Before the month is over and this year’s Self Tape May comes to an end, we wanted to sit down with the actor behind the social media movement that encourages thespians to complete 16 self tapes during a month when work is typically slow. Audrey Moore is an actor whose work cannot be limited to just one medium, but her TV credits alone include series like Better Call Saul, Godless and Dopesick.
Moore took time out to virtually sit down with Casting Networks and share how her own career journey and frustration over the lack of information available to actors along the way led to the inception of her podcast Audrey Helps Actors, as well as how Self Tape May was birthed along the way. Keep reading for a window into the person behind the movement — including how she answered our query related to this year’s Self Tape May theme of Lord of the Rings — and you can check out the video version of our interview below.
Audrey, thank you so much for being with us.
Thank you for having me.
Before we get to how you help other actors, I’d love to hear about your own career. Can you give us an overview of how you got into the craft and where it’s taken you?
I started acting when I was seven years old. My second grade teacher decided to have everyone write a play and act in each other’s play. And then for performing them, parents were invited to come — it was literally all just in the classroom. My mom came, and after I was done with my performance, she said that I was so great and the only person out of everyone that you could hear and understand. So, it just took a little bit of Mom’s approval and applauding, and I was hooked. I have been doing acting in some form or another — whether it’s in plays or television or commercials or film — ever since.
That’s such a neat window into how it all started for you, and I love that shoutout
to your mom, just a little past Mother’s Day [at the time of the interview]. And now I have to talk about Audrey Helps Actors. You recently hit the 100-episode mark — congrats are in order!
Thank you very much. It was exciting.
Definitely. Can you share what motivated you to first start the podcast and then keep it going?
I would say a couple of things motivated me to start it. First of all, I had been very fortunate to get to a level of success where I was able to quit my “day job” — I had finally quit serving and was pursuing acting full-time. And as most actors will tell you, those waves of busy times and slow times are a real part of the pursuit of the business. Sometimes during the slow times, actors can drive themselves — and everyone that they know and love — crazy because they’re spinning their wheels and feeling concerned about a slow time. So in order to sort of manage my neurosis, part of my objective was to do something with my time that I felt passionate about, I felt qualified for and I felt was important. That was: talking about a part of the industry that didn’t seem to get talked about. It’s more of the logistical business side of the industry in terms of expectations and in terms of financial realities.
And I spent a lot of time in my earlier years of my career feeling very angry because I felt like there were a lot of things I just kept discovering. I kept being shocked by the normalcy of finding information that was new to me and was wondering why things weren’t more common knowledge. I was a little sad about the fact that I had to wait until I got to a new level of acting to realize that it had its own new devils that were normal and consistent to it. But, nobody really seemed to talk about it unless you experienced it and then asked a friend what was going on. So, I became very interested in the lack of mentorship relationships between actors and generations of working actors. It didn’t make sense to me because I understood that in certain professions, you are directly competing with people of all age groups. And one of the things that I thought was so beautiful about an acting career is that somebody who’s 25 is really not competing against somebody who’s 35 or 45 or 55 for roles. So, in terms of transparency and fellowship, it perplexed me that there wasn’t more access to others’ journeys so that the newer generation of actors — whether they were getting back into it after several years or were coming out of college — could have some informed understanding of what it was that they were getting involved in.
I love the idea of mentorship and fighting the shame of an actor not knowing certain things. There’s this idea of “fake it ‘til you make it” until an actor gets to set and doesn’t know what to do.
I really try to be a warrior against shame and an advocate for compassion and camaraderie and information. A transparent, generous-with-information community is something that I’m really passionate about.
Thank you for what you do. And now, how about Self Tape May? It’s grown into quite the social media movement. Can you give us a little window into how it started versus how it’s going?
It started, honestly, just on a whim. You know, May is typically a very slow month for actors, and that hasn’t changed as the landscape of content creation has changed. But originally when I started Self Tape May, you had pilot season that happened and then fall episodics, which are all the things that shoot and air on network television. In April and May, there wasn’t any work really being done — there weren’t any commercials or films being shot — and everyone was sort of just waiting to see if the show that they booked got canceled or picked up. You know, people were depressed about what did or didn’t happen during pilot season or fall episodic season. Also, everyone starts January like “new year, new me,” and unfortunately, that’s not really the actor calendar. All that energy, excitement and enthusiasm about “this is going to be my time” — calendar-wise, it’s actually poor timing. So by May, I find that everyone’s pretty depressed, checked out and feeling “sloggy” and sad and anxious.
One of the things that I did in my earlier acting years in prepping for auditions and getting better at the audition process was beginning my own self tape practice. That was in 2013/2014, and I spent two years doing self tapes. I realized I had a lot of craft, but it seemed that my audition execution was lacking, so I went about a very personal and determined journey to get better. I did that practice for two years straight, and through that, I was able to get a lot better. Within those two years, I went from having one television credit to booking five/six TV shows in a year and eventually started booking series regulars, recurring guest roles, guest stars, guest leads, and things like that. So, it really transformed my career. And then cut to the podcast, I just thought, “What if we did a thing called Self Tape May, and we just did 16 tapes in the month of May? People could just do it if they want to.” I think we had 150 people participate that first year, and now we’re at several thousand, so that’s very exciting.
It’s so great to hear the origin story of Self Tape May and how it started with your own career. And then, seeing the fruit of it led to you sharing it with others. It fits so nicely into that overall heart of just wanting to help other actors and encourage them. Now, this last one’s a true get-to-know-you question inspired by this year’s Self Tape May theme. With which Lord of the Rings character do you most identify? And which do you think would be the most fun to play?
I asked my husband what he thought about this question, and he felt like Pippin is probably the character most like me. Because, he was sort of the jolly cheerleader, keeping things light amongst the darkness on the journey. That’s probably more in alignment with me in a group, in a band that’s struggling along their journey. I personally want to believe the part that is most likely for me is Gandalf, though, because who doesn’t want to be the great, all-powerful wizard?
But I think the best character is actually one in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power TV series that Amazon just did. The actor who plays the character that eventually becomes Sauron — I mean, what an arc, ladies and gentlemen. He is so great and compassionate and so tortured and kind. And then if you’re Sauron, you’re on the path to some darkness. As an actor, I just think that’s really fun and cool. So, I don’t identify with the root of all evil, but I do think it’d be a great role to play.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
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