Best Solution on How to Send an Actor Headshot & Resume via Email

There’s a better way to ensure your emails with your headshot and resume gets seen by your intended target, and doesn’t drop into the spam chasm. A simple solution that is user friendly for both the sender and receiver. A solution that has casting or a representative doing one click: opening your email.

Email Success

Paul Russell_HeadshotPaul Russell – author, director & casting director

The majority of actor emails with picture & resume attachments to casting and agents or managers is dumped into spam folders going unnoticed. Worse; those vital actor messages seeking employment and/or representation are annihilated and unopened by a single click with hundreds of other actor emails. All that work and hope by the actor lost to the digital ether…

The spam algorithms of nearly all major email services (Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, and the antiquated AOL) automatically dump emails from “strangers” to a recipient into the recipient’s spam folder. Gmail has the largest wall protecting its borders against spam. Once Gmail detects what the algorithms suspect is an alien email with an attachment the email is deported to a hidden folder unseen by the recipient.

There’s a better way to ensure your emails with your headshot and resume gets seen by your intended target, and doesn’t drop into the spam chasm. A simple solution that is user friendly for both the sender and receiver. A solution that has casting or a representative doing one click: opening your email.

 

Step 1:

No attachments.

Attachments = Spam Folder

Attachments ≠ Receiver Friendly

 

Besides the spam folder abyss; attachments cause recipients to avoid opening attachments for fear of viruses contained within the files. Your target deletes your precious email without their opening your message.

 

Step 2:

Insert a thumbnail image of your headshot in the body of your email (following your signature).

 

How to Place an Actor’s Resume & Headshot into The Body of an Email:

 

Step 1:

Create an industry-standard formatted resume in a table using a word document program.

Tables ensure your resume remains neatly, industry-standard formatted upon the email being opened.

(Below: The resume of the Russell-Menashe family queen cat Dorie)

Actors Resume Table Format for Email

 

Step 2:

The full-width email version of the resume is to be 5 ½ inches.

Email Resume Margin

 

NOTE: Studies reveal that the average, smallest width of an open email desktop browser window by a user is 5 ½ inches to 6 inches.

 

Step 3:

Make the resume table’s cell borders invisible by either using the “No Borders” option, or having the borders all colored white. This way the nasty, unattractive black lines won’t show or print.

Resume_No_Table_Lines

 

NOTE: Select the resume’s entire body (pressing “CNTRL” key & “A” key simultaneously for PCs) to change all the borders in one step.

Step 3a:

Select All with table showing

Step 3b:

No_Border_DropDown

Step 4:

Select the entire body of the resume and Copy (pressing “CNTRL” key & “C” key simultaneously on PCs)

 

Step 5:  Paste the resume into the body of your email BELOW your signature.

Actor Resume in Body of Email

 

Step 6: Create a thumbnail of your headshot

NOTE: Your headshot thumbnail is to be no larger than 250 pixels wide & high. Never place a full 8×10 in an email. The download on the receipt’s end is near endless. Plus the recipient will more than likely see only one of your large eyes, and then use scroll bars to see other too large proportions of you.

 

Step 7:  Copy the thumbnail headshot.

 

Step 8: Paste (or insert) the thumbnail of your headshot after your signature but before your resume

Thumbnail Headshot in Body of Email

 

Step 9: 

Write your best message for what you seek, and why you’re the best at what you do in the body of your email ABOVE your thumbnail headshot & resume.

 

NOTE: Write in your VOICE.

 

(Answers For Actors’ TIPs on HOW TO WRITE THE BEST COVER LETTER EVER)

 

Step 10:  Review for typos, voice, clarity, and then send!

 

You just beat spam algorithms.

When the receiver opens your email they are forced to view your headshot thumbnail & resume that is in the body of your email.

NOTE: Gmail & Outlook users may create the table resume within the email itself without doing the copy and paste from a file option. But it’s best to always have an email version on file, with the proper bowser widow size width resume (5 and ½ to 6 inches).

 

You’re done! Almost…

 

For many, many more actor marketing tips plus audition room technique, and how to best find and keep agents get that vital information from the people who know it best: Broadway and Hollywood actors, agents and casting directors speaking to you from the pages of the book the casting director for Hamilton, The Intern, The Wiz – Live hails as:

“Actors everywhere who are trying to succeed in the business, young or old, on stage or on camera, anywhere in the world, take note:

This is your roadmap!”

BERNARD TELSEY, casting director – CSA
(The InternHamiltonNBC’s The Wiz – LIVE!, Wicked)

Get Paul Russell’s best-seller for actors; ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistake & Achieve Success as a Working Actor

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Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned over thirty years. He has worked on projects for major film studios, television networks, and Broadway. Paul has taught the business of acting and audition technique at NYU and has spoken at universities including Yale, Temple and the University of the Arts. He is the author of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor. For more information, please visit www.PaulRussell.net.

