Answering a question by Lauren V of Santa Cruz, New Mexico (actress sheltering there with family who usually lives in LA). What are the best type of headshots to land an audition?
In today’s column, Bob Blume answered this question while giving his philosophy on actor’s headshots and what is needed to compete for auditions and ultimately land the job.
When headshots were in black and white, you needed one quality shot to take or have sent in for all job submissions.
In the theatre/live stage world, one great color headshot with your resume is all that is required for a theatre submission.
However, in TV and film, it is very different…with an average of 1500 submissions per TV co-starring role in NY and 4500 in for roles in LA. These figures have come from agents and Casting Directors (CDs) I know. Your headshot is your calling card and must “jump out of the pack” in order to get one of the precious few auditions for each role you are submitted for.
Philosophy and Advise For Clients.
- Jot down all the basic roles in TV/Film that you feel you are a fit to portray. Such as a detective, doctor, reporter, sleazy character, fashion model, drug addict, homeless person, CEO, etc.
- From what you have jotted down, create 5 or 6 categories of looks that could be similar, ie. a female police detective, prosecutor, corporate executive can all have similar looks and one great picture with that look might cover those submissions.
- If you want to audition for a role of a reporter, anchor person or TV host, make sure you have the vocal delivery skills before you take those pictures. In portraying a homeless person or drug addict do one great photo which ‘screams’ that character.
- As CDs have to review thousand of submissions in a short period of time to pull out the average of 8 auditions they will give out, they go through these photos very quickly – and your picture (unless you are a well-known actor to them) must fit their mental description of what they are looking for. Then, after it catches their eye, your resume, reel, other photos, etc will come into play to whether or not you get an audition.
- Very important – only use headshots that look just like you! I know of an instance when an actress walked into an audition and the CD looked at photo, looked up and said “who are you?” The actress looked nothing like her picture. The CD sent her away saying “I called in this girl” pointing to headshot – and you are not her!”
Finally, remember headshots are an art and just taking iPhone photos and putting them up will NOT compete with quality headshots shot by professional photographers.
Also, those of you who have representation, should always speak to your rep about photographers they recommend, as they must be happy with your pictures and be part of the headshot process because they are submitting you every day and won’t if they do not like your photos.
Also, CDs in NY and LA differ in the types of photos they prefer, and it varies depending on the CD. However, quality pictures are quality pictures and looks that jump out of the pack…. work!
Headshots are your calling card – DO NOT SCRIMP on them because if you have amateur pictures, all of us, managers, agents, casting directors, producers, etc. will think you are an amateur.
Wishing you good luck and good pictures!
To see Bob’s first column click here.