Thinking like a business owner is a crucial part of being a successful actor. I understand your need to be creative, express yourself and act as much as you can, but until you put your business hat on you will do little more than seldom land paid roles (by chance) or stay in the circle of unpaid (student) film/theatre work.
I know! And believe me I know you need experience to get yourself off the ground, but can you really call yourself an actor if all you are doing is volunteering your time? Don’t you want to get paid for doing what you love? Wouldn’t it be great to be able to pay the bills through your acting income?
ONLY LUCKY PEOPLE MAKE IT
“It’s about being in the right place at the right time” – I’ve heard it all before. No offence but that is not the only way to make it as an actor. That saying is thrown around by people who have very little understanding of how to market yourself as an actor the smart/effective way. You don’t need to hang around the backstage doors of theatre’s, hoping to catch a glimpse of your acting idle who might just pick up you’re an actor and take you under their wing. Forget doing that 26th unpaid, unorganised student film. Drop the “you never know these students might make it” mentality – even if they do, will they remember you? You’re not their priority. When you’ve got a decent show reel together say no more to the student films. You definitely don’t need to acquaint yourself with the casting couch or any other unethical way of getting to the top. Being in the right place at the right time is exhausting.
WHERE IS THE RIGHT PLACE?
Nobody knows. In marketing terms being in the right place at the right time is known as spray and pray marketing. You launch yourself at everything and anything and try to be everywhere and anywhere in the hope of moving your way up the ladder and being in that all important “right place”. The chances of this happening are very slim and therefore what the general public say of “only lucky people make it” becomes true.
HOW DO I MARKET MYSELF EFFECTIVELY AS AN ACTOR?
The first thing any casting director, director, agent is going to see is your head shot. As an actor you need to make sure your head shot is money well spent, by that I mean it needs to be an effective marketing tool. You need to come across professional. CDs and directors make decisions based on headshots. It’s unbelievable how many actors try and cut corners with headshots and get it COMPLETELY WRONG.
TOP 3 TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE HEADSHOTS
- GET THE BASICS RIGHT – a standard industry recognised head shot should be 10×8 in both colour and black and white with the main feature of the photo being your head, and the focus on your eyes. The eyes are the gateway to the soul so be sure to be thinking something when your pictures are taken. Casting directors, agencies, directors are all looking for something “going on” behind the eyes. Forget the fancy back ground, The attention needs to be on YOU.
- GO WITH A PROFESSIONAL HEAD SHOT PHOTOGRAPHER – cutting corners and using someone because they are cheap, just starting out, have a little bit of experience, are just learning the ropes or have a fancy camera will not do you any favours, no more than using a friend of the family. Use someone who has experience of working with actors, who knows how to get the best out of you and preferably someone who specialises in actors headshots. If you cut corners your head shots reflect you. You are a brand after all. Remember the saying you get what you pay for… Head shot sessions can be anything from £65 for the session to £15-30 per photo of your choice upwards.
- AVOID POSING – Leave that for your nights out or personal Facebook photos. I know we all want to look our best but pouting/posing/overkill on the airbrushing or a tonne of make up slapped on does not reflect you. At best you will look like an inexperienced model. Looking natural is far more enticing. Art reflects life and therefore you need to look like yourself in day to day life. Casting directors are more interested in seeing you and your casting type. If you have laugh lines, that’s great, wrinkles round your eyes – perfect. Casting directors don’t take lightly to having their time wasted when someone walks through the door who looks nothing like the picture in front of them. Don’t forget to let your personality shine.
LOOKING FOR INSPIRATION?
Here are some recognised actors head shots
- KATE WINSLET – http://unitedagents.co.uk/kate-winslet
- KEIRA KNIGHTLEY – http://unitedagents.co.uk/keira-knightley
- MICHAEL FASSBENDER – http://www.troikatalent.com/#/conor-mccaughan-sam-fox/michael-fassbender/
- PADDY CONSIDINE – http://www.troikatalent.com/#/conor-mccaughan-sam-fox/paddy-considine/
Do you need more tips to get you on your way with your acting career? Download our FREE eBook “The top 45 method acting secrets to launch your career” bit.ly/free45tipsbook