Yikes. Objectivity in life is hard enough. Objectivity about your looks? Near impossible.
The headshot is your entree into a casting office. It’s your introduction to the world as an actor. A headshot needs to encapsulate you: your essence, your energy, your spirit, your talent…..HOLY S#@T
Let’s start with how casting reviews headshots. On any given role, be It co-star, guest-star, recurring ,or series regular, we will receive anywhere from 2000-3,500 submissions. That’s a LOT of actors vying for 10-15 slots in a session.
So – what’s the process? If we know you and like you, the headshot is less of an issue. We will bring you in because your talent is worthy of an appointment. However, if we don’t know you, the way to get noticed is to have an INTERSTING HEADSHOT.
Some ground rules:
1) No overly done-up glamour shots – your headshot should be an accurate representation of how you look now. No caked on makeup, no ancient pictures from when you were 20lbs thinner and 10 years younger. That particular picture you should save for your facebook page (we’re all guilty of this).
Think of it this way: there is a role for you somewhere. WE are not judging the fact that you have gained weight or aged However, if the role is for a stunning supermodel, and your ancient headshot portrays you as such, imagine how we will feel when the “new” you walks in the door. Honestly? We will feel pissed. Yes – we would love to see you for a role for which you are perfect, but in this case, you have STOLEN a spot from someone else in our session. Misrepresentation is not the greatest place to start your audition.
On the flip side, if you cut your hair off, we do not expect you to revise your headshots that day. Casting is imaginative enough to see you with shorter hair until your shots are revised.
2) No far away body shots (for your main picture). Sure, you work hard on your physique and you are proud. However, casting sees photos that are smaller than an inch surrounded by thousands of others that are equally small. HEADSHOTS SHOULD BE A SHOT OF YOUR HEAD. I’ll repeat: HEADSHOTS SHOULD BE A SHOT OF YOUR HEAD. If you’re too far away from the camera, we cannot see you.
3) NO GIMICKY HEADSHOTS. No goofy shots of you peeling a banana while swimming laps and smoking. If you’re a comedian, YES, you can have a goofier headshot, but it should represent you. Shaving in a firepit? No thanks.
4) Self edit. Often I’ll look at an actors profile and they have 17 shots. Take another look. Are the shots REALLY that different? Or are they variations on a theme. This can be a difficult task, so enlist help.
Headshots should be lively and show personality. Before you get new shots, do some research. Trust your taste. Look at other shots and see what JUMPS out at you – because that’s exactly what casting does.
Finally, do not spend a fortune on headshots. I’ve seen incredible shots taken on Iphones, and we honestly don’t add points to your audition because you dropped thousands on headshots. Honestly, your next agent is bound to make you re-take your pics anyway, so save your money and do your research.