Headshot How-To

GET READY FOR YOUR CLOSE UP

AOS student Charlotte Trembath

AOS student Charlotte Trembath

Headshots are worlds away from your average school pictures or your typical selfie. How often do you take those duck-faced photos into job interviews? Never. But as an actor or performer, your headshot is your money maker. It's as important, if not more so, than your resume. Anyone can read lines theatrically, plenty of people have been trained in acting, but do you have the look they want? And if you're the best actor, will they remember which pretty face was yours?

Because headshots are such an important element in your acting career, they're worth preparing for, and in this case, worth blogging about. So in lieu of a written blog this week, we thought we'd let the photography and acting experts at Backstage talk about headshots and give you some how-to tips. Enjoy!

HOW TO PREPARE FOR HEADSHOT PHOTOSHOOTS

HOW TO LOOSEN UP BEFORE YOUR HEADSHOT SESSION

HOW TO GET A GOOD HEADSHOT

Written by Katherine Rhoden/ September 16, 2016

Stage Versus Screen

DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS

PHOTO COURTESY OF PIXABAY

PHOTO COURTESY OF PIXABAY

If an actor does a monologue, and no one's there to film it, does it make a sound? On one side of the studio, an instructor records and coaches a student through her taped audition for a television series. On another side of the studio, a student rehearses lines for the teen stage play auditions. Both of the students are actors, right? Well obviously. But that doesn't mean they're acting the same way. Of course they're acting with different material, but fundamental differences exist in the way the students deliver their lines, differences between acting for the camera and acting on the stage. 

TWO SIDES OF THE SAME COIN

PHOTO COURTESY OF PIXABAY

PHOTO COURTESY OF PIXABAY

So what's the difference? It's generally accepted that stage skills can translate to film to some extent, according to New York Film Academy, but the academy also notes that knowing and understanding the differences are essential to being a "double threat."

According to NTFA, there are three main differences between the two:

  • The Environment- the chaos of a film set or the nurturing and artistic feel of a theater stage.
  • The Venue- the enhanced artificial closeness between the audience and the actor on film, or the unassisted stage with nothing but space to separate the audience and performers.
  • The Script- plays that are publicly available and therefore cause the audience to hold expectations of the performance, or a film script that is being written and performed for the very first time. 

Read the full NYFA article here

Simple right? Well, not really. The differences go beyond face value, because they force the actor to adapt to every element. For example, stage actors have to exaggerate their expressions and movement to accommodate their distance from the audience, while actors on a film set have to use only slight movement, to limit awkward film editing flubs. Think about it this way. Would you really want someone to belt out an Italian opera ballad at karaoke night? Probably not. The performance needs to fit the setting. 

Backstage confirms the material and audience location in its top three differences between stage and film acting, but also adds the element of the characters being played as a major difference. With how frequently plays are performed, the audience is constantly comparing the performance of an actor as a character to past performers of that role. On the other hand, film casting directors are looking for someone to fit a world being created by a fresh script, not someone to fit the mold of a previous performer. 

Read the full Backstage article here

CELEBRATE THE DIFFERENCES

PHOTO COURTESY OF PIXABAY

PHOTO COURTESY OF PIXABAY

So whether you chose to be the next Juliet or the star of a new TV series, remember to keep these differences in mind. The environment, venue, script and characters all have to come together cohesively to create the right world for your audience. And accounting for your surroundings will always be the key to a good performance. 

Written by Katherine Rhoden / September 9, 2016

Handling Rejection... Time After Time

TURN-DOWN SERVICE

PHOTO COURTESY OF PIXABAY

PHOTO COURTESY OF PIXABAY

Your palms are sweating. Do you remember your lines? Oh gosh, this shirt... you should have worn the green one. Oh no... they called your name. Here goes. You go in... "Hey, how's it going"... They stare... you perform your monologue... "Thanks for having me"... WHEW! You're done! 

As nerve-wracking as any audition is, the hard part is waiting to find out if they even liked you, which, let's face it, isn't often unless you're Brad Pitt or Ryan Gosling. What's worse is that you typically have no control of the casting team's decisions, because more often than not the final cut isn't based on talent, but rather appearance, character resemblance, etc. So how do you handle getting rejected so much? Or even more so, how do you keep your children from throwing in the towel when THEY get rejected?

[EVERYBODY] PUTS BABY IN THE CORNER

For child actors especially, who may not understand that they simply didn't fit the mold of the character the casting director had envisioned, these rejections can be particularly hurtful. And trust us, it happens to everyone. New York City acting coach Denise Simon explains how to keep your kid's head up when they're turned down. Her tips:

  • Make auditioning fun- They'll be doing it all the time. Why not make it enjoyable? Then getting the job is just "icing on the cake."
  • Be real with them- Make sure you're realistic with your kids about the odds of landing a gig.
  • Tell them talent isn't everything- Again, the final cut isn't usually solely based on your kid's talent. Making sue they know this helps them accept the rejection a little more. 
  • Celebrate the little things- Even getting through an audition is a success, booking or not. Encourage your child and get excited about the little accomplishments!
  • Don't put all your eggs in one basket- Make sure your kid is invested in other things besides acting too... just in case. 

MORE FROM THE EXPERT

Want more of Denise Simon? She'll be right here at Acting Out Studio Saturday, September 10 for a special Musical Audition Workshop, where she'll discuss techniques, how to ace an audition, and the elephant in the room... rejection. Click here to register!

Written by Katherine Rhoden / September 2, 2016

A Magical Start to an Acting Career

Photo courtesy of tumblr

Photo courtesy of tumblr

In honor of our Little Mermaid Jr. auditions here at Acting Out Studio, we decided to explore the magical roles and lives of Disney princess. It's an easy assumption that every girl has dreamed of wearing one of these gowns at one time or another, and many of these young ladies go on to pursue their dream. These face characters face multi-level auditions, where they are judged based on their acting skills, their dancing, and their princess "it" factor, followed by extensive training if they take the role. So is this long process worth the tiara?

The Not-So-Dreamy Demands

DisneyFanatic.com published a list of 13 of the most difficult Disney demands for these princesses. Among the long introductory process and physical requirements like height, size, and age limits, the princesses must also be impeccable improv artists and be willing to smile gracefully for every one of the park's millions of visitors. (Click here for the complete list)

A former Belle character sat down with Cosmopolitan and revealed even more of the truths of the lives of these cast members. She pointed out more negativities such as relatively low pay and the inevitable monotony that comes from acting like a princess every day, but she also reminisced on the fulfillment that came from seeing a happy child that admired the character, and the amazement in the eyes of the terminally ill children that would visit through Make-A-Wish. (Click here for the complete article)

A Fairytale Ending

A lot is expected of these princesses, they are, afterall, facilitators of Disney's magical image. But all in all, for these aspiring actresses living out their girlhood dreams of being in a fairytale (while effectively taking a glass-slippered step into their acting careers) is completely worth the struggles. Many of them go on to pursue their acting further, having gained such respected entries on their resumes and completely perfecting their improv skills. Happily ever after is possible for these former princesses whether they remain in the parks or not. 

Written by Kat Rhoden/ August 18, 2016