One “headshot” is not enough.
Many starting actors think…
“Well I have a GREAT headshot, casting directors just need to generally see what I look like.” Starting actors think casting directors can imagine an actor in the role they are casting, just from a headshot.
Well, Casting Directors do NOT think that way.
Think of casting directors as some one looking for a lost wedding ring. They are frantically looking left and right for it. They do not have time or patience to imagine with the 1000s of headshots they get. They want to fill that role as fast as possible.
As an actor, you have to think like casting directors think.
The “Reality” of Casting.
Casting directors put people into “categories”;
- Leading Man/Woman
- Good-looking or Not.
- Different Racial Looks
- Mean, Nice, or Funny
- Tall or Short
- Young, Old, Middle Aged
- Good Guys / Bad Guys
Then they look at what Roles they can put a actor into:
- Working professionals: Detectives, FBI, CIA, Dr’s, Lawyers, Preachers, really any profession you can think of.
- Blue collar professions: Truck Driver, Mechanic, Carpenter, Painter, there are hundreds of those.
Seasoned actors understand this is how casting directors think and categorize actors. As a result, these seasoned actors have 8-12 different head shots on file showing different looks and characters. They do not just show different clothing, rather it is different attitudes or emotional thoughts which actually create many different character looks.
Seasoned actors have the ability to change the voice, movements, accents, and the different thoughts in their head to create these different looks and different characters. In other words, with these characters they have the ability to fill more roles. Therefore, they have more opportunities to work and make a living as an actor.
Casting directors WANT to fill the role quickly, they do not have time to be “Creative”.
If you can hold what they are looking for right in front of them, they will reach out and grab it.
Actors have to be creative.
You, the actor, have to be the creative one. Therefore do not expect a Casting Director to just “see” your talent in a headshot.
You are going to have to find a way to show it to them.
Casting Directors want to see the character, emotionally and physically right in front of them. They want to see the Character they are looking for.
You have to show it to them, then go into the audition looking exactly like the picture they saw. You do not want to send them mixed messages.
They won’t cast you if you have a beard, if the character doesn’t have a beard.
They probably will not cast you, even if you have a head shot showing yourself without a beard.
There are too many people without beards they can look at, they do not have time to be creative. So be what they see in the photos.
Why use a themed shoot in addition to regular head shots?
The whole themed shoot idea came when I heard of what was occurring at a Horror project that was being cast locally.
They were casting minors. So they would have to sit with the parents and talent to explain how the horror had shocking subject matter.
Again, understand that Casting Directors want to see that character right in front of them.
They need to know that the people they use are comfortable with the subject matter they are working in.
So when an actor or actress showed them horror themed headshots they can see the “Character” and know that these actors are comfortable in that genre.
Actors need Character
The themed shoot idea is “What if one could show a casting person that the actor is already eager to work in that subject matter and has a Character portfolio to prove it?”. Casting people knowing they are getting the RIGHT talent that is “onboard” with whatever they need for the genre.
Casting People are looking for CHARACTERS.
Casting people are Frantically looking to fill the roles in a script with live actors. If you have a “Character” in your portfolio that looks and acts like the role in their script, then chances are you will get an audition. For a photographer my goal is to get you to that step. The step of where they want to talk to you the actor.
At that point it is up to the casting people as to what occurs in the interview and if there is a good match, but the door was opened and a conversation was started.
So far, the results have been fantastic for the actors that have shot with me and have used my work in their portfolio.