Actors, I’d like to let you in on a little secret…
it does NOT matter when you turn in your self-tape, as long as you get it in by the deadline.
The reason is this: you will stand out simply by being connected in an honest, layered, human way. It will not matter where your tape falls in our viewing queue.
Actors often come to me with two common concerns:
- Will they miss out on notes, new sides, ample prep time, etc. if their tape is TOO early?
- Will Casting hire someone before the deadline?
Here’s my evergreen response to those worries:
Self-tape deadlines exist for a reason: logistics on our side, time to prepare on yours. If you need to take the time we’ve given and turn your tape in just before the deadline, so be it! If you’re the kind of actor who likes to get ‘er done and turn it in 24 hours early so you can move on, then do! The ONLY THING you need to focus on is making it by the deadline.
(Side note: give yourself a few hour buffer to upload your self-tape. It is the law of the internet that your computer will crash if you try to send your tape minutes before the deadline.)
There is no science to “first up vs last up.” Variables change from role-to-role, project-to-project. We set a deadline, but things in production are fluid; a role that was supposed to work next week now works tomorrow, for example. Or half-way into casting a role, the sides change COMPLETELY and producers want to see the new material. Casting has also extended deadlines because we find enough people require it, or a schedule arrives and we are magically gifted more time.
The process is never the same because the [insert here: role, experience, producers, budget, schedule] are always different, and often, ever-changing. The only true constant is this: “does this actor fit the role in an interesting and truthful way?” If you can remember that THAT is the key, you’ll shed a lot of unnecessary stress.
Here are a few real examples from my own personal Casting history:
On a major feature film, we read a zillion people for a lead role and then decided to try one last, out-of-the-box idea. This actor’s tape was literally the LAST one to come in and he ended up booking it.
For the lead of a series, the woman who ended up booking the role was tape number 95 (out of 340) viewed. She was the 12th tape my producers saw. We read a LOT more people before our execs wised-up and we could hire her.
On another series, the woman we booked for a major recurring role was the 13th self-tape I viewed, out of 74. She was hired from her original tape, no callback or “next step” needed.
For a guest star, the very first self-tape that was uploaded ended up being the actor who booked that role.
All of this is to show you that it doesn’t matter at what point we see your audition, live or tape. If you’re the one, you’re the one. Remember that the next time you’re stressing about the “perfect” time to upload your tape. Drop that anxiety and instead focus on the things that do matter for every role, every audition: your preparation, professionalism and craft.