Casting Directors, Talent Agents, Directors & Actors

Love Paul Russell’s Best-Selling Book for Actors
ACTING: Make It Your Business!

“All the right questions asked and answered…
and with a generous portion of good humor.”
SUZANNE RYAN, casting director, CSA
(Law & OrderUnforgettable)

 

“I love this book!
Paul’s book tells you what you don’t want to hear but really need to know
EVERY actor should read this book!”
DIANE RILEY, Senior Legit Talent Agent
Harden-Curtis & Associates

 

“Paul’s book made me proud to be a part of this community we call ‘show!'”
KAREN ZIEMBA, TONY & Drama Desk Award Winning Actress

 

“Paul Russell’s words are not only blunt & accurate they zero in on all the questions every actor wants to know but is afraid to ask!”
KEN MELAMED, Talent Agency Partner
Bret Adams, Ltd.

 

“I had my Business of Acting, BFA Seniors, class do book reports on a variety of “business of acting” books and ACTING: Make It Your Business came out a clear winner—considered to be essential for their bookshelves!
Dr. NINA LeNOIR,
Dept. Chair – Dept. of Thtr.
Chapman University

 

Get smarter on the business of acting from legendary Hollywood & Broadway actors and talent agents in a casting director Paul Russell’s Best-Selling Book ACTING:AMIYB_Amazon Make It Your Business!

The Red Flag Harming Actors’ Careers

There’s a red flag that too many actors blindly carry. One heralding to the entertainment industry a lack of self-confidence that must be dropped and discarded quickly if an actor wishes to win the battle that is acquiring success. What is this red flag?

Paul RussellThere’s a red flag that too many actors blindly carry. One heralding to the entertainment industry a lack of self-confidence in artistic skills and work history. This banner of insecurity—not seen by the actor but by industry—must be dropped and discarded quickly if an actor wishes to win the battle that is acquiring success.

What are some actors flaunting that is so damaging that they are blinded to the consequences of their own actions? The answer is found in what do the following have in common:

Headshots with “burnt” negative edges

Castability Sheets

Glossies

Actresses: Floral print schematas

Actors: Khakis / Beards

The white headshot

Mood rings

Gallagher

They’re all trends: come, gone, with some struggling on life-support. The “It” of the moment for which people followed to sacrifice individuality, free thought, and expression of the unique. Trends bear a herd mentality; sucking in swaths of followers who cannot think for themselves emulating what others are doing or expressing so as to quell the fear of being ‘left behind.’ (Trendies sporting mood rings to Gallagher appearances were the uber-mindless of the mindless: i.e. LCD zombies.)

In no other industry but fashion do trends mangle self-image than in entertainment and an actor’s pursuit of growing a successful career.

As stated in ACTING: Make It Your Business, our business of entertainment is “all about image, image, and image.” When an actor follows the latest headshot or marketing trend which will be here today and gone tomorrow, the same fate is often rushing to that actor. Why? Because the actor is not selling the image that is their individuality. Instead they are following the insecure herd. Actors who think that if they don’t have the latest trick being pushed by an industrious photographer or a profiting disseminator of an actor’s history—the can’t-think-for-themselves-actors believe they’ll be history. And consciously or sub-consciously the witnesses of that actor’s latest trend-indulgence notice the red flag proclaiming that the actor has insecurities beyond normal to being an actor. Insecurity doesn’t sell well.

For an actor to sell themselves to casting and/or talent representation the actor only needs the following:

High-quality headshot that looks exactly like the actor

Resume formatted to the industry-standard (see CH 4 of ACTING: Make It Your Business)

A user friendly, easy-to-navigate web site

An account with the following:

Actors Access

Casting Network

Backstage (for the early career actor)

…and confidence in who they are as an actor, and individual.

The next most vital asset (beyond talent) for an actor? A hunger and commitment to enlarging the actor’s professional and personal network by establishing honest relationships with other actors, directors, writers, producers, general managers, artistic directors, casting directors, and talent representatives. And don’t rely solely on social media for your networking: Facebook, Twitter, and alike are present trends. (MySpace or AOL chat rooms anyone?)

Trends don’t survive the longevity of a successful actor’s career. Your individuality is the standard bearer of your image. Leverage what is truly yours: you.

My best,
Paul

Casting Directors, Talent Agents, Directors & Actors

Love the Best-Selling Book for Actors
ACTING: Make It Your Business!

