Monday, May 20, 2013

What kind of picture or headshot is a casting director looking when submitting for background work?

The most important fact a background actor needs to know is they are NOT looking for a headshot. A big no no in our industry. Listen, we know that you spend money and time to look your best; angles are spot on, poses are perfect, hair & make up are better than ever, but unfortunately that’s not honestly what you look like every day. And in order to be submitted and chosen to be on a TV or movie set they want to know what you actually look like. You would be amazed what shows up on set…sometimes, nothing like what the submitted photo reflects. That is not the way to give yourself a good reputation. Be sure to read our previous post on becoming a background actor!

At Cut Above Casting we know you want to look your best and we work hard to photograph the best shots of you. As an actor, we know you probably are going to think your eye looks to small, or your smile is crooked, but trust me, I spent a lot of time when I first opened this business researching what casting directors wanted. They all said the same thing; real shots, not headshots. Please keep in mind I am solely talking about when submissions are for TV, film, commercials & music videos for background actors, the game totally changes when you have a manager, agent or are going out on auditions. Then, you will need your ever-so beautiful headshot!

If you are with an extras booking service, like Cut Above Casting you will probably take a range of two or three photos. Some of the basic looks they are looking for are, based on your age range are: 18 to play younger, hip & trendy, business types, upscale party goers, soccer moms & hipster, to name a few. Bring plenty of wardrobe options so the photographer can style you in different looks. Casting directors in Los Angeles don’t need too many pictures of you, they have been doing this a long time and know what they are looking for. Rest assured, if they want to see you as a look that they don’t see they will ask you, or us, to send them a picture. We have done it hundreds of times!

Well, I hope that has helped background actors to understand that a really honest shot of you is going to get you booked much quicker than a Photoshop headshot!

Side note: When you do get headshots taken be sure to look as much like you headshot as you do in real life. There are a lot of really affordable headshot photographers out there. Here are three of my favorites:

ClickWest Photo: Click West Photo
Chris Sista Photography: Chris Sista Photography
Amber Caul Photography: Amber Caul Photography

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