13133: Stop Bitching About Changes In How We Audition. Right Now.

Hey there, hero!

The complaints about on-camera self-tapes have got to stop. Like, now.

Yes, it’s different than it used to be.

But to rail against it is a super huge waste of time.

And you on-camera folk that are so pissed off that you have to do most of your auditions at home should take a page out of the voice over talent playbook. Because we’ve been auditioning at home for decades, and we’ve learned to leverage it to our advantage.

And you should do the same.

Yes, it’s different, and might be a bit more difficult the first few times you do it. But it really isn’t the onerous responsibility that some would have you believe.

And no, you shouldn’t be paid for it. There are advantages to home self-tapes that more than make up for the disadvantages. And there are millions of free tutorials on how to do a competitive on-camera self tape, even if all you have is a window with natural light and a mobile phone.

It is what it is. Stop bitching, grab a new skill and get back to acting.

Agree? Disagree? Sad that I’m not being more sensitive to your struggles with technology? Let me know in the comments below.

SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcasts | YouTube Music | Spotify | Pandora | Amazon Music | iHeartRadio | TuneIn/Alexa | Podcast Index | Podcast Addict | Podchaser | Pocket Casts | Deezer | Listen Notes | Player FM | Overcast | Castro | Castbox | PodFriend | Goodpods

Want to be a better VO talent, actor or author? Here’s how I can help you…


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. My response to this is: be like Bruce Springsteen. Back in the day, it was thought that the only way to get a decent sound for a record was to use a fancy studio. Home studios were just for producing demo recordings. Some were good (witness “McCartney”), some were really bad. It wasn’t until Tascam came out with the 144 Portastudio, and Bruce used it to record his greatest album, “Nebraska”, that musicians said, “Wow, you CAN get great results at home and not spend a fortune to do so!” I myself got the next generation, a 244, and spent a lot of time playing with it for my own songs and learning about mic placement, room noises, etc. My setup for recording audiobooks is the natural evolution from the Portastudio. As I see it, you have two options: 1) kvetch about how things have changed, or 2) embrace the change, have fun with it and generate some work for yourself. Guess which one I prefer?

  2. I began doing self-tapes for on-camera YEARS before my agent started encouraging it. I consider my time too valuable to get in the car, wait in their lobby, do my audition, then get back in my car to go home. My agent actually bristled at me being “the only talent who doesn’t come into the office.” Now, of course, they don’t even DO on-camera auditions at their office.

    To be fair, I’ve also been on the production side for nearly five decades, so self-taping was no big deal. But now with technology, and as you said, the ability to step in front of a cell phone near a window and “just get it done,” nobody should be complaining about this at all.

    It’s the price of admission to the business, IMO.

    1. I know! How did we do it? I remember driving my old Volvo around the Hollywood Hills trying to find a manger’s home office while glancing down at a map and trying to navigate twists and turns.

  3. I love self-tapes! They allow me to audition while being a stay-at-home dad. They allow me to have a career as an actor that I wouldn’t have otherwise. They’re fun, easy, and convenient. I can’t say enough good things about them. Yay self-tapes!

  4. This is so true. I don’t like to talk about it that much because it’s been a sea change for me. I was booking audiobooks this way for years and years and now that self-tape became the dominant model I’ve never booked more on-camera work. You control the environment, the time to record, and get to pick your best take. What’s not to like? For me it creates so much less anxiety and I feel confident in what I submit. In person auditions meant commuting, waiting with other under-pressure artists, and reading with someone who may be exhausted or distracted and you’re lucky to get more than one take. That’s really tough under the best of circumstances. So- yeah, David, I agree. Quit the bitching.

  5. I’m with Chris B—I LOVE self-tapes and all the changes technology has brought to the industry. There’s never been a better time to be a storyteller. There’s more opportunity than ever, and a direct connection to clients and audiences who want to hear, see, and pay for our work and contributions.

    And as a brand new stay-at-home-dad, self-tapes are a very welcome new normal. Auditions that would have taken half a day now take me an hour or so, and almost always when baby is napping.

    Thank you for reminder to stay positive, to keep things in perspective, and to embrace the ever-evolving nature of our work.

  6. Thank you, David, for this spot-on “tough love.”

    Self taping became a positive challenge before the pandemic, and then quarantine gave us the time to up our game. It was now a new, exciting challenge – seeking out new equipment, new systems, new methods of filming, editing. Establishing those systems and methods, so that we then could do our acting work unencumbered by worrying about the tech.

    It’s a shift in how we do business and, as you say here, we need to embrace the change and meet it.

    The complaining is a distraction. The joy is in the work.

  7. Thanks for the giggle! I love that I don’t have to make multiple cassettes (video or audio) or even mini audio reels to send out for auditions. Yeah, I am that old, uh, I mean vintage. How cool that I can slip into my home studio, record, edit (without a razor), and then click my audition up to the Great Decider. There’s no crying in Voice Over! (Unless it is scripted.)