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Actors Make Sure Your Headshot Is You!

The most important calling card that an actor has (besides themselves of course) is their headshot. Your headshot and resume is an extraordinarily important member of your team. Ask yourself what makes you pick up something at the store to buy it. What is it about the movie that first makes you want to go see it. It's the packaging. Whether it's a shrink wrapped package, a movie poster, or a headshot - it's the packaging that gets the customer to unwrap and find out what's inside. After that - it's up to you.

Agents and casting directors see hundreds and thousands of headshots.

So, you've got to make yours stand out. But that doesn't mean that you should try and do something that's not you. If, after seeing that movie poster that features a cute guy holding a puppy and it turns out to be a slasher movie - you'll be annoyed that it wasn't as advertised.

The same holds true for headshots. If they don't look like you and if they don't represent who you are -- then you'll be called in for the wrong kinds of roles - and when you do get called in for auditions you won't be cast.

So, what are the top five things to think about when getting a headshot? Well, there's probably more than five - but here's our top five anyway:

1. Get your headshot professionally done.
Certainly you don't have to have Herb Ritts do your photographs - but don't scrimp either. This is your business calling card. This deserves to have real budget, and real effort put to it. It should be taken as seriously as you are taking your career. How much should you spend? Well, that's entirely up to you... Your next door neighbor might be an amazing photographer and do it for free... Or, maybe you're rich enough to hire Herb Ritts. The point is to do your research and find the right photographer that's right for you. That means asking your friends - checking out photographers. Looking at other headshots. Interview them. Look at their books.

2. Make sure that your headshot is about who you are - and reflects your type
 Don't take a "glamour" shot if you are marketing yourself as the boy next door. Celebrate your uniqueness and have your headshot reflect who you really are. A good photographer should help you here - and should shoot you in different looks so that you can pick a few to have on hand.

3. Your name should be on the front of your headshot - and it should be legible.
Your resume is usually on the back of the headshot.

4. Get opinions. When you get your contact sheets back get professional opinions. Ask your fellow actors. Ask your acting coach. If you have access ask an agent or casting directors. Get the opinions on which ones are the best. But don't be afraid to go with the one that you feel is best.

5. When you are getting your headshot reproduced - again don't scrimp here.
Don't have one made and then get it photocopied. Get it professionally duplicated. But don't get so many that you'll spend the next five years sending them out. Get them in a few hundred at a time. You don't want to invest so much in reproduction that if you discover there's a bad reaction to them.

Your headshot is your packaging. It's what's going to get you the audition, or the meeting with the agent, or the meeting with the director. Remember that it should represent the uniqueness and special qualities that make you shine.


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The Actor's Life
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Los Angeles, CA