Arguably, one of the most difficult parts of self-taping is choosing which take(s) to send to Casting.
Which is the best take? Should I send more than one to show my range? This one has a great beginning but this one has a great moment in the middle, and this one shows I can do an accent but I don’t flub the line in this take, and and and…
You have my sympathy on this. Trying to be objective when you’re staring at yourself on video is neither easy nor pleasant.
There is no science to this, I’m afraid. I can’t give you a fail-proof method to guide you. BUT! There are ways to make the process easier for yourself.
Here are some do’s and don’t’s to assist you in choosing a take:
DO as much character prep as you can before you ever step foot in front of a camera. That way, you’ll know what you’re aiming to accomplish.
DO NOT “work it out” in front of the camera. This is the equivalent to throwing sh*t at the wall and seeing what sticks. You’ll be there forever and end up with too many options. (And you’ll have a very cranky reader.)
DO limit the number of takes you do. I like to say no more than three takes before you watch those to see if you got it (you probably did) or if there’s something missing.
DO NOT stop yourself if you’re really vibing at the end of a take. Start again immediately without futzing with your camera.
DO listen to your body. When things go really right, you FEEL it. Trust that instinct.
DO NOT let your reader/coach/taper pressure you when to stop, when to do another take, or which takes to send. This is YOUR audition. You know this character better than they do. Listen to their feedback and reasoning, but the decision is ultimately yours.
DO trust that you can get it done in one or two takes! You do it ALL THE TIME in live auditions. You can do it for your self-tapes, too. Prep the same way you would if you were going in the room and you’ll get it done quicker and with more clarity.
Ok! Now, you’ve got a take that is really great. But there’s another take that’s pretty good, and another that’s pretty different and shows some range, so…
Should you send more than one take??
You have to follow your gut on this one. If you have a take that you feel great about, given your performance and everything you know about the project/tone/character, then that’s absolutely the one to send.
If you are thinking about sending a second take, consider these questions:
- Does it still fit the tone of the piece? The biggest issue we see when actors send a second “different” take is that one take fits what we’re looking for and the second take might as well be for a different project, because the energy is just TOOMUCH. If you’re TRYING to do something different, you’re schmacting. And we can see it from a mile away.
- Have you made choices that are different and interesting but still truthful and that fit within the world? Oftentimes, the second take is a near carbon-copy of the first. To help guide you, think about the things you CAN change vs. the things you CANNOT.
- Is an accent, wardrobe piece or a prop the only thing that’s different? If that’s the only change, we don’t need that take unless we specifically ask for it, which leads me to…
A few reasons Casting may ask you to send multiple takes:
- It’s a small/short scene and we’d like to see what you provide some options on the character/moment.
- Accents. We’d like to see a take WITH an accent and WITHOUT an accent.
- We don’t have the benefit of time, so we’d like you to do the scene with two different sets of directions (as opposed to having you adjust and re-tape later.)
Remember: if you only send one take and Casting wants to see you do something else, we can always ask you to re-tape (pending time.)
We don’t envy you having to make these selects. It’s not easy. But if you’ve done your homework, grounded yourself in the truth of the moment/character and trusted your instincts, you will make the take-choosing process easier.