AMIYB_Amazon“Humorous and witty…
Actors everywhere who are trying to succeed in the business, young or old, on stage or on camera, anywhere in the world, take note:

This is your roadmap!”
BERNARD TELSEY, casting director – CSA
(NBC’s Peter Pan – LIVE!, Into The Woods – The Movie, Wicked, Sex & The City)
“All the right questions asked and answered…
and with a generous portion of good humor.”
SUZANNE RYAN, casting director, CSA
(Law & OrderUnforgettable)
“I love this book!
Paul’s book tells you what you don’t want to hear but really need to know
EVERY actor should read this book!”
DIANE RILEY, Senior Legit Talent Agent
Harden-Curtis & Associates
“Paul’s book made me proud to be a part of this community we call ‘show!'”
KAREN ZIEMBA, TONY & Drama Desk Award Winning Actress
“Paul Russell’s words are not only blunt & accurate they zero in on all the questions every actor wants to know but is afraid to ask!”
KEN MELAMED, Talent Agency Partner
Bret Adams, Ltd.
“I had my Business of Acting, BFA Seniors, class do book reports on a variety of “business of acting” books and ACTING: Make It Your Business came out a clear winner—considered to be essential for their bookshelves!
Dr. NINA LeNOIR,
Dept. Chair – Dept. of Thtr.
Chapman University

Get smarter on the business of acting from legendary Hollywood & Broadway actors and talent agents in a casting director Paul Russell’s Best-Selling Book ACTING:AMIYB_Amazon Make It Your Business!

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Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned nearly thirty years. He has worked on projects for major film studios, television networks, and Broadway. Paul has taught the business of acting and audition technique at NYU and has spoken at universities including Yale, Temple and the University of the Arts. He is the author of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working ActorFor more information, please visit www.PaulRussell.net.

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ACTING: Make It Your Business

How to Heat-up Your Acting Career in Summer | Answers for Actors

You’re under-employed and frustrated that your career is as stagnant as Mitt Romney’s mud wrestling aspirations. What’s an actor to do? Answers for Actors will help get you going strong…

Paul Russell
Photo Credit: JackMenashe.com

When summer swelter has settled in and you haven’t a share at Fire Island and/or no plans for swinging your sword at Shakespeare-on-the-Skillet (an outdoor dinner theater where ‘drama is served hot.’) You’re under-employed and frustrated that your career is as stagnant as Mitt Romney’s mud wrestling aspirations. Industry folk, if not project engaged, are off to the beach and/or mountains with their i-Whatevers.  From June until late July the U.S. entertainment industry’s focus on new ventures is about as engaged as Kim Kardashian is in visiting a library. What’s an actor to do?

Work, damn it. While others sit shore-side and slither through Fifty Shades of Grey you advance. Regroup. Review. Plan a rebirth for your career goals. Get ready for the industry kick-start to the late summer / early fall casting.

Below are considerations to mull followed near the end by resource recommendations to assist you in your goals for success.

Review Your Actor Marketing –

Can your sales tools survive the intense scrutiny of Simon Cowell, CAA, Stephen Spielberg, Bernard Telsey, Marci Phillips or Paul Russell? Would we review your envelope, branding, cover letter, headshot and resume then exclaim, “This actor is fantastic! They have their shit together on paper which usually means the actor’s talent is just as impressive.”

Or would we roll our eyes after peering over your blah, Staples, manila envelope which you poorly scrawled our name and address upon? Your ho-hum mailer is a clone of the 98% of the actor mail received: never opened and trashed.

Is your headshot five years or older? (Psst… you’re not Dorian Gray.) Is your puss on paper CAA, ICM or WMEndvr quality or is it barely worthy of a cinder-block wall heralding your local K-mart manager? Or horror of horrors did your photographer pose you stiffly in a beauty shot destined for Toddlers & Tiaras? (Oh, the tragedy.)

Are your resume credits appropriately formatted to the industry standard? Is your resume bloated with superfluous Special Skills? Have you piled in non-skill “assets” like ‘running’, ‘acting’, ‘biking’, ‘passport’ and ‘good with kids and creatures’ resume lint? When actors landfill their Special Skills portion of their principal resume with basic garbage that nearly any breathing primate can achieve we (principal casting) interpret this as the actor being overly insecure while bolstering what the actor believes to be a weak resume. Less is more. Let the resume lint like, ‘drives stick and standard’ patter a dust-bunny life on your Extras / Low-budget features resume.

Would your marketing materials excel – in style and presentation – in a civilian job-seeking market? Is the overall professionalism worthy of the attention of a Bill Gates or Warren Buffet? If you’re confused or argue that you would never send your actor marketing to Bill Gates; I didn’t suggest such. I propose that your overall presentation (cover letter on textured white linen or cotton paper, a pristine layout, business formatting, in-your-own-voice writing style) be the sum of perfection. Your actor marketing for employment and seeking representation must equal — if not be better — the pinnacle of quality of a civilian’s job-search marketing for seeking employ at a Fortune 500 company.

