Self taping for the mama actor

Self taping for the mama actor

Do you self tape, mama actor?


I am smack in the middle of a 30 day self-tape challenge. The challenge entails putting myself on tape in some way, shape or form every day for 30 days, and sharing the tape in the challenge Facebook group.


I have been learning a ton about my look, my work, my brand, and what it takes for me to craft a powerful audition on camera, all for less than the cost of an acting class.


As a result, I’m convinced that every mama actor needs a self-tape setup that they use regularly. Because time becomes precious and fleeting as a mom, a self-tape studio allows you to work when it’s convenient (ie. when your child is sleeping), and it allows you to see the fruits of your work in a powerful way.


Think it’s too tough to do? Here is a list of the items that make up my self-tape “studio” (no affiliate links here):


  1. Space. I thank the gods everyday for the spare bedroom that is my office/studio, but you don’t need a full room, just a corner preferably with a window to your side or front with a blank wall behind.
  2. A light kit. I purchased mine on Amazon, I’ve also heard this one is good.
  3. The Mighty Mic. The most important item in my opinion, depending on your space! If you have good natural light and great skin you may be able to get away with no light kit, but everyone needs some kind of mic. It plugs into my iPhone and it is portable and convenient and sounds great. If you get nothing else, I’d invest in something like this. Some people prefer a lavalier mic, but I think lavs are distracting and cumbersome. Personal pref.
  4. A old flat sheet that I stuck to the wall with thumbtacks. This is a full-size kid sheet that is that knit jersey so it didn’t require any ironing. I bet you could find a flat sheet at the goodwill.
  5. A tripod and iPhone 5. My tripod came with our camcorder that we bought to take home movies when my son was born.
  6. The iPhone holder for the tripod.

Here’s how my set up looks:


My son’s old sheet hung with thumbtacks.

A view from the other side–my tripod and one of my light boxes.


A screenshot from my iPhone of a tape from Day 16 of the challenge.


The total cost for the light, mic, and iPhone holder was $153 plus tax, shipping, etc. That is cheaper than most acting classes in LA, and cheaper than 80 minutes at the Argentum casting suite (they charge $20 for a 10-minute session).


The toughest part about self-taping is finding a reader, but if you record with your iPhone, you can use a reader from WeRehearse or Skype on your computer (positioned close to camera with the volume turned all the way up) and it isn’t as horrible as you might think.


Just so you can see the challenge in action (I can’t believe I’m sharing this), here’s a vlog that I recorded on day 6 of the challenge from my car. I brought my Might Mic in my purse, leaned my iPhone up against a box that I propped up on the dash, and recorded this random, on-the-fly story. It cuts off at the end because I had no storage on my phone, but you can get an idea of how the mic works and how easy it really is to record yourself every day if you put your mind to it.



Happy taping, mamas! Can’t wait to see what you create and learn. If you’re feeling super brave, post your first self tape in the comments or in our wonderfully supportive Mama Actor Facebook community.