Every actor needs them. All actors are afraid of bringing the wrong shirt.
So, what makes a great headshot?
We've done a few posts on this topic before, but we are invariably asked this question before every headshot session.
Because actors are, in essence, very passionate but disorganized control freaks that are acutely aware of their brand: themselves.
It's hard to think of one's body as a brand. Very few career choices make this a thing.
Think about it:
Only elite athletes and other artists - dancers, singers, models - deal with the body as a product.
And not even they have to fear the great onslaught of time that will inevitably change one's features enough that protocol dictates documenting said changes with new headshots that show just how hard you've partied in the last five years.
So, how do we combat the every day blemish or newly formed wrinkle? How do we get an amazing shot that will not only catch the casting director's eye, but will also capture the spirit of the artist?
Because let me tell you, one of the worst possible things to happen to an actor is not aging or performing a matinee hungover; it's being poorly cast.
Casting directors are incredibly important to a production. If the wrong actor with the wrong skillset is placed in a role of great import, you lose your audience. Audiences are not stupid and not everyone is Meryl Streep. But brand yourself correctly, and you can sure as hell pretend to be!
Branding is not the easiest thing in the world. It begs the question, "Who am I?"
And people do not like to answer that sh*t. But instead of asking who you are, actors should be asking themselves who they WANT to be.
The first thing you should do when sorting this out, is to write out a list of ten adjectives that - in your mind - sum you up pretty well. You can say things like, "Delightful, Funny, Skinny, Cheesy, Nerdy, Pockmarked, Damaged, Dangerous, Edgy, Comforting, Cool, Aloof, Sexy" and then tear out that page and lay it in front of you and to the left.
Do NOT write down stereotype B.S. like 'The Girl Next Door' or 'Leading Man'. Nope. No. Nah, boo. That's not a thing. Are you a stereotype or are you an actor? That's what I thought.
Next, you'll make a list of ten adjectives that you want people to use when describing you. This might seem cheesy, but darlin', we have worked with celebrity clients on their image/brand for ages and this sh*t works.
You can say things on your new list like, "Daring, Fabulous, Hilarious, Spellbinding, Mysterious, Domineering" or whatever else suits your fancy. You can even say, "Fancy" if it tickles you pink.
Now, take that list and lay it to your right, side by side with the first list.
What are the differences? Where do they overlap?
These lists are the KEY TO YOUR FUTURE.
I mean it! They are the key to your future brand and the way the world will see you from now on, so baby? You just go ahead and pin those lists to your bedroom wall and glance at them when you aren't sure whether to wear this shirt or that shirt to your audition. You glance at those lists when picking your next monologue. Take a gander when choosing scenes for your reel, or better yet, when you sit down to WRITE scenes for your reel that will emphasize what a badass and versatile actor you are.
That is what gets an actor cast with us. When you show who you are, not resorting to gimmicks or character shots, but actually showing us who you are - that's the golden ticket.