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Tips for Turnarounds: Self Tapes on Short Notice

Nothing punctures the elation of a self tape request quicker than seeing it’s due in less than 24 hours. Speedy turnarounds can be stress-inducing and hard to manage, but they’re part of the business. Here are some measures you can take to make them less miserable and make sure you turn in a good product on short notice.

Get out of your head. This is not the time to panic or be hyper-critical of your work. Rely on your training and your instincts. Don’t forget to have fun! If you’re uptight and rushed, it will show on the tape. Do what you need to do to get out of your head ahead of time, a quick dance break, 5 minutes of meditation, whatever works for you. It’s worth the extra time to center yourself.

Have an emergency reader on hand. Getting a reader is arguably the most stressful thing on short notice. It’s good practice to have a trusted friend (or better yet, several) who you regularly read with that you can call up in a pinch. If no one can meet you, I’m not above having someone Zoom in out of frame and reading that way. Desperate times call for creative measures.

Keep go-to outfits at the ready. Having a clean, basic audition outfit on hand can be a lifesaver. You don’t want to wait on laundry when you’re in a rush.

Know studios for self tapes near you. Even if you have space in your home to self tape, you might not always have a reader available. Research taping services near you and have a couple of numbers on hand for emergencies. (Make sure if one is closed on Monday, for example, you have another on deck that books appointments that day).

Accept good enough. Obviously, you don’t want to turn in sloppy work. But if you find yourself getting hung up on turning in the perfect tape, try to let it go. You don’t have time to tape take after take after take. Remember you’ll still have to edit the audition. Move with confidence, get the take that’s good enough, and move on.

Know when to call it. Sometimes it is simply not doable. There will be those days you can’t get out of work in time, don’t have access to equipment, or just can’t make it happen. Contact your agent first to see if an extension is a possibility. If not, respectfully decline. You can’t win them all.

Last-minute turnarounds are a pain, but they’re not undoable! Take a breath, keep a cool head and do the best you can. The more you prepare for these circumstances ahead of time, the less panicked you’ll be when they inevitably arise.

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