Some actors become belligerent arguing actor marketing does not have to equate the quality standards of the civilian world. Bullshit. Take this nudge of success below from an ACTING: Make It Your Business reader:

Hi Paul,

I wanted to compliment you and thank you on your methods and strategies re: ACTING Make It Your Business. I just got offered the role of Joe in “The Last Night of Ballyhoo” at the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival this fall. I have you and your book/class to thank.  After the Resident Director of NCShakes saw my Off-Broadway show in February, I immediately sent him a follow-up letter (complete with laser-missile intentions and bolded name dropping) to introduce myself and ask to be kept in mind for future auditions.  Had I not sent that letter, I believe my chances would have been diminished for even being called in in the first place.  So thanks!

Chris R.

The simplest truth to selling is that the sharper the marketing; slick without pretension, crisp and clean with professional lines– the better the buyer will respond to the seller. What’s on paper represents your work ethic, talent and professionalism. ‘Professional’ partly means that your marketing should resemble the sleek styling efficiency of an Apple Store or the sophisticated simplicity of a Celebrity Cruises’ Solstice Class ship.

And most importantly; you must ‘speak’ in your own voice on paper. As if you’re writing a cover letter to your best friend. Avoid what you think others demand of your ‘professional voice.’ Just be you. No gimmicks. No savvy-actor bullshit. You’re not a clone. You’re an individual.

Actor E-mail Marketing –

Have your past e-mail campaigns faltered? Do you even have an organized digital address book with casting, representation and producer contacts? Do you know the basics for how to create effective, slick, professional, html e-mails like the ones you receive in your in-box which display fantastically formatted layouts with images, colored background cells, elegant font, hyperlinks without the underlines, etc…? You need not know computer gobbly-gook script to create for yourself an e-mail marketing campaign. A select group of actors are jumping on this effective electronic trend at advertising themselves to creatives who hire and represent. (Many are my Access to Agents students.) And those actors are 4G-ing ahead of chained-to-the-post office thespians.

Actor Headshots –

To ensure that casting personnel, directors, producers and talent reps respond with an, “Oh my God, I love this picture and the look of this actor,” you must have a headshot that pops!

To be noticed an actor’s headshot must excel in quality beyond the 150 plus headshots which daily, six days a week, land on my desk and the desks of my behind-the-audition table casting / representation colleagues. Be just a passable picture lost among your competition and you’re wasting your money. Sadder is, you’re not leveraging your optimal best during your short-existence upon this spinning ball of dirt.

The headshots below stand well against the typical trashed headshots. They are industry exceptional and respected. Some headshots below are utilized by actors represented by leading talent agencies.

 

If Your Actor Marketing Matches Excellence –

Great! But do you have strategies and organized marketing campaigns? What kind of campaigns? Are you sending your materials to industry on a regular basis when your targets are at their most receptive?

At the very minimal you – marketing yourself as an actor – should target the following:

  • Offices for Indie Films: target the in-house casting person and/or producer
  • Regional Theatres: target directly to the in-house casting person (often an artistic associate) and seek an audition at that theater. For a guide and assist refer to the Answers for Actors post “Getting Stage Work Before Others (Parts 1 & 2)”
  • Casting directors
  • Theater companies in your city / region
  • Agents & Managers (if unrepresented). During summer talent reps clean house and seek new clients. And when targeting, don’t hit everyone in the office at once. Spread out your mailings so that the assistant or intern opening the mail doesn’t trash your bulk mailing (Interns – who mostly get the open-mail assignment — recognize envelopes coming from the same address. And thus when actors send several individual mailings at once to an office, often only one envelope is opened as the rest are trashed.)

Actors Seeking / Needing (new) Representation –

Summer is the perfect time to grab a talent reps’ attention. With the industry in sweltering hibernation they’re dumping old clients for fresh faces. Go directly to the talent reps at agent seminars.

Actor Renewal Resources —

If you need to correct, adjust, or remake yourself,  your marketing materials and/or goals I recommend the following resources:

Headshot Photography:

All the above headshot examples came from the photographer that ABC Primetime Casting Director, Marci Phillips heralds as:

I see a lot of headshots and by far, Jack Menashe’s photography is the best of the best. Jack is dedicated to presenting actors at their best and he succeeds above all others.

Marci Phillips, casting director, ABC Primetime Television

I too highly recommend Jack Menashe. I trusted Jack with my book-jacket headshot. An industry insider who for two decades led Independent Artists Agency. Details and his portfolio are at http://www.JackMenashe.com.

