Why Actors Need a Reader

Why Actors Need a Reader

Do you really need a Reader for your taped audition?

If you’re new to film and television acting, auditions might be something that has been on your mind lately.

Whether you’re new to auditioning or you’re trying to learn more about the industry before starting to self-submit, learning the proper terms and different aspects of audition etiquette is a MUST. We want to spend a little time talking about an important audition element called a Reader.

So first of all, what is a Reader?

A Reader is the term used for someone who is reading the other person in your scene’s lines off-camera, whether they are helping you physically tape your audition or you’ve phoned them in through a service like FaceTime or Zoom. There are many reasons that casting directors and decision makers in the casting process definitely want you to have one. (So in short, yes, you do really need a Reader)

Let’s take some time looking at the various benefits a Reader brings to your scene.

#1: A Reader helps with the TIMING of the scene.

Here’s what you don’t want to do: intentionally mess with the writer’s directions for a scene. For example, if it is a two-person scene, we cannot go in and turn it into a one-person monologue. If there are two characters, we should be hearing someone read the other person’s lines. The main focus will still be on the actor (auditioner), but the second character will be voiced by someone off-screen. Another thing we don’t want to do is record ourselves saying the other character’s lines and playing it back over the audition recording. Number one, it’s unprofessional. The better route would be to have a friend read the lines to you virtually. Number two, it is distracting and messes with the timing of your scene. This leads to a product that can look really awkward and over-rehearsed. We want you to be focused on your PERFORMANCE, not nailing down the timing so that your fake reader can be on-track. Our goal in an audition setting is to show the decision makers that we can carry this character and this scene with authenticity to the source material. So, don’t change up the script or try to get around having a real life reader.

#2: A Reader helps with your REACTIONS and your character’s RELATIONSHIP.

Having a Reader there to say the other character’s lines is a perfect stand-in for that other character. If you know what your relationship to the other character in the scene is (which you should ALWAYS know before taping!), you can use that to inform the way that you and that character would talk to each other, and the emotions that you each might have going into this particular scene. Having a real person to play off of is so important for your reactions and really selling the idea of this character’s relationship with your scene partner. If you can, read with a fellow actor! Whether that is through booking a professional taping service with us (LINK) or by asking a friend from your acting class to help at your home setup, having another actor as your Reader is one way to help level up your auditions. This is because another actor is going to give you something to go off of! You can rehearse together and chat through it before turning the camera on and recording.

*While your Reader doesn’t NEED to be an actor, make sure that they understand what their role is. The reader should be quieter than the actor auditioning, but still able to be understood by the people watching your tape.

#3: A Reader helps with your EYELINE.

What is an eyeline, you might ask? Your eyeline is just where you are looking during your audition. It’s important that, unless stated otherwise, you aren’t looking directly into the camera for your audition. On the flip side, we also don’t want to see you in profile for your whole performance, so you want to split the difference and put the other person just a few inches away from the camera on either side. This will help casting to be able to see your whole face and all of your lovely reactions throughout your audition. Having a Reader in the taping room (or at-home setup, if you have one) is one good way to have a consistent eyeline throughout your scene.

Here is an example clip from TAS Private Student Jace Marsh, where you can hear the volumes of him and his Reader and see how his eyeline is to the side of the camera! You can follow Jace on Instagram HERE, or view his Actor’s Access profile HERE.

#4: Having a Reader is PROFESSIONAL, and improves the QUALITY of your self tape.

The Atlanta market has always been a self tape market, but now the industry as a whole is converting to primarily utilizing self tapes for the beginning of the casting process. This mainly started in 2020, when the world shifted virtually; but it has continued because self tapes and virtual callbacks through platforms (like Zoom or Actors Access’s EcoCast Live) save casting directors a lot of time and money in comparison to the former in-person editions of initial reads and callbacks. You want to make sure that your audition is up to par with other actors who have been self taping for a long time!

