Acting : Helping casting directors see how THEY CAN CAST YOU, not how they cannot cast you by Regina Lee

Regina Lee

Helping casting directors see how THEY CAN CAST YOU, not how they cannot cast you

I asked my fellow S32 instructor Uma Incrocci how she advises people running into this issue... Check out her reply and her 2 great blogs on S32! ME: Hey Uma, as a non-actor myself, I've never known how best to advise an actor who doesn't have an obvious "look." What do you tell those actors who don't have an obvious look, who don't yet have credits that suggest a brand, and who are struggling to put together materials (headshot, reel, etc.) which will get them into rooms? To me - and this might not be great advice since I'm not in Casting!! - I would tell them to have headshots that help point a casting associate in the right direction. If you don't have a clear look, then let the headshot suggest, "hey this person could play the ex-jock office manager who gives all the desk jockeys a hard time."

Regina Lee

UMA's reply: Gosh, this is a great question and a tricky one to answer. I think the reality is most actors when they first are starting out don't quite know yet what their brand is - it's almost easier for quirky types because in the simple math of hollywood, your type is simply "quirky." :) I'd say most headshots fall into either "pretty" or "character" - but of course the really good ones get more specific. I'd say keep learning, keep exploring so you can keep refining your materials - but at the same time, don't let not knowing exactly what your brand is paralyze you. Better to have good, but possibly generic pictures, then none at all! I had off-brand (and looking back, sort of crappy) photos at many phases in my early career but I still was able to get work and start building credits. But yes, if there is a look you can mold in a headshot - say by adding glasses (which is something I do all the time - I've booked many jobs wearing glasses, even though I don't wear them in my regular life), and a nerdy quirky look to push the "tech nerd" look or something like that - then yes, definitely! Of course ONLY if you can actually be believable as a tech nerd. If you get called in based on that photo but then at the audition sound like a vapid airhead, then there's really no point in selling yourself as that. Of course, you don't want to take it too far - like those "comp cards" we all make fun of with the doctor, the cop, etc - but reps definitely like clear character photos - like corporate, sunny mom/dad, brooding cop, etc. It can help to at least try those standard ones -- and you'll soon see which one works the best for you. For example, as I've learned, my principal type is ladies who wear cardigans. I didn't know that 10 years ago -- it's become clear over the years by the roles I get called in for, and the roles I book! Hope that helps!

Regina Lee

Glasses are a great tool, and the actor should be sure his/her shirt matches the "glasses look." It's all about leading someone to understand "this is how I CAN cast you" rather than how they CANNOT cast you.

Uma Incrocci

Thanks for sharing, Regina! Of course another way you can help them know how to cast you is knowing that yourself. Essentially pitching yourself as a type that could come in useful - which comes back to knowing TV shows and their worlds. If it's a cop show or a crime show and you're a cop type, then yeah you want to pitch yourself to those shows!

Dana Walsh

Thank you for sharing your awesome information!! Much appreciated!! And have a great rest of the week too :)

Tony Fisher

Great advice there Regina, I think sometimes your brand is something that develops overtime.

Payton Maynard

Great info! Thanks for sharing

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