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Musings on the eve of new Headshots

I don’t like headshots. I don’t like posing for them. I don’t like sorting through a billion them to find which the one or two to use. [That’s simpler now that I don’t have to decide on one or two to have mass produced, at least. Thanks, digital world!] I don’t enjoy most things about the process, except farting around and shooting the shit with the photographer.

I also don’t understand headshots. I mean, yeah, you send a picture so casting directors know how you look. Duh. The part I don’t get is the “Commercial” headshot versus “Character” versus “Business guy” because they’re all the same guy, only the clothes change.

Also, don ‘t get me started on why it took the 50+ years since movies went Technicolor™ for headshots to be acceptable in color.

Either we’re saying ability/talent has nothing to do with getting cast; it’s just how you look in costumes; or, casting people are so limited/challenged they can’t imagine a person in different clothes. [I know casting people. The ones I know are pretty sharp.]

My headshot through the years.

Having worked on the casting side for stage, movies, and commercials, I understand the people behind a project usually have a nebulous “type” in mind. Photos make it easier for them to flip through a large assortment of actors to weed out the definite “not what we’re looking for at this time” people, and narrow the field enough to start the first round of auditions, whether that’s in person or via self-tape.

Does a photo of you laughing show you can do comedy? I don’t think so.

But isn’t there just as much of a risk that you might submit a “Wacky Neighbor in a Hawaiian Shirt” headshot, when they’re looking for a more subdued type? Or vice versa? Why not just have a bunch of good photos of yourself handy, with an espressive range, and not worry about wardrobe and whatnot?

If you understand it, please explain it to me.

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