And if Marci Phillips’ word and mine are not enough; take a look at Jack’s work and the praise he’s received from clients and industry at http://www.JackMenashe.com.

Actor Resource on a Marketing Makeover, How to Find & Keep an Agent, Audition Technique, Acting Career Advice Directly from Agents and Actors of Broadway and Hollywood:

Grab a copy of what’s been hailed as:

The actor’s roadmap… humorous and witty.

Bernard Telsey, casting director / Broadway & Major Motion Pictures

Bernie, along with many actors and industry pros, has recommended the Random House book ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes & Achieve Success as a Working Actor.

Resource for putting yourself directly in front of agents:

Yes, the four week program that covers Finding & Keeping an Agent, Actor Marketing, Audition Technique, Interview Skills all of which climaxes with rehearsed, individual, auditions before an agent panel; Access to Agents (led by Paul Russell Casting).

Whatever device(s) you utilize for improvement is your choice. What’s most vital is that you leverage this period of inactivity to be active. Growing a career is tantamount to battle. If you judiciously plan your attack your odds rise for a successful campaign. Charge at your targets without an organized strategy, or be a summer slouch, and you’re bound to perish.

Be smart this summer. Be engaged. Renew.

My Best,
Paul

Related Links:

– Jack Menashe Photography: http://www.JackMenashe.com

– ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Achieve Success and Avoid Mistakes as a Working Actor: http://www.ActingMakeItYourBusiness.com

– Access to Agents: http://paulrussell.net/classes.html

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Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned nearly thirty years. He has worked on projects for major film studios, television networks, and Broadway. Paul has taught the business of acting and audition technique at NYU and has spoken at universities including Yale, Temple and the University of the Arts. He is the author of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor. For more information, please visit www.PaulRussell.net.

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Agents, Managers, & Casting v. Shopping Mall Scammers | Answers for Actors

I must be screaming in the wind. Or there are many willful deaf actors bumbling through their bank accounts seeding dead presidents to persons and ‘companies’ that are nothing more than hogs feasting on the hopes of the actor aspirants.

Paul Russell
Photo Credit: JackMenashe.com

I must be screaming and flailing into the wind. Or there are many willfully-deaf and blind actors bumbling through their bank accounts seeding dead presidents to persons and ‘companies’ that are nothing more than hogs feasting on the hopes of the actor aspirants.

Too, too often I receive e-mails from past students who write that they received an invitation for representation but only if that actor takes classes with said ‘agency.’ And often I encounter ‘actors’ who boast they received their representation, ‘acting learnin,’ and headshots all in a one-stop shop via a mall kiosk in Paramus, NJ….

I authored numerous chapters on the subject of agents, managers, and casting in ACTING: Make It Your Business. Not wanting to irk my fingers, grey cells or the readers with redundancy pulled from that Random House title; a brief, new, reminder.

It’s time to scream once more into the gales about this.

What’s ‘this?’

Who is a talent agent? What is a talent manager? What is casting? Who and what are individuals who claim to be agents, managers and/or casting from which you should run your artisan ass away?

Casting:

Casting offices represent producers. Casting does not represent talent. Every day I get e-mails from actors that read similar to: ‘I wants be reppd by you as new talunt.” (Another dose of anesthesia to the Paul Russell table please.)

Legitimate casting offices do not charge actors to audition for projects. Casting offices can and may hold classes which broaden an actor’s skill and/or perspective but those classes are never to be deemed as auditions for casting. (It’s the short-sighted actor that thinks differently and often overlooks the long-term goals gained via a casting office’s classes.)

There is no governing union for casting. So to those actors who think that sending-off a virulent missive to the Casting Society of America (C.S.A.) about how a casting director who only gave you three minutes instead of four for your cow-costumed audition… you’re wasting your time.

Casting directors don’t hire the chosen actors. Casting directors assemble the talent for our clients to cast from. Reason why I often say, “I’m glorified human resources.”

Talent Agents:

For a person to hold the title of ‘agent’ who represents an actor the agent must be:

Franchised by the unions (Screen Actors Guild, Actors’ Equity Association, and AFTRA). Once franchised the agent can then represent both union and non-union talent. If an ‘agent’ is not franchised; they’re not an agent they’re a manager or shopping mall scam. (Go to Auntie Annes for a pretzel. You’ll be much happier.)

In New York, LA and other major U.S. cities agents are required by some of the unions to have a union-approved office (meaning a SAG representative visits and gives the agent’s work space a ‘yea’ or ‘nay’) that has a waiting area for the actors and access to clean toilet facilities. If an ‘agent’ has neither an office nor toilet for the actor, or office space has not been approved by SAG; they are not an agent they’re a manager or shopping mall kiosk scam. (Visit The Piercing Pagoda for a new hole; you’ll feel not as incomplete.)

