Gone are the days where a black and white headshot is all you needed to get an acting gig. Now we have databases full of our resumes, color photos, video slates and more! but a really basic thing you may not realize you need when you first start out is a shot that shows your body type. In my photography business I call it a 3/4 shot. Most of the time it isn’t necessary that the shot go all the way to your feet, but it needs to show what you are built like. Think of it this way, if you were making a movie, would you hire an actor without knowing their shape?
Some actors prefer to build a whole portfolio for their commercial print clients (You can read more about that here), but if you don’t want to invest in that, a great 3/4 shot has these elements
1) It shows your personality. Are you smily? are you more edgy? the type of 3/4 shot you use should be similar to your headshot in this way. It needs to represent the types of characters you want to cast
2) It shows your body type. No fancy posing or angles to hide your flaws. Just a simple stance will be what they’d like to see
3) SIMPLE styling. A t-shirt and jeans is a great option. NO fancy clothes, no dressy overdone looks. This is NOT a fashion shot.
4) background can be minimal (as in the example photo) or on location, but if it’s on location, try to keep it simple and match it to the type of character you are portraying. quirky grandma could be outside on a garden path, young businessman could be standing on a city street, girl next door could be leaning on a colorful wall.
Break a Leg!
A modeling agency-owner friend of mine Dawn (not her real name) emailed me last week about one of her best models getting “poached” by a former booker at her agency. This wasn’t the first time I had heard a story like this- I hear it all the time.
What happened was Dawn’s model Kayla (not her real name) had built a work relationship with the agency employee Marty (not her real name) and trusted her to help her with her career. Then when Marty, the agency booker decided to go off and start her own agency, she convinced Kayla, the model, to come with her. In Kayla’s mind, Marty had really helped her become a model, and she didn’t talk to Dawn much, but in the end Marty was just Dawn’s employee- Dawn had all of the contacts, Dawn had put all of the money and work into Kayla, and Marty had just collected a paycheck and done as she was told. So now Kayla was in the hands of an inexperienced booker. So wrong right? The other important detail: ALL of this was a legal breach of contract for both Marty and Kayla. This article reminded me that this problem is RAMPANT in the industry and is very complicated. Models just want to have a great career, and are looking for the RIGHT agency to help them get there, BUT when you, as a model, sign a contract, you are obligated to see it through if your agent is living up to their side of the bargain. You can’t just up and decide to go with a different agent because you “like” them. This can go both ways though- I understand that sometimes models don’t always get what they want out of an agency, and honestly, you can often fix this with a few simple conversations instead of sneaky dealings.
And Agents, don’t poach other agencies models. That’s like stealing another woman’s man, and that’s just mean.
Looking for agency representation can be exciting and stressful all at the same time. However, it is important to know that not all agencies are the same or look for the same things. During your search make it a point to submit yourself according to each agency’s preferences. Doing otherwise will more than likely send your submission into the trash.
When it comes to open casting calls, it is especially crucial to follow the rules in order to put yourself on the agency’s good side. Remember, part of being a good model is having the ability to follow directions. If you can’t fulfill the requirements for an open casting call, this makes a bad first impression and could lead the agency staff to believe that you don’t follow directions well.
Don’t know what an open casting call is? Check out my post on the subject so you’ll be up to speed:
Okay, now on to the tips!
1. Make Sure the Agency Holds Open Casting Calls: Surprisingly, not all agencies have open calls available. The best way to find this information is to check the official website for the modeling agency. Any details about casting calls will be listed if they are offered or the agency may state that they don’t hold open casting calls. If there is no mention at all, that’s more than likely a sign that they don’t do casting calls.
2. Read All the Info & Follow Through: Again, good models follow directions. Never blindly attend a casting call. Always, always, always check the website of the modeling agency to find out how they conduct their open calls, when, during what times and note what you will need to bring. Following the instructions for an agency’s open casting call will put you ahead and make things much smoother for the agency. Tons of model hopefuls show up to casting calls and only the ones that are properly prepared will be given some time with the agency staff.
