Here’s the big misconception… You’re not getting auditions because: 1) you don’t have a good enough agent, or 2) not enough casting directors know about you.
Nope. Not even close.
In reality, the primary answer is far simpler. And luckily it’s more easily corrected. You need to upgrade your headshots – immediately.
In fact, don’t send out one more headshot until you finish reading this.
Let’s break this down…
You need to get more auditions and more meetings.
I’m not talking about adding an audition to your schedule here and there. I’m talking about multiplying your auditions and your meetings week in and week out. In fact, you need them if you’re going to sustain yourself and become a working actor.
Upgrading your headshots will make that happen for you.
Your headshot is your most important marketing tool. Without an excellent headshot, your other business and marketing tools (that you pay way more for) are truly wasted. Odds are that your headshot is not excellent if you’re not getting the amount of auditions you need.
Your headshot has one objective: to get you the audition or introduction or meeting.
Here’s the rub…
If you’ve had enough meetings with casting professionals and agents, then you’ve heard them repeatedly say how awful actors’ headshots are.
They’ll go on and on about it. It can be intensely frustrating. Usually they’re not wrong either.
The worst part, though, is that they rarely tell you exactly how to make it better. Or if they do, it’s usually with odd euphemisms like ‘you need to make them pop,’ or ‘capture the real you.’
On top of it, everyone has different criteria for what makes a great headshot. For every 10 casting directors, you’ll get 10 differing opinions. There comes a point when you need to stop trying to average out everyone’s opinion.
It’s just not helpful, let alone actionable.
So how do you get excellent headshots? Luckily, there is a solution.
The Headshot Solution
There is a formula though for making your headshots pop.
My clients have been able to triple their auditions, and even double their meetings, when they have upgraded their headshots in the right way.
Let me confirm now that the right way does not involve:
- Paying $1000s of dollars for a super high-end photographer who breaks your bank
- Retouching the hell out of your pictures so that your basic characteristics disappear
- Looking perfect in a way you never do when you walk into an audition
These mistakes cost actors dearly in terms of money, lost opportunities and auditions, and time.
Another mistake is not hiring a quality photographer.
Your headshot needs to meet specific technical goals including superior lighting, definition and contrast. Only a solid photographer can give you these. This creates the basic technical foundation so that the real solutions below can work for you.
You must stop making the same mistakes that most other actors do with their headshots.
These 3 solutions will make your headshots achieve high-performance and excellence:
Don’t be tempted into thinking that actors like Kate Winslet or Chris Hemsworth don’t need great headshots too. They know how to deliver them! At that level though, their work on screen is doing most of the work for them.
However, when you’re just starting out and building recognizable credits for yourself, your headshots have to do all the heavy lifting.
For this, they have to be your perfect match.
This happens on a couple of levels.
- The description of the character matches the person in the headshot (for a CD/producer).
- Therefore, the person who walks into the room has to match the person in the headshot.
Make sure that your headshot is a visual extension of you.
It must look just like you, and the tone must feel just like you. This tends to be the biggest mistake actors make in not creating a perfect match.
This is how you solve problems for an agent or casting director. You tell them exactly what to do with you if you’ve taken your headshots with a marketing plan already in place and know what you’re delivering. More on this below.
Be a Testing Machine
All business tools exist for you to wield them powerfully. Your headshot is no different.
You can use it weakly and passively, or you can take control and wield it like Thor’s hammer. I’m clearly on a Chris Hemsworth kick today…
You need to test your headshots regularly, and keep track of which ones work best for you.
For example, one headshot may work great for a long time, then stops working well for you. There are a lot of reasons for this, including changes in fashion and viewing fatigue. It’s very often the latter.
It’s your job to analyze what works and why. Then you can find replacements that fulfill your needs.
Most actors don’t just bother keeping track of this, so don’t be like most non-working actors! It’s too easy to assume no one is interested instead of asking why no one is interested.
While your headshot has its primary objective – to match a role and get you that audition (or meeting with representation), it’s going to achieve this in a couple different ways:
- To introduce you to – and pique the interest of – someone who does not know you yet (what we call your cold audience in marketing terms)
- To remind someone who is familiar with you and your work about you (what we call your warm audience)
This distinction is important. It allows you to send the right headshot to the right person at the right time.
You may need to introduce yourself a few times with an ultra-high-performing headshot to your cold audience, before you send a different role-matching headshot to a warm audience who’s ready to bring you in for an audition.
You can’t skip the steps and be consistently successful. You can, however, use the steps better and maximize your success. You always have the option and control to use this hammer better.
Test regularly and improve your results.
Tell Your Story
I know from working with hundreds of actors that certain patterns emerge and work. When you implement everything you know as an actor into your marketing, then doors seem to magically swing open for you.
This is the ultimate solution. It’s also what you do best as an actor.
Your marketing and your Business of Acting are not separate from your acting skills. They are natural extensions of it.
This is one of the biggest mistakes I see actors make all of the time.
When you treat marketing and business as some unpleasant activity that has nothing to do with you as an actor, you immediately create a massive barrier between your talent and your opportunities to use your talent.
Read that again. In effect, you strangle your opportunities.
What do you do as an actor? You tell stories.
More specifically, you tell the one story of your character.
You must apply the exact same skill to your headshots. It’s the easiest fix in the world!
What stories will you tell with your headshots? Who is a casting director or agent going to meet when they see your headshot?
Most importantly, will they know exactly how to cast you?
This is the real work.
It’s the work you already know how to do as an actor. Once you apply it to your headshots, they are going to naturally rise above the pack. They will do the heavy lifting for you.
Want the quick guide to learn exactly how to upgrade your headshots to your triple your auditions and double your meetings? Click here to download your Audition Getting Headshot Cheat Sheet now.