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Ask Bob Blume – Column #9 Equipment Needs for Self-Tape Auditions with Guest Actress, Sara Tepper of Los Angeles

Ask Bob Blume – Column #9 Equipment Needs for Self-Tape Auditions with Guest Actress, Sara Tepper of Los Angeles

Responding to a question from Melissa R of Madison, WI, What do I need to self tape auditions?

Bob opened by welcoming all to this edition of his column and reminded everyone that the column is a benefit for The Actors Fund and gave the url to donate to if they can.

Sara Tepper

Bob then took the question (see above) and mentioned how important this is as SAG just announced that all union productions will be self-tape and/or zoom auditions only. He then did an intro for his guest, West Coast client Sara Tepper who will talk about the proper equipment needed for video auditions. She is an actress originally based in NY, who buzz-cut her hair, moved to LA and signed with both legit and commercial agents. Combined with Bob and Jacque, Sara has been doing well in LA with this team.
Sara announced she would break down what is needed by each element so as not to cause confusion. First, she discussed backgrounds while mentioning that it should be plain, grey or blue and have nothing else as CDs do not want to see artwork or anything behind the actor. She has a white wall that looks grey. If you do not have an empty wall, to make yourself stand out, one can paint it or order different backdrops from Amazon that are not expensive and collapsible to be easy to take around with you. They come with a tripod but you have the option to get two tripods, so you have an overhang and could use fabric from places like Michaels or Walmart which are inexpensive.  ust get a plain background so you stand out, especially with your skin color and what you usually wear. Casting gets hundreds of tapes so they want to focus on you not what is behind you.
Sara further discussed lighting and recommended using natural light if you have. If not then, like her, get a ring light. She showed off her 18″ ring light that she purchased and spoke about the different types that are available through Amazon.  Comes in 12″, 16″, 18″ and priced about $50 to $100. Also, the actor needs to avoid shadows by moving away from the wall. Soft boxes, umbrella lights or backdrops with lights built in can also be purchased and are available at B&H or Amazon.  Paper drops also are inexpensive and available.
Regarding sound and video, Sara uses iPhone 11 Pro and it gives her the best video and sound.  She believes it is better than her camera which she exhibited.  Early iPhone versions are fuzzier and not that good she has found. Recommended that if you want to look your best to casting, you need to invest in a better camera with good microphones.  Bob suggested buying a wireless lapel mic to wear, which guarantees you will be heard clearly and it syncs with cameras and phones that have wireless Bluetooth capability.
When audition is finished and needs to be edited to send to casting, Sara recommended iMovie because it is free and most user-friendly plus tutorials are available on Youtube.  Bob recommended Movavi software also.  Both softwares have phone apps to edit on your phone.You can also download videos via email and transfer them into iPhone to edit on the phone.   Sara loves the process and likes using production elements. Reminded everyone that you need to ‘show your stuff ‘as you are not walking ‘in the room’ right now. (Live auditions) 
Bob thanked Sara for being on the column and spoke about her coming back. He mentioned that there would be more columns on auditions and technique, as it is so important, especially during this time period.  Bob then reminded the viewers about donating to The Actors Fund and where to email questions – and said goodbye until the next column.

To see more Ask Bob Blume columns click on the subject

Self Tape Auditions


First Column

Interview with Agent Ted Maier (Part 1 of 2)

Interview with Agent Ted Maier (Part 2 of 2)

Audition Tips

Interview with Manager Jacque Pedersen-Schrimscher (Part 1 of 2)

Interview with Manager Jacque Pedersen-Schrimscher (Part 2 of 2)


Ask Bob Blume is a new twice-weekly Video Column giving career advice to actors/performers of all ages, who are either current professionals or looking to enter show business. The column will offer free advice, and answer questions from viewer emails by Robert R Blume (aka Bob) a respected veteran entertainment talent manager and producer. As the President of the bi-coastal talent management and production company Step Forward Entertainment, Bob currently oversees the careers of professional actors/singers/dancers/reporters, as well as serving as an Executive Producer of the Annual DRAMA DESK AWARDS (the “Golden Globes” of theatre) from 1999 until 2018. To submit questions: For information on Bob: /

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