3. Make Sure You Show Up on the Right Day During the Right Times: Each modeling agency has its casting calls on certain days of the week. If you are planning on submitting to more than one agency, you’ll have to be extra organized to make sure that you go to the right casting call at the right time. Some agencies have casting calls 1-2 days a week, once a month or even less frequently. The time frame for most casting calls is two hours.
4. Go Early Rather Than Being on Time: Casting calls are typically held during specific time frames and if you happen to be considering a prominent agency, you can expect a lot of people to show up. Being right on time or late will put you at the end of the line and if you don’t make it into the agency’s office by the time the casting is done, you’ll be turned away–even though you were already there. So save yourself the hassle and get there early…you may get lucky and attend on a day when there aren’t many people attending or at least you’ll be ahead of the pack. However, being early (example: the casting doesn’t officially start until 3pm and you show up at 2:30pm) does not mean the agency will see you right then and there. You’ll have to wait until the actual casting process has started.
5. Don’t Bring a Group of People With You: If you are under the age of 18, then you must have a parent/guardian with you at the time of the casting call. No exceptions. Bring only one parent (make sure to leave any babies or younger siblings at home or with a sitter). Model hopefuls 18 years of age and older should arrive to the casting call by yourself or with one additional person who will not be a distraction. The person you bring will not be able to go into the actual casting with you (sit next to you while the agency asks you questions, etc.). There will more than likely be a lobby or other type of waiting area where your guest will have to stay until you are done.
6. Dress Wisely: Attending an open casting call is your opportunity for the agency to meet you as you are. The purpose is for them to get to know you briefly and evaluate your potential. You are NOT there to show off your favorite haute couture threads or other fancy outfits. Some agency websites give advice as to what male and female models should wear to casting calls. If such information is available, follow it!
If not, then you can’t go wrong with dark skinny jeans, heels and a solid colored, form fitting tank top or t-shirt (for the ladies) or dark, comfortable jeans, clean shoes and a form fitting t-shirt or tank top (for the guys).
Arrive with your hair out of your face and a clean complexion with little to no makeup.
7. Be Prepared to Wait: I’ve attended casting calls where there was hardly anyone there and I was seen pretty quickly, however, that is rare. In general, expect to run into a group of people at the casting calls you attend. Since it can take a while to get through everyone, be prepared and bring a book or something simple to keep you occupied. Word to the wise: there is a difference between being “occupied” and being “distracted”. Complex texting, playing games on your phone, talking on the phone, doing homework, etc. should be avoided since they tend to draw all of your attention, which could allow you to miss an important announcement, hearing your name/number being called or any other part of the process. Additionally, you want to show the agency that they have your attention–doing otherwise may make you seem like you’ve got better things to do than be at the casting call, which makes for a very negative first impression. I’ve seen models so engrossed with their life on their phones that they missed being called and the agency simply skipped over them and went on to the next person. Always be alert and ready for the agency staff to evaluate you.
8. Have Fun: The most important tip of all…being in the office of a modeling agency is exciting so use that positive energy to show the staff a bubbly, outgoing, genuine personality. Don’t be a kiss up or overwhelm them with “OMG” statements about how much you love their agency, their models, etc. The casting call is for you to shine so listen to the agency, answer their questions to the best of your ability and smile! The experience will fly by so enjoy every moment.
I know this is a modeling blog, but since so many of you do both, and it’s important to be plugged into the entertainment industry in as many ways as you can, I love this advice from Bryan Cranston about acting auditions.
here is the text from the post here
POSTED JANUARY 24, 2014
So, you totally nailed that audition yesterday and now you are just waiting for a call to hear you booked the gig. Instead, you get a message that the client wants to “ice” you or “put you on hold”. What does that mean!?!
First of all, these two terms are used interchangeably by most of the industry. Basically, the client likes you (they really like you!) and they might want to book you. However, they haven’t quite made up their mind yet or they may be waiting for a big wig or higher level decision maker to approve their talent choices. Or, they may have narrowed down the choices to one or two folks and they don’t want to risk losing an option while they pick.