Franchised agents cannot offer classes directly to their clients as an agreement term for representation. If an ‘agent’ demands such; they’re allegedly a willful modeling ‘agency’ of Philadelphia, a manager, or a shopping mall kiosk scam. (Shuffle to the Apple store and further debt yourself by grabbing the newest I-Phone; you’ll feel superior over your CrackBerry devotees.)

Agents can only collect 10% of your salary on individual projects that are deemed commission-able by the unions. If an ‘agent’ asks you for 20% of your earnings from either performance and/or civilian wages they’re allegedly a Mary Contrary ‘agency’ of Philadelphia, a manager or a shopping mall kiosk scam. (Stroll to Nordstrom; another Jimmie or Madden pairing will keep the two dozen others in your crammed closet from feeling neglected.)

Agents can not require or request of their clients fees for:

  • Office supplies
  • Web-site inclusion
  • Yearly/Monthly membership

Agents can recommend preference of photographers but they can not insist an actor-client have headshots taken by a particular photographer. Nor can an ‘agent’ insist your headshots, which you pay for, be taken by his assistant (who happens to be a headshot photographer… isn’t that just special). Allegedly this questionable practice has been festering for far too many decades at a NY talent rep’s office named for a King.

Talent Managers:

Can do whatever they want and take whatever they will of which you sign-over in your contract with the manager. (This is where your grammar school English teacher test-trick of ‘read-the-entire-test-before-starting-to-discover-that-you-needn’t-take-the-exam-because-the-last-test-question-tells-you-not-to-take-the-test’ comes into adult play.) Read before engaging damn it.

Shopping Mall ‘You Can Be A Star’ Kiosks & Strip Center Trollers:

Pull aside parents who have children trailing and proclaim, “Your little Susie or Johnny is adorable. He/she should be on TV. I have connections to make that happen.” Some of these operators have kiosks. Others just roam the walkways or troll the cement before a Toys R Us and/or Wegmans. Some areas of the country are crawling with these cockroaches: Long Island, New Jersey, SoCal, and Florida. Anywhere there are gulable persons with gratuitous disposable income.

The operators deplete the savings of parents and/or the ‘actors’ with offering headshots no better than a Hicksville High, U.S.A. senior portrait. Also often included as a ‘representation’ requirement are acting classes taken with a teacher who may believe taffeta is appropriate audition wear for the role of a lawyer defending a homicidal ballerina.

Why do some ‘actors’ get taken in by the scammer-employed, bored looking teenage girls or middle-aged women with finger-on-chalk-board accents who flatly shout out to passersby: “You a movie star?! You a model, right?’ Because idiot is as idiot does. The people who fall for the scams are the types that would also go to the Garden State Plaza in Paramus seeking a personal injury lawyer from Johnny Rockets.

I’ve encountered stage parents bilked thousands of dollars for upfront fees for ‘representation’ and/or ‘consultation’ from cockroach shopping mall talent managers. And each time the parent says to me, “I just thought this is how the industry works. You pay $500 to be represented and submitted to casting…”

Why do so many abuses of actors exist? Because industrious interlopers of our trade know that there is a large percentage of ‘artistes’ who believe cash, instead of long term labor, can bring instant rewards. Ain’t gonna happen folks. Just ain’t. And there’s far too much ignorance among the victims who get taken by the scams.

If you believe differently; do me a favor. Stop reading this but not until you visit PayPal and transfer a thousand dollars into my coffers. My repeated advisories here, in ACTING: Make It Your Business and in person don’t seem to be enlightening the delusional. Maybe a significant loss from their savings with nothing provided in return might raise a modicum of awareness as to what and who is legitimate versus the fraudulent.

I would hope this the last of this type of advisory found here at Answers for Actors. We’ve all had enough of ‘actors’ thinking they can find fame via unscrupulous individuals who demand monies in exchange for false promises. Enough. Finis. No mas. Kaputt. ¿Comprende?

(Was that a pulmonary surgeon yesterday offering same-day procedures at his kiosk in the Willowbrook Mall? Hmmmm.)

My best,
Paul

 Get MORE of Casting Director Paul Russell’s Best-Selling Book for Actors – ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes & Achieve Success as a Working Actor

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Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned nearly thirty years. He has worked on projects for major film studios, television networks, and Broadway. Paul has taught the business of acting and audition technique at NYU and has spoken at universities including Yale, Elon and Wright State University. He is the author of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor. For more information, please visit www.PaulRussell.net.

