IndependentActor

Castable Types Headshot Makeovers: Check Out The Difference

The purpose of your headshots is to market you, your energy, types and talent. That comes through your eyes, facial expression and body language.  You must always elicit your Castable Types from the inside as well as the outside. Don’t just sit there and listen to music or chat away between the flash. Be in the prior moments of the appropriate Castable Type monologues so that you are truly, deeply and honestly projecting the life of the character. Be in their world, not yours, or the photographers. Your headshot must say something; speak for you when you aren’t there to do it in person, essentially auditioning for you before you ever get a call. Make sure it does the job nd isn’t another run of the mill actor pic that hits the trash can rather than the submission file. Check out the difference in these two Castable Types Headshot Makeovers below. Each of the Actors featured had a significant upsurge in interest and response from the industry once they put their new Castable Type headshots into circulation. If you want to turn your headshots into a truly effective marketing tool for your acting career and get noticed, I take you through the process step-by-step in my webinar course, 7 Steps To Launch + Grow Your Acting Career. You can get the webinar here, https://www.independentactor.com/7-steps-webinar-sign-up1. If you’d like to sample before you buy, sign up for a free 60 minute webinar version of the course at this link: https://events.genndi.com/register/818720503324737652/d3c6c9e720.

 
 
 

Your Talent Is Your Business

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It saddens me to see actors struggle to understand what some people call the “business side of the business” and be told by so-called experts that it’s something separate from creativity, almost like a burden you have to bear...and I’m frustrated by those “acting experts” who haven’t done much professional work in years and teach outdated acting technique that’s nothing more than a series of imagination exercises ending in lots of discussion about the exercises but not a lot of professional level performance or follow through on how to use imagination in actual working situations on the kinds of projects being produced today. I’m especially saddened watching actors spend all their money on endless scene classes where memorization gets you brownie points but your skill set is no better off and your unique talent remains underdeveloped. Your talent, creativity and imagination are the tools you need to succeed in the acting industry. They are your business! Knowing how to develop, polish and present them is simply an extension of who you are as a performing artist and when you have great, focused, authentic marketing tools and a reliable, accessible performance level audition and acting technique, you have a tool kit other actors lack. I can teach you how to put these elements together so you can launch, grow and sustain an acting career that makes you happy and becomes your reality.

Integrating Your Physical Appearance With Your Castable Types

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Your Castable Types are, of course, shaped in part by your physical appearance. The only time it isn’t considered is in voiceovers. But keep in mind that societal and cultural influences are constantly and exponentially expanding the definitions of beauty, masculinity, fitness and what is “camera ready”. In most cases, your appearance should give definition to your Castable Types rather than determine them. You do that by integrating your physical appearance with your Castable Types. For instance, many of us are hyper-focused on our weight but there are many other facets of appearance which inform your Castable Types, like physical life and voice, just to name two. These are outward aspects of your energy that are very relatable to the camera or audience. A beautiful full-figured actor with a smoldering voice, who brings sensual intensity to words and movement across the stage or on camera can be far more compelling and authentically sexy than a model thin one who moves and speaks awkwardly and self-consciously. If you’re a size 18 female you may not be cast as the next Bond Girl but then again, you never know. You could certainly be cast in a role that calls for a sense of sexuality, of sensuousness or seduction if those are qualities you radiate authentically. It just may not be in a formulaic vehicle. And that may only be one of your Castable Types. Embracing your personal Castable Types and developing the elements you radiate authentically will allow you to perform using all those parts of your talent and not feel less than or eliminated by your physical appearance because it’s integrated in your Castable Type. That’s what we want as actors, that’s when we do amazing work! Bringing your look into harmony with your Castable Types is crucial to developing your talent to a professional level and often easier than you might think.

Why Do So Many Talented Actors Never Get The Chance To Use Their Talent?

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A burning question most emerging Actors have, the one your Mom probably asks you, is why do so many talented actors never get the chance to use their talent, many seeming to never even get out of the starting gate? The simple answer is that no one tells them how to attain their creative goals, establish artistic credibility and how to build a professional acting career. They don’t have the core, required information, that working blueprint they can follow to get an acting career off the ground in a sustainable way so many of those talented actors, often the smartest ones, decide they won’t even try because they refuse to set themselves up for failure. Others bluster ahead and feel like they may be going in the right direction and gaining momentum for a time, but inevitably hit roadblocks that cost them in big ways. Usually, to the point that it pulls the rug out from under anything they might have achieved so far. I see this a lot with people who get an agent or manager to submit them a couple of times, often for parts cast mainly on physical appearance or age - though the actor may not know that, and maybe they book something once or twice, and then they get nothing else and the agency or manager drops them. A little bit of forward motion that ends up hurting you because you now have to explain why that agency dropped you to the agents and managers you try to get to represent you next. 