So, in addition to a Reader, what all do I need to ensure the quality of my self tape?

First thing’s first. You need a camera and tripod. In this day and age, there isn’t a need to purchase an expensive DSLR camera just to record your auditions if you have a smartphone that shoots in HD. What is a non-negotiable, however, is the tripod. This is because we don’t want a shaky audition tape that’s going to distract from our acting performance. So if you are shooting on your phone, make sure to snag a phone-specific tripod, like this one from AMAZON

Next, make sure you’re shooting on a PLAIN BACKGROUND, like a nice neutral gray. We don’t want casting focusing on the art behind you or your messy bedroom, so keep it plain and simple.

We also want to make sure that the people viewing your tape can SEE and HEAR you. So whether you’re using natural lighting in a quiet room or investing in lighting and audio equipment, be sure to watch your tape back and make sure that your recording quality isn’t detracting from your acting!


If you’re looking to develop your own at-home self tape studio and don’t know where to start, schedule an in-person or virtual CAREER COACHING session with a TAS Coach! We can help you figure out how to best set up your space and teach you the ins and outs of self taping at home.

If you’re looking for an audition Reader and a space to tape in, we have a professional taping studio right in our Buford, GA location! Click HERE to schedule an audition taping service where we will:

  • Be your Reader!
  • Provide coaching (depending on the length of your audition and how much time you book)!
  • Film your audition in our high-quality setup!
  • Edit it for you!
  • Submit your audition during your time slot!
  • And even send you a copy at the end!

For more information on our taping services, check out that portion of our website HERE. Happy auditioning!

Ready to get started? Reach out today!



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About The Author

Molly Pass

Molly Pass is an Atlanta-local actress, acting coach, and wedding videographer who loves to help new and seasoned actors alike find their purpose and passion through performance. She holds her bachelor’s degree in Film and Media Studies from Georgia State University and enjoys discussing movies, shows, and all things new media. Her favorite part of working at The Actor’s Scene is being able to inspire folks to pursue their dreams and helping them to gain confidence in themselves along the way. When she is not acting or working in the digital media realm, she enjoys reading murder mysteries and desperately trying to keep a garden alive. 

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Get to know TAS Coach: John Castle

Get to know TAS Coach: John Castle

All of our acting coaches are highly qualified working actors who participate in the Film/TV industry in a variety of ways, in addition to coaching acting classes. But we want to give you a more in-depth look at who they are as people
This month we are sharing some insights that will help answer the question, 
“Who Is John Castle?” Read on to find out!

How did you first get into acting?

So I was into acting as a kid and on stage a lot. Going into 9th grade I was really good, but always at a new school; so there was no consistency. There was no growing with a set group of people.  Then my parents got divorced and my world completely changed. Acting was a lost thought- a glimmer that I wouldn’t rediscover for the next 24 years. I stumbled upon community theater while I was running my landscape company. The players guild needed help moving into the new 400 seat theater the city had just built for them. I had a truck and trailer so I offered to help. That started off a chain of events that- in the span of one year- would have me sell my landscape business, land me in acting classes, and on a Marvel Studio set painted as Vision while standing in and doubling Paul Bettany in WandaVision for six months. Then Covid….. This story is still developing.

Your story is so interesting because you came to TAS as a student in our adult classes before you began coaching. Tell us what that was like.

Joining acting classes as an adult student was exciting and scary. I had been a successful business owner for a long time. I was comfortable. This was going to be uncomfortable and I was putting myself out there to be judged. I wasn’t sure how I would handle that. What if I wasn’t any good? What if I couldn’t remember my lines? I despised the thought of being embarrassed like that. But I knew that there were things that I needed to learn- techniques and tricks and such. I was thirsty for the knowledge that would help me be successful. So I took the leap. What I found was a group of people that encouraged me to mess up! I even played some improv games that encouraged the group to celebrate failure. What a concept right?? I stay in class now. There’s always someone to learn from. An approach that I haven’t thought of. A new trick to a technique, or maybe even a new technique all together! I’ve done 35 commercials/industrials, 2 movies and 6 television shows in the past three years. I’ve only had that success because I stay in class. I exercise my acting muscles. I consider classes the best investment you can make as an artist. It’s easy to do your job when you’re educated!

