'Looks' and Casting

It's All About Marketing Yourself...

Being specific with your headshots will help open more doors for you. And we're not talking about costumes or "propped out" stuff, but looking like the real people you'd portray. Something that you could walk into an audition and easily carry off.

Understanding What Your Casting Potentials Are.

This is something that can take some time to develop and some actors agonize over this for years. Keeping notes and asking teachers, CD's, agents, photographers, and even strangers what roles they see you playing is a good start. One of the most effective exercises does all of this at once.

The Casting Exercise: Gather about 30-40 people, fellow actors will do, but try to invite other industry and non-industry types too. Best to invite about 15 friends and have everyone bring one person along, this way there's a higher chance that more people there won't know you personally. The less everyone knows each other and the more 'non-actors' there are the better. Everyone gets a pen and small pad of paper and takes a turn standing in the middle of the room for brief pre-determined period (30 seconds works well.) While you stand there the others job is to madly scribble their first impressions down. These could be names of people you resemble, types of jobs you might have, your mental stability, hobbies you do, really anything they think up is good and strange notes can sometimes lead to great ideas. The important thing is that these writings are STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS for everyone. Avoid using a list of adjectives as well as talking or sharing thoughts during this exercise, people are easily influenced and this can limit input and the excercise becomes less effective. Seeing an adjective on a list or hearing someone elses thoughts will make you much more likely to write that attribute down than you would if you hadn't.

Next comes the homework. Go home and tally all of those random thoughts into a cohesive document listing each note with the others that are similar until you get a clear picture. Remember to stay objective and try not to judge or get offended. (If this casting exercise helps start your career, you'll be THANKING them for that comment.) So, for instance, if 70% of the thoughts people had were describing some kind of white-collar job type you know that that is something to consider strongly when deciding which looks you will be aiming for and using toward your marketing strategy. If no one saw you as a mafia gangster you might want to scrap that casting idea (for now at least.)

Once you see these numbers you'll want to narrow down your focus to the top few, maybe even just the top one. The one that most people had seen you playing. You have an advantage being cast in this role and you'll want to use that to get in the door. Remember CD's, directors and other industry are seeing hundreds of headshots and faces a day, if you go out there trying to market 5 or 6 different looks at one time it will have less impact than putting out one look 5 or 6 times over that same period of time. Repeat and consistent exposure is the key to being remembered.

Turning That Casting Into a 'Look'

A good exercise for this is to write some character breakdowns for your casting types, as you do this imagine what this person looks like. Think of subtle ways that you might enhance yourself to carry out that role convincingly. This can include specific wardrobe, make-up, jewelry, and maybe a prop or two but all of this must be subtle and real, in the end it will be your attitude that carries it off. Lighting, location and composition will also contribute to this look.

Ultimately the headshot must look like this character just walked right in off the street and had a few snaps taken with no real effort on anyone's part. Don't forget, you must be able to carry off that character if someone calls you from the picture (which they will definitely do if all of the above elements are in place.)

We can discuss your casting in more detail at the start of the shoot or if you choose to meet with Jonathan beforehand. When going through wardrobe we like to get your ideas in order to make a clear shoot plan and to help get image ideas for our shoot. With digital we view the shots as we go so there is always freedom for us to collaborate and come up with new ideas.

If you like we can include shooting for a specific layout such as a postcard with a specific marketing idea you might have in mind. For instance, you might have a TV or theatre appearance coming up that you'd like to promote.

Please keep in mind these are only suggestions. If this is all sounding like too much to handle right now, don't worry we'll help you with ideas and wardrobe and you'll get plenty of workable options to start with. Not everyone's career starts off with a pitch perfect plan of action, so it's better to just get started than to let all of this get you 'in your head' and stop you up.

Call us and we can discuss what options will work best for you.