The selection process can be the bane of many actors' existence. There are so many to choose from and again, your success or failure as an artist hangs in the balance. (Cue the ominous music.) Duh, duh, duh!
Here are a few tips to help you make this sometimes difficult decision.
1) Before you even shoot your headshots, you should have a clear idea of what purpose these pics need to serve. Write it down!!! This way you can continually remind yourself while trying to choose.
- I'd like to be able to submit myself for the following types of roles:
young mom, business professional, fitness enthusiast, romantic girl next door
- I also need casual content for my website - some shots that show more personality.
- I need some close-up shots of my face in front of a bright background for lacasting.com and castingfrontier.com so that my thumbnail will stand out on the page.
- I need some 3/4 shots to show that I have an athletic build
- I would like one or two full length shots to show that I wear clothes well (Marshall's, TJ Maxx type thing)
That's all for now. Thanks for listening.
These are just examples. Everyone's needs are different.
2) Select your top contenders. Narrow it down!!! This way, when you ask people their opinion, they're are selecting from the ones that you already like.
3) Ask only trusted industry professionals for their opinion on the selections you've narrowed down. Though Aunt Martha is very sweet and always supportive, she will pick the image that is the most flattering because she doesn't know the business. Please remember that neutral and flattering does not always equal jobs!!!
4) If you can look at a picture and it immediately conjures a brand, a character, or a feeling, it's a winner. If you're a casting professional with very little time on your hands, you want to be able to glance at a headshot and know exactly what jobs that person is right for. If the opposite is true, it's forgettable. Remember, there are an awful lot of pretty faces in LA. Be interesting!!!! Be you!!!!
Here's an example of a casting breakdown for a commercial spot from lacasting.com:
OFFICE WORKER / Supporting / Male or Female / All Ethnicities / 20-49
This character will be studying in his/her cubicle at night after office closing time. No dialogue.
That's it. That's all there is to go on and you have 10 mins to go through hundreds of submissions. What would you be looking for??
5) Don't ask me! That sounds mean but if I've included a shot in your gallery, it's because it's usable. I, very carefully, sift through your shots and select 50 or 75 of the very best images from your session, careful not to overwhelm you with too many options. I think they're all good. Each one of them could be useful to you depending your needs.
It comes down to this. I don't know you very well but you do! You know what you want and what you need. If you don't know what you want or what you need, save your money and give it a little more thought. You'll be glad you did.
6) If you have an agent, ask them. Their opinion, however, is not the end all be all. They are not as invested in your career as you are. They're probably not going to agonize over your headshots, rather, they'll give them the once over and give their immediate impression. Take their opinions into careful consideration, though if you feel they are overlooking something, ask them about it. Be your own advocate. However, they do know the market and what it takes to get you auditions.
7) The most important thing is that your headshot should look like you. If it doesn't, you're wasting your time and money.
8) When in doubt, go with your gut and make a decision. There's a thing called "analysis paralysis." The only thing worse than making the "wrong" decision, is not making one at all. Once you've made your choices, be proud! Get those headshots out there and make them work for you!!!!