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An Actor’s Headshot is Worth a Thousand Jobs! – How to Get the Best Actor Headshot | Answers for Actors

“Headshot DOs & DON’Ts. What makes your headshots stand out? What makes for a good headshot? What is it that you might be lacking in a shot?” — This week a special industry guest gives insight on effective headshots for the successful actor. You’ll see some ‘scary’ examples of what not to do along with examples of what makes a headhsot excel.

Actor Headshot DOs & DON’Ts

[Note: Paul Russell steps aside this week and hands the keyboard over to a respected, entertainment industry guest.]

Guest Answers for Actors Contributor
Jack D. Menashe

What makes your headshots stand out?  What makes for a good headshot? What is it that you might be lacking in a shot?

One good answer to those actor questions by me — as a talent agency owner for nearly two decades —  is an answer I’ve provided for many years: Since ninety-five percent of the performing artists out there might possibly be doing something wrong in their presentation of a headshot… what’s gonna make you stand out is doing everything right. Below, I list a few major things which industry professionals, such as agents and casting directors look for in a headshot.

But let’s get down-n-dirty first with what’s being done wrong by some actors (we’ll get to the good stuff later, I promise).

Many performers believe they have wonderful headshots. But often they’re mistaken. And they don’t realize that their shots aren’t so wonderful until long after their headshot doesn’t receive a response to audition inquiries. The actor with a bad headshot loses a lot of opportunities for work because of a sub-par headshot.

Many of the images which are sent in mailings are oddly angled and overly-lit,  and many of them are airbrushed within an inch of their 8×10 lives. Often these travesties don’t come close to documenting an authentic likeness and honest qualities of the artist who has set out to achieve for possessing a highly effective marketing tool.

Any opportunity an artist gets to have an opinion formed about them from casting, producers, directors or talent representatives is a valuable commodity.  In my office, all of the headshots received in the mail have been looked at by either agents or assistants.  What I find disappointing is the lack of knowledge that many artists have about the fact that bad headshots actually have a higher impact than the really good ones–in a really negative way.  Bad headshots are so much more memorable… believe me!

My least favorite are the composite photographs where an actor feels it is necessary to include images of themselves in every costume possible, from preacher to rabbi and from doctor to old lady.

Does anyone still wear a…

How to Emote a Bedspread

Too many artists are trying too hard to stand out. Their misguided efforts to be ‘unique’ often sacrifice quality. In the entertainment industry (as with life) the better the quality the better the response by goals and those you’re seeking.  As a professional in the business with a heart, that only wants the best for performers, I have to say that it is really important to get valuable feedback from an extremely reliable source before putting your materials out there to be criticized or judged in this business.

Actor Headshot Marketing Misfires:

     

Your marketing materials are most likely to be scrutinized before they are praised.

What I and industry love in a headshot is:

1:         It looks like you!

2:         Your eyes radiate life.

3.         Your make-up is light and clean (for females), minimal (for males).

4.         Less is more. Simplicity.

5.         Proper lighting.

6.         Proper cropping. Have your photo lab where you have your shots reproduced aid you in the proper positioning of your image within the photograph.

7.         You’re the star of your shot, not the background that you’re positioned before.

8.         High grade, photographic prints on quality paper (No home computer print outs).

9.         Natural positioning– (No riding of a motorcycle or feeding-of-animals-at-the-zoo shots! I know of casting directors and agents who have several of those side-show headshots from actors in their ‘Freak File’.)

10.       You look like someone who I feel like I want to get to know as a person just from seeing your picture!!!!

11.       Your picture exemplifies you both in personality and in type/branding.  A good photographer will work hard to bring out the best qualities of each actor before their lens. Unfortunately some photographers, in a hurry to get to the next actor, rush photo sessions and treat the actor like a product on an assembly line. And often the rushed results show in a poor, end product.

12.       Your headshot does not look exactly like the 5,000 other actors who’ve just gone to the same photographer.  (My least favorites are the headshots where one photographer has every actor sitting and/or squatting on a cobblestone SoHo street in New York. And then there’s the horizontal-headshot-before-a-white background-photographer who charges over a grand for repeating the same look and shot. Every actor looks the same. There’s no individuality.)

About fifteen years ago, as a then young talent agent being fed up with clients of mine being charged thousands of dollars for terrible headshots,  I enrolled in The New School’s professional photography program.  I wanted to be able to re-shoot my clients’ headshots (pro bono),  in order to get the audition appointments which I needed to get them work.

JackMenashe.com

Low and behold, the payoff was tremendous! What I set out to learn was all true– all it took was a beautiful, honest, professional headshot to push the actor from being a possible appointment to becoming one of the select top-tier actors on the casting list for tapings and director meetings.  My actors booked like wildfire because the new photos got them through the door.  My clients already had the goods to book the jobs. They just needed casting to recognize their potential!

