and effort, ESPECIALLY the effort involved in self-taping. And to receive a tape from someone who is often not right, (which is why I didn’t request them in the first place,) bums me out HARD.
Here are a few ways an unsolicited self-tape could backfire:
- The material is super secret. Anyone who reads has to sign an NDA and have watermarked sides. Therefore if you just get a copy of the material and send in an unrequested tape, we’re wondering who the schmuck was who broke the rules… another actor? A coach? An agent? Hard for us to appreciate your read if we have to figure out how wide-spread the leak is.
- While YOU might think you are absolutely PERFECT for a role… that may not actually be the case. Either we had to leave something out of the breakdown description (due to secrecy) that makes you not quite right, or the role has evolved and the characteristics you think you fit, no longer apply.
- The role might already be cast. Or worse, it’s been cut.
- You miss out on critical information, such as: when we need your tape, backstory information, which scenes to read, whether or not an accent is needed, any direction, etc. When we request self-tapes, we give out a lot of intel. Without that, you’re kind of shooting in the dark.
- If we’re not expecting it, it could easily get buried in our emails and never opened. Truthfully, Casting will PROBABLY watch any tape that comes in, whether or not we asked for it. But you will be much more set up for success if the request originates from us.
Actors will get material from their reps, from a class, from a coach, from a friend who urges them to tape even though Casting hasn’t requested them. Your best course of action when this happens is to have your reps ask Casting if it’s ok for you to tape. If we think it’ll be a waste of your time, we’ll say so. If we’re open to it, we’ll say yes and give you ALL of the information you need. Win-win.
Think of it this way: Casting would be incredibly annoyed and/or turn you away if you crashed one of their live auditions. However, if we’ve invited you to our session, we’re looking forward to your read.