When building your brand, the version of yourself that you want to "sell" to employers or casting directors, it is important to create a persona that people want to contact and work with.
Think about it like this. If you were a director, trying to manage everyone on set, having problem after problem, and your actors expected you to cater to their individual needs, you would feel overwhelmed. Especially if these actors refused to help because they did not feel an obligation to you, rather that you are obligated to help them, you would not just be overwhelmed, but also frustrated.
But... imagine you are that same director and one of the actors offered to help you. How would that make you feel? You'd remember that actor and really want to keep in contact with them and spread their name around, right?
It’s called under-promising and over-delivering. It’s a technique that businesses constantly use to help spread word of mouth. Typically when you are first starting out you want to try to promise as much as you can because it will increase the number of times you are called. However, as your name expands and you get more and more jobs, you can start promising less but over-delivering, which really makes you memorable.
If you go that extra mile to really try to lend a helping hand (unless you are specifically asked not to), you will be remembered in the future. Your "brand's" "customer service" will be so much better than that of other actors or employees.
We've talked a lot about how a strong headshot can help show what makes you unique to a casting director, make you stand out among other actors in an audition, and even those photo flaws that may take away from showing these things to directors. Today we want to switch our focus to what casting directors are actually looking for when they are auditioning; the actual purpose of those headshots.
Most importantly, those in charge of casting want to know what you look like. This may seem obvious, but there are often misconceptions about how much of your appearance should be enhanced. While expressing the best version of yourself is crucial (in terms of composure and presentation), this does not mean you should perfect all flaws, they are after all what make you individual. Say for instance you have a scar on your cheek. Since physicality is one of the main qualities you're selling as an actor, digitally removing that scar is a bit like fibbing on a resume. If you arrive with a scar on your cheek having hidden it, you won't have truthfully sold your appearance and you become a less credible candidate for a role.This is not to say that you can't remove impermanent marks like pimples or discoloration, just not those things that are characteristic of your appearance.
Additionally, some casting directors may be specifically looking for imperfections. To remove these features can take away from the precise individuality casting directors may want.
Additionally, is the shot professional? This is another way to show your dedication to a production. A professional shot, one that has taken time and money to compose, implies a much higher level of commitment to auditioning than a photo taken in your home. While there are definitely ways to economize your headshots and make amateur shots appear more professional, it is not enough to choose your favorite vacation photo for a casting call; this will show much less commitment when looked at next to a professional shot. At the very least, an amateur photo should be taken specifically as a headshot and retouched by a professional if possible.
In addition to your appearance, headshots should also show what you are trying to sell: your acting skill. While aesthetics are important, this is only part of your acting resume. You have a fleeting moment to illustrate your skills and essentially market yourself to potential employers--make it count! You'll want to interact with the camera and play with your expression. If this seems more difficult in a photo shoot than on screen or stage it's important to find a photographer that can help to direct you and make you feel comfortable. The more comfortable you are with your photographer the more natural your expressions will be.
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Hey I'm Martin, and my goal is to help you reach yours. I love writing content about career advancement, marketing strategies, productivity, and much more.