Self-Tape Advice for Acting Auditionees

Find out what to prepare for your self tape auditions this year for ArtsEd's Acting courses.

For entry in September 2021, we’re asking those auditioning for our Acting courses to submit two self-taped monologues, each no longer than 2 minutes in length.

Here are the main things you should know:

  • One monologue must be from a classical play, the other from a contemporary piece.
  • Auditionees must record a brief ident to introduce themselves by stating their name, age, where they are from and the pieces they are presenting (name of character and play). Idents should be directed straight to camera.
  • For the classical piece, you should film yourself in a ‘wide’ shot (meaning we want to see you full-length or as much of your body as the space will allow).
  • The contemporary piece should be filmed as a close up of your face – but not too close! Head and shoulders are fine.


Here are some questions applicants have asked us before. We hope these help!

Q: Should I pretend there is an audience when I perform my pieces?

A: Your classical piece should be treated like a soliloquy, and be delivered straight to camera. Treat the camera as your audience. Your contemporary piece can be delivered in the same way, or it can be aimed just above the camera if that makes sense for the piece. We want to see a theatrical performance of your pieces, even though you are performing to camera. Don’t give a ‘TV’ or ‘screen’ performance for the first round of auditions.


Q: I’m interested in a career on screen – so can I do two versions of my pieces, one for stage and one for screen?

A: No, this is not necessary for the first round. If you are recalled to the second round, part of that audition will be a screen test. At the first stage we want to see how you would perform on stage, as if you were in the room with us.


Q: My character has a different accent to my own, should I do the accent?

A: No, we advise against this! We want to hear your natural voice. Don’t do a different accent to your own or attempt to use a different voice to fit the character. Use your own voice.


Q: Should I dress in character for the video?

A: No, you shouldn’t wear a costume or try to make yourself look like the character. Wear comfortable clothing. If you were auditioning here in-person you’d be wearing blacks, but for the self-tape just make sure you are comfortable.


Q: What about hair and make-up?

A: Hair should be tied back so that we can see your face, and we prefer that you do not wear make-up. We want to see your natural features – not lots of make-up. No glitter!


Q: Should I use props?

No, please don’t use props, or background music, or try to be clever with lighting – we are not interested in any of those things. We want to concentrate on you.


Q: How many takes do you recommend I do to get the best one?

A: Honestly, don’t overthink it and attempt to film multiple takes in order to choose the ‘best’ one. You should film each monologue no more than 3 times in order to find the best one to use.


Q: What are the panel looking for?

A: We want to see YOU and who you are! That sounds complicated but actually it’s simple: We want to see your enthusiasm for the piece and for the process. We’re looking for your commitment to the choices you make. We may not agree with your choices, but that’s fine as long as you commit to them, so be bold – be passionate. We are interested in the decisions that you make as an actor and how you have interpreted the pieces. Make them your own. Don’t try to copy someone else’s performance. There is only one of YOU – we are looking for the unique qualities that make you who you are, so make sure you show us your individual creativity. We are definitely not looking for perfection or for the finished product; we do not expect you to be a polished, trained actor – that’s what drama school is for!

Be brave, be bold and enjoy yourself.


Good luck!