Finding a great deal of enjoyment in capturing images of my clients, I soon set out for, and was granted SAG approval to begin working as the only SAG franchised, professional headshot photographer in New York.

A good headshot photographer shoots headshots because of their affinity and connection to performing artists.  Like you, the goal is to create a beautiful work of art that captures your look, energy and personality.  It is an opportunity for both you and your photographer to bring out all of the qualities that make you unique and marketable.  It’s important to enjoy your time shooting… after-all your photographer wants to have you at your best.  You work hard to be able to invest in your acting career.

What you can do to make your headshot session the best:

1.         Make every minute count and savor your experience of having your likeness captured proudly for all within the industry to see.

2.         Try to set aside the day of your shoot entirely to positive activities.

3.         Get rest the night prior to your shoot to catch as much sleep as possible.

4.         As far as make-up goes…

LADIES: Natural and minimal.  You don’t want to look too made up–it’s distracting, and the industry will be wondering what you are hiding. Most photographers have make-up artists on hand…however, many photographers, like myself are make-up artists as well and prepare you for your shoot.  You should have full input on your make-up colors and glosses, as you will be expected to look like the person in the headshot when showing up for auditions–plus, you want to feel both beautiful and comfortable.

MEN: Little to no make-up is always a good rule of thumb…nothing is more unattractive in a male headshot than heavy base, painted eyebrows and lipstick.  Rather, if you sport various looks in your real-life and auditions both with and without facial hair, you might want to consider photographing with some facial hair, and then doing a mid-photo-shoot clean-shave.

JackMenashe.com

I can’t stress enough to you how important it is to have a photo that not only shows who you are as a performer, but ‘speaks’ for who you are as a business person.

In our industry, those who hire or represent performing artists seek to work with artists who demonstrate qualities which reflect success.  After my spending a lifetime in entertainment I can honestly say that at the first glance of a headshot most seasoned industry professionals behind the casting/representation table can judge with certainty whether or not an actor has wisely invested time, education and money into an acting career.

JackMenashe.com

The frustrating truth is that for most of an actor’s career the headshot is often your only calling card.  Your ad. Your representative. Your brand. Don’t waste time using a headshot that doesn’t do you the justice you deserve.  Set yourself apart. Stand out by using a headshot that works for you.  Carefully evaluate the feedback that you’ve gotten on your current picture.

All in all, if you feel that a new headshot is in order, then you might just be on the road to opening up many doors that you could not jar before.

Best,
Jack
JackMenashe.com

Jack Menashe’s history as a talent representative includes being the owner of Independent Artists Agency. As a headshot photographer Jack’s clients include Golden Globe, TONY, Emmy winners and nominees.

His photography has appeared in New York Magazine, Vanity Fair, Playbill, Dramatists Magazine, Back Stage, CD covers and in performing arts books which highlight his work as headshots-to-have. Visit JackMenashe.com for his portfolio and client feedback.

Casting Directors, Talent Agents, Directors & Actors

Love the Best-Selling Book for Actors
ACTING: Make It Your Business!

AMIYB_Amazon“Humorous and witty…
Actors everywhere who are trying to succeed in the business, young or old, on stage or on camera, anywhere in the world, take note:

This is your roadmap!”
BERNARD TELSEY, casting director – CSA
(NBC’s Peter Pan – LIVE!, Into The Woods – The Movie, Wicked, Sex & The City)
“All the right questions asked and answered…
and with a generous portion of good humor.”
SUZANNE RYAN, casting director, CSA
(Law & OrderUnforgettable)
“I love this book!
Paul’s book tells you what you don’t want to hear but really need to know
EVERY actor should read this book!”
DIANE RILEY, Senior Legit Talent Agent
Harden-Curtis & Associates
“Paul’s book made me proud to be a part of this community we call ‘show!'”
KAREN ZIEMBA, TONY & Drama Desk Award Winning Actress
“Paul Russell’s words are not only blunt & accurate they zero in on all the questions every actor wants to know but is afraid to ask!”
KEN MELAMED, Talent Agency Partner
Bret Adams, Ltd.
“I had my Business of Acting, BFA Seniors, class do book reports on a variety of “business of acting” books and ACTING: Make It Your Business came out a clear winner—considered to be essential for their bookshelves!
Dr. NINA LeNOIR,
Dept. Chair – Dept. of Thtr.
Chapman University

Get smarter on the business of acting from legendary Hollywood & Broadway actors and talent agents in a casting director Paul Russell’s Best-Selling Book ACTING:AMIYB_Amazon Make It Your Business!