When you agree to an icing or hold, you are agreeing to keep yourself available for the shoot date. That means you make arrangements for your work or schedule and you do not make other plans or accept other jobs on that date. However, the client still has the option to release you from the hold, or not book you without consequences. If you were “booked” and a client changed their mind, they would be required to pay a cancellation fee. An icing gives them a chance to lock in the talent they want before they are ready to move forward with a firm booking.
Icings are good. In fact, they are GREAT! It means you did a great audition and the client saw something they liked. 4 out of 5 times, an icing will be a booking for you. That fifth time when you don’t get the job usually happens when multiple talent were iced for one role. By the way, I’ll always warn you if you are one of multiple people holding for a role so you can set your expectations accordingly.
It never feels good to be passed on for a job, but it can actually be even harder when you were iced. To come so close and miss out? Some talent would rather have assumed they never had a shot. I encourage you to remember that an icing, regardless of what happens next, means that you were a client’s pick for a job. They saw something they liked and that almost always leads to a future gig. You are now on the client’s radar and they will be more likely to recognize you at another casting or think of you for an upcoming role.
- See more at: http://azaleaagency.com/2014/01/highs-lows-icing/#sthash.NdxVKPxX.dpuf
For all of the models out there who are watching their measurements, or are trying to reach goals, this is a great resource for doing it the healthy way.
Robert Deniro gives acting advice
This is a complicated thing that causes a LOT of confusion. Here’s what a mother agency typically does:
What a mother agent typically does NOT do:
It is important to also know that it will never hurt you to have a mother agent. The big agencies are used to new models coming in with a mother agent, so don’t be afraid that they will shy away from you if you are under a mother contract. The person who discovered you and developed you deserves to be paid for their time and energy. Plus the money your mother agent collects never comes out of your pocket- it comes from the agency fees that are already being collected on your behalf. I will be adding posts soon helping to decipher the agency commission mystery and how to find a mother agent if that’s something you are interested in.
Hi! for questions or booking information email email@example.com, call 865-335-1070, or visit my website, wisemanphoto.com and fill out the contact form.
1 look headshot session | $125
hair & makeup // $75
(strongly recommended for everyone including men and children)
This session takes about 30-45 minutes (not including hair and makeup time if applicable). This is great for beginning actors, kids, and adults needing a quick update. Agency represented talent should double check with their agents to make sure one-look is sufficient. You will wear one outfit and have a simple, neutral background. We will go through a variety of facial expressions and character types, however it should not be assumed that this can be used as a substitute for a multiple look shoot.
2 & 3/4 look headshot session | $300 hair & makeup // included
fashion styling // $100
This session takes about 2 hours, and includes two outfits, a hair and makeup artist with a slight change in hair and makeup styling between looks if desired (a major change i.e. straight hair for look 1 to curly hair for look 2 is an additional charge), and a 3/4 shot from the knees up. This session is ideal for agency represented actors who need a commercial, theatrical and a body shot for castings.
true model test / 1-2 looks | $200 hair & makeup // $100
(strongly recommended for everyone including men and children)
This session takes about 2 hours. Model and photographer will choose one simple outfit that is consistent with the marketing of the model. Layers are welcomed and can offer options for variety. This is great for experienced models who need a quick update, or for brand new models who are being tested for possible agency representation. Fashion styling available for $50
full portfolio / 4+ looks | $450 hair & makeup // included
fashion styling // $100
(strongly recommended for everyone including men and children)
This session takes about 4 hours and includes headshots and makeup/hair artistry. We will work together to come up with four looks that will create a diverse and thorough portfolio for new and updating models/talent. The shoot can be commercial or fashion in nature, or a combination of both (I can explain this more). I encourage everyone to consider adding fashion styling, where clothes can be provided at the shoot to eliminate uncertainty and guarantee appropriate looks.
I get questions about fitness modeling all the time. A lot of people don’t know how to prepare for a fitness test most of all. A fitness model is obviously in great shape, but importantly, typically can also double as a commercial print model as well. a great face, good proportions, a fun attitude and a killer smile are all things agents look for in a fitness model.
For your fitness portfolio, I found this GREAT example.
When packing for a fitness test you want to bring some great pieces. Here’s a list:
Both: you don’t need to bring ALL of these
Make sure to shave and be in your BEST shape!! Good luck!