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Headshot Tips

Get a professional headshot.
You'd be surprised how many people send Polaroids, Xeroxes, or other photos in place of a professional headshot. Don't; they go directly into the trash. If an actor doesn't have the commitment to get a headshot done professionally, how can we expect him or her to act professionally on the set?

Make sure your headshot reflects your spirit.
If you're nerdy, don't send a sexy headshot; embrace your best qualities. Casting directors look through thousands of headshots, and the first hurdle is the "look test." If the actor doesn't have the right feel, they may not bother to look at your resume. But if your headshot misrepresents what you can play, you will most probably end up wasting everyone's time.

Respond only to appropriate listings
If the ad says "mature," and you look 16, or "Latino," and you are Asian, it is best not to waste the postage. Better to focus on those roles that are best for you than to cast a ridiculously wide net.

Send your headshot in an easy to open envelope
Nothing is worse than trying to tear open 500 glued shut headshot envelopes. The best approach is this: Buy clasp envelops and clasp them. If you are worried about the contents falling out, or Peeping-Tom postal officials, use a small piece of tape over the seal.

Write a note
You'd be surprised how much difference a note makes. It is your chance to get a few additional seconds of the casting director's time, and to make your case for why he or she should call you in. (Remember, you aren't asking for the part here, but only for an audition.)

Explain why you should get an audition
If there is a compelling reason why you should get an audition, make it. Is this a Shakespeare play? Well, then, talk about the past verse shows you've performed in. Have you seen this company's work? Talk about that.

Staple everything to the back of your headshot
Imagine how messy some casting directors desks can get. Now imagine your lovely letter (or resume) - which got your past the first round of eliminations - hopelessly lost from its owner. This may mean that both will get thrown out. So staple everything to together (to the back, please - keep that photo clear of debris). And by the way, paper clips are the weak cousins of the mighty staple.

Make your resume meaty
After you pass the "look test," the next stop is an analysis of your resume (laser printed and stapled to the back of your headshot, of course). Remember that most casting directors will only have a few seconds to determine whether or not to read this page, so the first thing that will turn them off is a short experience list. As a rule of thumb, try to get 15 productions listed. (Of course, this is a major Catch 22 - but there's no way around it. A future Tips list will describe how to get all those juicy roles.)

Include an email address
Email is an easy way to contact actors, schedule an audition, and deliver sides. If you're worried about privacy, create a hotmail account specifically for the purpose.

Write your name on the front of your headshot
Simple and important, but often overlooked.

By Chad Gracia