You don’t want to go down a path of very predictable trials and errors, chipping away at your creative, financial and emotional capital until you feel used up and hopeless about ever realizing your dreams. You can’t just decide to get headshots one day, slap a scene you’ve done four or five times in class on a reel and put it on the internet or send it to some agents and think anything real will come of that. That isn’t a career plan its a chore list. To get yourself off that well worn path of futility and go from struggle to progress right away you need to: 

Get Industry-savvy guidance so you can begin to plan out your career goals in a real way because saying I just want to be in something is the kiss of death. It shows that you know nothing about the industry and are probably not in it for the long haul. Frankly its what fame whores and fools say.

  • Don’t solicit or accept advice from people who aren’t actively working in the industry. This includes family, significant others and your friends.

  • Learn to identify advertorials and promotions in the trades - this goes for schools too! Just because they have a celeb alum or former client has no bearing on the present.

  • Stop looking for shortcuts and wishing for silver bullets

  • Make and embrace necessary changes.

It can take a little time to get a handle on how any industry really works and who the reliable professionals are at each rung of the ladder but you have to find the right people to advise and mentor you and you will make mistakes along the way. Just don’t fall for the idea that one connection, one agent, one gig, one chance will put your acting career where you want it to be. It’s all a building process so make sure your foundation is solid.

Next, get professional performance level coaching - this is what establishes your artistic credibility. This is absolutely crucial. This is not where you skimp in terms of your time or your financial investment:

  • Private Coaching is more intense and demanding but yields the best results.

  • Understand that College and Conservatory training rarely translates to performance level work when you’re out in the real world.

  • Learn how to audition, ace callbacks and interviews - that means learning how to break down a scene or commercial copy on the spot and then apply your deeper work, through those choices, to the script at hand. It means learning how to improvise and incorporate adjustments and make clear choices on a dime that bring you and what’s uniquely you to the fore. It means doing Performance Level work. The work done in class isn’t usually at that level. It means knowing what a successful agency interview or go see is like and practicing those as well. Yes, you can actually practice for interviews! (It took me forever to learn to interview -  here’s a secret, shorter is better

DIlligently and consistently put in the required capital (time, effort and money) consistently on a continuing basis its the only way to sustain a professional career:

  • To achieve performance level work, you must practice four to five times a week as well as read and view. This is your investment of time

  • Marketing your talent requires creation of a plan of action and the time commitment to see it through. This is your investment of effort

  • This is a career not a crash diet. It isn’t going to happen in six weeks or six months. You must learn how to finance your career costs. This is your investment of money


There really are no short cuts to building a sustainingand fulfilling acting career. What may seem like a lucky break is usually the sum total of all the work done before. As Actors, we have to live Shakespeare’s words from Troilus and Cressida, joy’s soul lies in the doing.

Wow, that was fun! My "Get Behind Me, Now Stay There" Experience

The hosts of Get Behind Me, Know Stay There. Image: Maya Seligman

The hosts of Get Behind Me, Know Stay There. Image: Maya Seligman

I had the most fun radio interview evah on the show, Get Behind Me, Now Stay There which can be heard on the Public Radio Exchange. If you've never listened to this fresh, fun radio show, tune in and give it a go. It's one of the hottest and fastest growing shows on the Public Radio Exchange. The conversation ranged from theatre, film, arts, culture, my book, Your Castable Types and entertainment out of hipster Ashland, Oregon, give a listen to Episode 51, on which I was a guest. You can listen here, starting at the :50 minute mark:

The Bright Side With Teknishia Interview

Smart, savvy radio host Tekneshia Day invited me to appear on her popular daily talk show, The Bright Side With Tekneshia to discuss a topic so many of her Atlanta area listeners want to know all about: how to launch, grow and sustain an Acting career. You can listen to our interview here: 

My Interview on the Top Rated Singapore Radio Show CarryOnHarry

Harry Johal, host of one of Singapore's top rated radio shows, CarryOnHarry, interviewed me about my unique approach to Acting training and my book, Your Castable Types, which lays out the entire program. Harry's listening audience extends all the way to the United Kingdom on BalleBalle Radio. Acting is an incredibly popular topic with his listeners and we spent the entire show talking at great length about acting technique, the joys and challenges of performance and how to take your Acting career to a professional level. I think you'll enjoy listening to this in depth conversation: 

Ta Da!

Website redesign approved by Emma the Westie. Phew!

Website redesign approved by Emma the Westie. Phew!

Presenting the freshly redesigned IndependentActor website! It's been a long process to create a user-friendly site, uncluttered by advertising, to serve the needs of all the IndependentActors out there but I believe the job is complete and Emma-approved. In the next few weeks I'll be introducing you to a wonderful series of webinars to help you launch, grow and sustain your acting career. If you're already on my email list you'll receive invitations to listen in for free and get career essential bonuses. If you aren't yet on the mailing list, do sign up today to get those freebies. 

You'll also see this blog take off with posts on acting, film, theatre, reviews and interviews. I hope you'll enjoy all that's coming to the new IndependentActor site and join in the conversation in the comment section. The dog and I would love to hear from you.

My Interview on Los Angeles Talk Show, State of the Arts

Listen to my interview with Paul Stroili and Michael Sterling, hosts of the Los Angeles based radio show, State of the Arts. We had a great conversation about Acting, my book, Your Castable Types and the casting and audition process for Actors. This was a fun interview that starts at the :30 minute mark: