I’m ready to tape. How do I start?

However you feel about them, self-tapes are here to stay, so knowing how to get a good one is essential for actors.

The question in class was:  What should I do right before I record my self-tape?

One of the major upsides of self-taping is the luxury of time and privacy for a full preparation.  Today’s Class Clip can even be used as a mini-guide before you begin to tape.

Your prep should allow for lots of time to breathe — to land where you are — acknowledge how your body feels.  Allow whatever is there to be there.  My hands are sweaty.  Great.  Breathe into your character’s world.   What do they want? What do they need? Who are they talking to?  Once you feel ready, take another deep breath, open your eyes, and begin.

Your prep will always be adjusted according to the scene, the character and the particular rules of the world.  Sometimes you may need to scream into a pillow.  Or punch your bed.  Or sniff the hidden bottle of your ex-boyfriend’s cologne. Find what you need that hooks you into the circumstances.


I would say, breath. Which is something we take for granted, but it’s really important. Start with your breath, maybe close your eyes. Take some full breaths in, all the way to the top, and exhale. Check in with your body. See where you’re at in this moment, so you’re not…trying to act on top of something, making sure you’re not denying where you are at right now. We’ve got to include it all. So it can be going through the physical sensations in your body, like okay, I feel my heart beating, I feel my clothes on my skin, I feel my hair on my skin. And then you can start to connect to Nina’s world. And we always want to connect to the want, the big want of the scene. There’s the overall want, if you zoom out, the zoom out want, and then there’s the immediate want. Really breathe into the want. That’s what the whole scene is about, in service of the want, getting our needs met.