Acting Resources >> Acting Tips >> Acting Articles >> Inside the Casting Office

Inside the Casting Office

Inside the casting office is our newsletter dedicated to educating you, the actor, about essential issues that you must know in order to excel in your acting career.

Hey guys,

So Jen and I just got back from a busy week in LA. We went out there to have meetings to drum up more business (ya see, we have to knock on doors too!) and to attend the Artios Awards, which are also known as the CSA awards. For those of you who don't know about them, the Artios Awards is a big dinner and award ceremony where casting directors are given awards for excellence in casting.

While Jen and I were on the plane we were talking about our last "Business Of Acting Blast" seminar and how we were moved by the huge number of thank-you emails we received from the actors who attended. We realized that there are so many things that actors need to learn about how this industry works and that our seminars were really making a difference. We thought that was great but we felt somewhat limited in how many actors we could actually reach by just doing our seminar. That's why we decided that I would to do a little email newsletter every so often. We think that this could be the perfect way for us to get essential and valuable information to you - just like we do in our seminar. Hopefully you will find the information helpful and it will enable you to move your career ahead more forcefully and effectively. We really want to see you reach your goals and live your dreams.

Ok, so here in issue #1 of INSIDE THE CASTING OFFICE I want to discuss a very important topic Headshots. Unlike many casting offices, every headshot mailed to our office is actually looked at by one of the casting directors either Jen or myself. When we got back from LA my desk was piled high. Imagine what that pile looks like from a casting director's point of view. Over three hundred headshots in a huge stack, a hopeful actor's face on each and every one. Well, after a week of not looking at a single headshot, I attacked the pile with a fresh perspective, collected my thoughts and decided what I wanted to tell you about headshots from the casting director's point of view.

As we explain in our seminar, each picture gets only a second or so, and the ones that are of interest to us are mainly the ones that are applicable to whatever we are casting at the moment. Since we are currently casting teens for a Disney Pilot, most of the pictures were NOT what I needed at the time (that's also why we didn't send an email about that project to you). But what struck me the most was how many un-represented actors have really bad shots or have shots that are "floating heads" (a tight close up of a face filling the whole picture). So that's why I want to really reiterate strongly some advice that Jen and I give actors at out seminars and here it is -


You see, if you have a great agent or manager submitting your picture on projects, then your shots can be more of the traditional "headshot" because casting directors trust your agent/manager when deciding if you should be seen for a role. If you are NOT with a great agent/manager, then a 3/4 shot is the way to go. A 3/4 shot is a picture that shows not only your "head" but also your body or in other words THREE QUARTERS of you. You could be standing, sitting on a stool or any other position that shows you from the head down to your waist - or even a little lower. You must realize - your picture's job is to impart data about what you look like from a casting perspective. If an agent has room on his client list for a certain "TYPE" or a casting director is looking for an actor to play a SPECIFIC ROLE in both cases they have an idea of the "look" they are seeking. A FLOATING HEAD TELLS THEM VERY LITTLE!!!!

Look, you are who you are. SHOW PEOPLE WHO YOU ARE! MORE information is better. When we are casting, we are MUCH more likely to call someone in for a role when we feel that they REALLY look like what we are imagining the character to look like. As Jen and I always teach you need to have clear, direct, honest pictures that show what you REALLY look like MOST of the time and we think that 3/4 shots are best for actors who are not represented by a top agent/manager.

Ok, so here I am flipping through 300 pictures. The ones that are 3/4 always attract my interest more cause each is a shot of a PERSON NOT a HEAD!!!!!!! If you ALL OF YOU look like the character we are casting, we will call you in for an audition. In this industry, sometimes less is more. With regard to headshots, it is my opinion that MORE is MORE MORE of you is BETTER.

We hope you have found this tip to be helpful. See to you soon.

By Jeff Mitchell and Jen Rudolph of Mitchell/Rudolph Casting