So, as I'm gearing up for my web-series this summer, I start to go through the headshots and resumes from the audition process of A Father's Love. I have a couple of notes for my actor friends out there from the other side of the table. I will try to list them in order of importance in case you don't make it through the list:
1. "Do not paperclip. Staple your headshot and resume together" Paperclips get separated really easy and you want anyone trying to find or remember you to be able to.
2. "Make sure your contact info is on your resume". Now I've hunted down actors and contacted them on Facebook if I could find them but most ppl won't. Make sure you have a working number and email on your resume.
3. "Be professional from the moment you send out the first communication to the last". Ppl get notes on their auditions so even if they don't remember everything, they write it down. And it makes a difference. From that first email expressing interest. To your follow up when it's been a while. Keep it classy.
Headshots - Let’s talk about it!
4. "Put your name on your headshot". It helps a lot if it gets separated from the resume.
4A. "Make sure you look like your headshot". It may sound crazy but if you see 100 or more ppl audition things run together, and things get forgotten. It could be the smallest thing that sticks out and makes ppl remember you on both ends of the spectrum. It sucks but not looking like your headshot could make them forget you because what they're seeing in their head does not line up with what's on that 8x10.
4B. "Make sure your headshot showcases how beautiful and amazing you are". I recently told one of my friends they looked so much better than their headshot. Your headshot should be one of your best pictures. You shouldn't have selfies where you look a million times better. If you are fly, confident, and charismatic, your picture should reflect that. It shouldn't reflect I hate taking pictures, I've been in this pose too long, it sunny but it's really cold outside, or I hate this shirt. All of that may be true, but you are an actor so act like it isn't. Save it for the small talk between changes with your photographer. Don't let it come through on the picture that is your calling card.
4B1. This is especially for my theatre friends, "type matters". A look may not mean that much in your theatre background. You may have played 20 years younger or older in theatre but it's not likely to happen in a film. Decisions on casting often are splitting hairs and you don't want to lose a role because you don't look like your best self in your picture. Or because you look like the love interest in your headshot when you would be perfect for the mom or corky best friend.
4C. "Know what you're auditioning for a bring a headshot that says I know what I'm auditioning for". Now if you only have one shot it doesn't matter go with that. But you should have more. If you have a shot that makes you look younger don't bring that into an audition where you need to look older. And if you need to look your age, don't bring a shot that makes you look older. Do you get it? As much as headshots cost these days you better walk away from a session with more than one picture.
4D. "The basics" - No black and whites. Just don't. Please make it 8x10. Just do it. If you can, get your name on it and get it in matte.
PS. Before we close on headshots, great headshots and great headshot prints cost money. Don't be cheap on your career. Invest in yourself. It's worth it.
6. "Make your resume look nice". Take the time to do it. Even if you really haven't worked much, make that nothingness look nice. Make sure fonts match up. Make sure lines match up. And don't just print it out. Cut it down to 8x10 to match the headshot. It just looks tacky if it doesn't. And it reads either, I'm young and inexperienced or I'm not a professional and don't take this seriously. Neither are great. It can be done with scissors. Don't be lazy or cheap about your career.
7. "When they say they'll keep you on file, they do". Don't blow that off. Most auditions are bigger than the pieces you're actually auditioning for. So make a great impression. Don't just think about what you're auditioning for, think about who you're auditioning for. Win the person even if you don't win the role. It's often not about talent but who's right for the role. Ppl may not cast you on this one but they will remember you for something you are right for and call you in. I know someone who booked network television from a two year old audition.
Sides - Work!
8. "Know your sides". If sides are provided, memorize them. Just put the work in and learn them. Especially on a call back.
8A. "Don't make excuses for why you don't know your sides". It makes everyone look bad. Starting with you. Your agent and/or manager. The CD. Everyone.
8B. "Take the time to actually work on your sides". Get together with some of your acting buddies if you don't have a personal acting coach. Work on them. Have someone else see you do them. Planning how to say it in your head doesn't count. Never walk into an audition having never said the lines out loud. The audition room should not be the first play you say this stuff. Had to learn this the hard way.
8C. "Make clear and bold choices on your sides". Specificity matters and it's the difference maker.
8D. "Be flexible with the sides". If you do a good job with the sides: you've worked on them, and you've made clear and bold choices, but it's not what they're looking for, the director will often give you some direction. Be able to take direction. Don't fall apart when they give you something new or different. Memorize the words. Not how you say them.
9. "Don't make excuses, make a way". All of this advice has been about the work that takes place before you get in the room. That's when the real work starts. If you do the work before you get the room, what happens in there will be what it will be. Que sera! I keep saying but don't be cheap and/or lazy about your career. Invest in yourself. Have a website, or YouTube, or Vimeo, or something that allows ppl to find you online and see your work. A lot of this boils down to effort.
I don't have it all figured out. Just sharing some things I've learned along the way and things that have worked for me after experiencing life on both sides of the table. Stay up to date on what's current. Trends change in the industry all the time. If you have any other questions let me know!