What has been your biggest struggle in the industry?

My biggest struggle has been Covid but that was uncontrollable. I guess that my biggest controllable struggle would be finding that fine line between being “boring” and being “intriguing” without “acting”.

How have you worked to tackle that 'fine line'?

I’m still tackling it. I think that’s the “secret ingredient” that we, as performers, search for anytime we get our minds on a new character. How can I make this a dynamic character within the limits of the written words? Because I have to “fit” the story. 

Preparation + Mindset = Confidence

Besides acting, do you pursue any other interests in the entertainment industry?

I love Standing-In on different productions. I still do it when an intriguing gig pops up. I’ve worked with and learned from some pretty incredible people while “Standing-In”. I view it more as getting paid to go to film school. I get to watch how every single department works from the perspective of the principal actor. I credit “Standing-In” with creating a confident mindset and a level of extreme comfort on set. I’ve learned so much about movement in frame and how different people approach the craft while the cameras are rolling. It’s an experience that I recommend to everyone interested in the craft.

Why did you get into coaching?

I was led here. I had no expectations or particular goals. I knew I would have fun. Fundamentals is an early level career building class and I’m early in my career and somewhat successful so far. I felt that I could help others walking my same path right now. Acting is a study of self and of human behavior. I had no idea the wealth of knowledge accessible from observing and redirecting so many different people from different walks of life in different circumstances. It’s life changing for me and I hope to find more balance in the future to coach a few more classes. I’d love to coach a weekly scene study class.

What is one important bit of advice you always give the students in your class?

One piece of advice. Submit your best work and forget. The job is auditioning. Have fun. Two takes. One for the grownups and one for you!

What is your proudest coaching moment?

Watching real people emerge from the representative that came to the first few classes. Watching walls fall. Confidence and abandon creep into the minds. The freer the spirit the more fulfilling.

What do you hope that your artistic legacy will be?

What do I hope my legacy will be? Wow. Deep. Um. Dag. Um. I hope that a lesson learned from me plays a part in changing the life of someone for the better. Even if they don’t realize it. I hope they do though and they are like, “Man! That lesson that John taught me on that Wednesday night has made my life so much better!! I really am grateful that that dude was in my life. He’s super cool.” That’s what I hope my legacy is. Life changing.

John Castle Bio:

Born at the baby factory in Atlanta, GA. Northside Hospital in 1981. I was a water baby. Shoeless and shirtless running the banks of Lake Lanier. I had white hair, crystal blue eyes and the tannest skin of any under six year old caucasian kid out there!! My first 5 years of life were perfect. Then my family started moving. A lot. I went to 13 different schools throughout my public school career. That’s a new school for every year of public education. I learned a lot about people during this time but never really learned about myself. I became a different person at every school because the people were different. I had to be like them. I learned how to fit in and make friends quickly because I knew I only had a short time in my new place. Little did I know about how much this experience was preparing me for a career choice that I would make 20 years later. I spent my teenage years in trouble. Lots of trouble. Bad trouble. I knew people, but myself? I was lost. Acting out. Struggling to find out which of the persona’s that I had created to cope was actually me. Who am I???? Why can I fit in everywhere, with anyone but I never feel like I belong. I’ll tell you more in class. Because I’m a storyteller. Not a writer. See you in class!! 

Would you like to take classes or private lessons with Coach John?

Coach John teaches Foundations classes for ages 9+. To sign up for classes, click HERE. You can also call our Front Desk and request John’s current roster at 770-904-6646.

To sign up for a private lesson with Coach John, click HERE

Want to keep up with Coach John? You can follow him on Instagram,

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