Tag Archives: Career Advice

How do I tell what my type is?

How to figure out your actor type:

People talk a lot about “type” in this industry but the concept of type is inherently flawed.  Of course you’re more complex than a single type!  You’re a small town girl from Ohio but you trained at RADA and you love nothing more than rocking out to 80s hair metal!  You’re worldly and wise, down to earth AND a scatterbrained dreamer with your head in the clouds.  Once you’re established as an actor you’ll have the chance to portray characters as multi-faceted as you are, but in the meantime you need to be able to market yourself in a way that is targeted, specific and immediately accessible to agents, managers and casting directors.  You have to know how to speak their language.

So what’s an actor’s “type,” exactly?

Kit Pictures, Los Angeles Headshot Photographer

The Boy Next Door

Your “type” is less about who you are, intrinsically, as a person or an actor, and more about who people perceive you to be.   It’s your first impression, plain and simple, and your default casting.  Knowing and understanding your type is a key component to marketing yourself to agents and managers.  What type of actor are you?  If you have a wholesome, girl-next door look you shouldn’t send out a headshot that exudes exotic sensuality, for example.  Don’t send mixed messages.  If you want to play the exotic beauty then you need to look like the exotic beauty inside of you at default.  Your headshot needs to reflect what people see when you walk into a room.  That is your “actor type.”

How do you tell what your type is?

Kit Pictures, Los Angeles Headshot Photography

The Quirky, Smart Girl

Lesly Kahn does a fantastic exercise on the first day of her comedy intensive where she holds up your headshot and asks the class (a group of total strangers) to call out adjectives that describe the person in the picture.  She then has you stand up and take notes on the type of roles they think you could play.  If your two lists are different it might be time to think about getting new headshots.

I also know an agency that holds “typing sessions” for new clients, where all the agents and assistants fill out a questionnaire based on a short meeting.

The key similarity between both of these exercises is that you are gathering the opinions of strangers. Your close friends and family might have a difficult time being objective about your type because they know just how complex and wonderful you really are– they’re never going to tell you that you’re the quirky computer expert after they’ve seen you play Hamlet!

I’m not saying you won’t get to play meaty dramatic roles in your career– you may get the chance right away!  There is no single established path to success in this business.  But knowing your type is a useful tool that can help you understand and exploit the assumptions people make about you at a glance and this knowledge can help you get the most out of your headshot session.

K.

Visit www.kitpictures.com to book a shoot with me today!

Blog it out

Hello, and welcome to my blog!  My name’s Kit.  I’m a headshot photographer and actor based in Los Angeles, California.  I started this blog to share my thoughts on the industry because I’m constantly amazed at the lack of genuinely helpful information on the web. Everyone seems to have advice, sure, but very little of it comes from experience. I think this is because the entertainment industry is very compartmentalized and most people are only intimately familiar with the inner workings of their specialization (acting, casting, producing projects, representing actors, executing publicity campaigns, taking headshots, etc.) I am very lucky to have professional experience in many of these fields. By trade I am a photographer and an agency represented actor, but I have also worked in a top television production office.  Recently, I have also started my own indie production company with many projects in the works.  I have taken thousands of headshots and I have also been charged with the unenviable task of -sorting- thousands of headshots. I know what agents, managers and casting directors are looking for and I can help you avoid the mistakes that many actors make when they first start out.

To be a successful actor you must first realize that you are the CEO of your own company. You are also the product that your company sells and you need to be sure you are clearly communicating what makes you, the product, special. Like any start up company, you must also be willing to invest in your company. That’s where headshots, postcards and mailings to agents, managers and casting directors come in. In this blog I hope to address the following:

  • How to tell what your “type” is
  • How to effectively market yourself as an actor
  • How to find a great headshot photographer
  • How to prepare for your headshot photoshoot
  • How to select the photos that best represent you
  • How to put together an actor website
  • How to submit yourself for projects
  • How to put together an effective mailing
  • What to do and say when you land a meeting
  • How to get an agent or a manager

As well as any other questions that you might have.  Check back every Monday for updates and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!  You can find more about me and my work at http://www.kitpictures.com!

Best,

K.