What is a ‘self- test’?
One of our most frequently asked questions here at WINK is “What is a self test?”
A self-test is when a client or casting director needs the talent to film a quick video of themselves for consideration, instead of going to an in-person casting. This usually happens if the client is in another state or country, or if they’re short on time. The filming is similar to what would happen at an actual casting where they would ask you to speak to camera and film you, except you do it yourself.
How to PREPARE and FILM your audition:
The audition can be filmed on your phone or any other camera you have available to you. It doesn’t need to be a fancy edited production video, just a simple, clear piece of you talking to camera.
Using the camera:
Shoot against a plain wall with enough light so we can clearly see your face. Avoid shadows (don’t be too close to the wall). Don’t zoom the camera in and out; stationary is best to focus on your face. Ideally, the camera should sit on a tripod to maintain a steady image. If not, try and put the camera on a stable surface (or utilize someone with steady hands!) Make sure your camera is positioned at eye level or slightly above.
‘Medium’ shot is best (top of your head to just below shoulder with just a small amount of space above your head.)
Using the correct lighting and sound:
Natural light is best. Make sure the main light sources come from BEHIND the camera to see your face most clearly. Do not film yourself standing in front of a window as this will make you a silhouette. Record a test clip and see how it looks and sounds before taping the scene.
If there is a script, how to prepare
If you are new to this here are some notes.
Learning the lines beforehand is key! Pretend the camera isn’t there, it needs to sound like it is coming from you, not a ‘character’, so try not to act it out. We want you to be yourself. Your challenge is to avoid overdoing it– it should be simple and conversational. If you play your audition back and it seems exaggerated and feels unnatural – then it is too big. It should feel effortless, like you’re in a real conversation.
If there is no script or speaking part, what you need to say and do in the video:
Introduce yourself with your name, your age and your agency (WINK). It’s always good to give the client some extra information so you are memorable – whether it’s a fun fact about you or a special skill you have. If the client is in a particular industry (eg. sports) you can share what kind of sports you do to show you are co-ordinated and capable.
Last notes: Most importantly – you should have fun! Self tests are an easy way to cast for a particular role. You can do it from the comfort of our own home, so remember you have more than one chance to nail it. If you mess up, delete that take and try again to make it feel more natural.
Send it to WINK: Video files can be large, which is why we prefer using dropbox. The talent manager who has requested your self-tape will give you the link to our dropbox folder. From there, upload your video to dropbox and put it into the WINK folder. Your talent manager will then sent it to the client. Easy!
Check out an example below of how to conduct a self test and what to include: