Headshots 101: Casting Directors’ Pet Peeves

emmy young

Belinda Keller Photography

It’s that time and things are gonna get real busy.  So as an actor you really need to make sure you got everything in order.  I spoke with some casting directors and here is what they believe you need to know.

“Headshots need to be shot right, head on and from the shoulders up.  They should look like the person, be interesting and always have a truthful, well organized resume.” ~Jackie Burch

“Look like you, have good energy in the eyes.” ~Marty Siu

Some Casting Directors prefer you have two of them.  One for “commercial” open smile, happy.  The other for “theatrical” closed mouth with some sort of attitude in the eyes.  You always want to submit the theatrical shots for Film and TV.  The commercial, well for commercials.  Always keep at least 5 of them with you at all times.

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I also thought it best to widen the spectrum and reach out to some more casting directors in town and find out what their biggest pet peeves were. I spoke with Emmy Young, Susan Cunningham, Missy Rose and Vanessa Neimeyer.  After a round table discussion of sorts, here is the group discussion.

Ladies, what are your biggest pet peeves when it comes to headshots?

EMMY: Too glamourous looking. ALSO…It is a big no-no to send in a headshot and then show up looking nothing like it.

SUSAN: White backgrounds- I really don’t like white backgrounds because it throws off the white balance and therefore skin tone and I agree with Em- a headshot that is too made up, etc is not a true representation of the actor.  I prefer shots in natural light but that’s just a personal preference.

MISSY: Yes, no severe touch ups… We want to see what you actually look like and I can spot altering/photoshop a mile away. If you want to take a pimple off or something, fine, but I want to see your true skin color and overall true complexion.

MISSY: As far as backgrounds go, I don’t mind white backgrounds as long as it is done naturally and correctly… Like David Pascua does white backdrops sometimes but he also knows how. As for the other, I agree with Susan, there is a difference of what you are selling when applying for model/print work vs acting… Mostly we are looking for an honest, true image of who you are.   But if we are looking for a “hot waitress” etc… It actually helps to send in an image that fits the part. In general, it depends on what you are applying for… But if you are sending in that kind of shot, always send a headshot, too.

VANESSA: I don’t like when headshots aren’t a good representation of the actor. Meaning the shots are too old or the actor now has red hair and the shot had blond or they had a beard and now the actor doesn’t.  I also personally prefer color to black and white photos that way the Director and the Casting Directors know what you will look like behind a film camera lens. Good lighting is always the key to great headshots!! I love outside and natural lighting. For me the subject pops off the photo.

A good example of a great headshot?  The ladies agreed that Emmy Young’s is perfect (pictured above).

Susan said, “This  is a good example of what I would look for in a good headshot.  For speaking roles for film, TV, etc and Em’s headshot works great for theater too.  It is a true representation of who Emmy is.”

Missy agreed.  “It’s definitely the best I’ve ever seen. It captures her features and emotion, it’s exactly what people are aiming for in their own photo session.”

There ya have it. I hope this was helpful. Got any other questions or comments?  Submit them below.

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Happy Snowy Wednesday Wilmywood! Man, it took me 1/2 hour to de-ice and defrost before I could leave my driveway this morning!  The roads are covered with ice, so you can’t see the lines in the road.  BE CAREFUL!

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REMINDER: Jackie Burch Casting Workshop – Wilmington, NC

Before our beloved Jackie Burch heads to Atlanta, she will be holding a casting workshop.  They will be held February 8th & 9th.  This workshop is for ages from 8-80.  Here are all the deets:

Session A – Saturday, February 8th, 10am – 5pm
Session B – Sunday, February 9th, 10am – 5pm

$175 for either session, A or B
Workshop will include:
– Headshot Appraisal
– Live Taping and Playback
– Cold Readings
– One-on-one Scene Study
– Q&As
Please contact samy@jackieburch.com to sign up!

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BEST_OF_2014_VoteREMINDER: ENCORE BEST OF MASQUERADE BALL will be Saturday, February 8th at the Brooklyn Arts Center.  Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door. Winners will be announced that night! BUY TICKETS NOW!

That just about does it for me; I will have more Wilmywood updates for you tomorrow morning (unless something breaks) and every weekday morning we do “What’s Up in Wilmywood” at 7:30am & 8:30am LIVE on Sunny 104.5.  Got Scoop?  Email me: sheila_brothers@yahoo.com.  Or message me on Wilmywood’s FB  or on Twitter You can also just post your comments below!  Until then, that’s a wrap!!

THE WILMYWOOD DAILY – 01/28/2014 Bad Grandpa out on DVD/Blu Ray, Sleepy Hollow, How and Why, and more.

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Johnny Knoxville is REALLY looking forward to you grabbing a copy. “We had so much hilarious footage that we had to cut for various reasons, so I’m psyched that people are going to get to see everything, especially when it’s unrated and on Blu-ray. Woohoo!! Plus I think fans will get a kick out of seeing how we pulled off some of the pranks in the behind-the-scenes footage. As Irving would say, ‘The show’s not over until I hogwrench the fat lady’s spatooly.'”

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SleepyHollowMillionFans

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REMINDER: Jackie Burch Casting Workshop – Wilmington, NC

Before our beloved Jackie Burch heads to Atlanta, she will be holding a casting workshop.  They will be held February 8th & 9th.  This workshop is for ages from 8-80.  Here are all the deets:

Session A – Saturday, February 8th, 10am – 5pm
Session B – Sunday, February 9th, 10am – 5pm

$175 for either session, A or B
Workshop will include:
– Headshot Appraisal
– Live Taping and Playback
– Cold Readings
– One-on-one Scene Study
– Q&As
Please contact samy@jackieburch.com to sign up!

BEST_OF_2014_VoteREMINDER: ENCORE BEST OF MASQUERADE BALL will be Saturday, February 8th at the Brooklyn Arts Center.  Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door. Winners will be announced that night! BUY TICKETS NOW!

That just about does it for me; I will have more Wilmywood updates for you tomorrow morning (unless something breaks) and every weekday morning we do “What’s Up in Wilmywood” at 7:30am & 8:30am LIVE on Sunny 104.5.  Got Scoop?  Email me: sheila_brothers@yahoo.com.  Or message me on Wilmywood’s FB  or on Twitter You can also just post your comments below!  Until then, that’s a wrap!!

THE WILMYWOOD DAILY – 01/20/2014 Brothers Olson set release date, Under the Dome, Jackie Burch, Sleepy Hollow

Happy Monday my Wilmywood peeps! Hope you had a great weekend! If you missed it over the weekend, we posted two production heads stance on incentives!  It’s a total MUST READ.

John Landgraf

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Buzz, buzz, ohhh the buzz about tonight’s epic 2 hour finale of Sleepy Hollow tonight! Don’t forget, it’s starts one hour early. 8pm EST on FOX!

In tonight’s episode, Ichabod and Abbie uncover a secret in George Washington’s Bible; Irving makes a decision that alters his future; the battle between good and evil comes to a head, changing Sleepy Hollow forever.

Can’t wait!  Now let’s move on to our other hot show, Under the Dome!

UTDJim_LindaAt the TCA’s last week, a teaser trailer was played and interestingly enough, some weird things are happening, including Big Jim (Dean Norris) kissing Linda Esquivel (Natalie Martinez).  Ahhh!

According to EP Brian K. Vaughn,  “The second season is going to take us places the book never got to go, he’s bringing his own twists and turns. Stephen King gave us ideas we’ve never imagined. What’s outside [the dome] comes inside.”

UTDSet062013_0102It seems that a little more has come out about the new characters we talked about last month.  Like Sam, the crazy man in the woods, is actually Junior’s uncle.  He will be makin’ trouble for Barbie.    But that’s not the worst!  Neal Baer revealed that not one, but two of our favorite characters won’t live to see the second episode!   Ahhhhh! Noooo!!

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Obin and Amariah Olson

Obin and Amariah Olson

Our local boys are The Brothers Olson are getting some attention for their latest film, Unknown Caller, and they have set a release date.  This suspense/action/thriller is set for a limited theater release March 1st.  They have also released their movie posters.  This is one of the two.   The film stars Louise Griffiths, David Chisum, Assaf Cohen, Henri Lubatti and Victor McCay.

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unkown-calleposter

Before our beloved Jackie Burch heads to Atlanta, she will be holding a casting workshop.  They will be held February 8th & 9th.  This workshop is for ages from 8-80.  Here are all the deets:

Jackie Burch Casting Workshop – Wilmington, NC
Session A – Saturday, February 8th, 10am – 5pm
Session B – Sunday, February 9th, 10am – 5pm

$175 for either session, A or B
Workshop will include:
– Headshot Appraisal
– Live Taping and Playback
– Cold Readings
– One-on-one Scene Study
– Q&As
Please contact samy@jackieburch.com to sign up!

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That just about does it for me; I will have more Wilmywood updates for you tomorrow morning (unless something breaks) and every weekday morning we do “What’s Up in Wilmywood” at 7:30am & 8:30am LIVE on Sunny 104.5.  Got Scoop?  Email me: sheila_brothers@yahoo.com.  Or message me on Wilmywood’s FB .  You can also just post your comments below!  Until then, that’s a wrap!!

THE WILMYWOOD DAILY – 01/10/2014 C.D. Jackie Burch Moving to Atlanta, More Noms for Sleepy Hollow and more.

Good Morning and Happy Friday!  Now before I get to some fun news, if you are in the film community, especially if you are an actor, this is some breaking news.

Yesterday, Jackie Burch one of our most talented industry people here in Wilmington, announced that effective March 1st, she is moving to Atlanta, GA.  This is a woman we have been so honored to have in our film community as she has an incredible resume that dates back to the Brat Pack.  Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Weird Science.  Add at least 50 more titles til we get to the most recent Iron Man 3, The Hunger Games, Arthur Newman, 42, and let alone the films that have not been released yet: Tammy, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part One and Two.

Robert Downey JrDid you know that Jackie was the one who gave Robert Downey Jr. his big break casting him in Weird Science?  And it came full circle when she cast IM3.  When Jackie relocated from Los Angeles to Wilmington, NC in 2008, we were so excited to have her here and officially call her our own.  But now, with 4 productions coming here and over 20 going to Georgia, well…

I caught up with her last night and here is what we talked about.

SHEILA:  So tell me, is it true?  Are you really moving to Atlanta?

JACKIE: Yes, however, I am still keeping an office here because I still want to work in Wilmington, but with the film incentives up in the air like they are, there is no work here for me right now.  I already have some projects that are in Atlanta at the moment. And with Pinewood Studios coming. I cannot just sit here waiting around.  I need to go where the work is available.

SHEILA: So you are not completely leaving us.  That’s at least some good news.  Just so you know, Jackie, people love you here, especially the actors in town.  You are responsible for so many of them getting the part!

JACKIE:  Oh, please tell them, I will not forget them. I always consider North Carolina talent for anything that I am casting in Georgia.  We have a lot of talented actors here.  And like I said, I will be available for any project that shoots in North Carolina, even if I am residing in Georgia.  I do that now, even though I currently live in Wilmington, I am casting projects in Atlanta.

SHEILA:  You know you are breaking  my heart right now, right?

JACKIE: (laughs) It’s so sad that I have to make this move.  I am hoping when they vote again this time,  they will do the right thing.  This incentive affects so many people, and not just the crew, but the small businesses, so many of them rely on the film industry to pay the bills.  I hope that they not only extend the incentives, but they get rid of  the expiration.  They need to make the incentives permanent.

I spoke with Jackie this morning and she asked for me to take the picture down, I laughed, cuz she never puts up a pic of herself up anywhere.  Lord, I love this woman!  But while we were chatting, she added:

I am really going to miss the theater in Wilmington.  I’ve cast many of actors right from theater, always trying to discover new talent.  I am very proud of the work they do here.

Jackie will be having a final workshop coming up before she heads out to Georgia.  It will be the weekend of February 8th.  I will keep you posted about all the details.

filmjobsBut back to the conversation.  That is the key, isn’t it? Ending the sunset. Politicians continue to make one HUGE mistake that they just simply cannot process how damaging it is.  They think it’s a good idea to just keep extending the incentive instead of permanently end the sunset once and for all!  And if you are in the industry then you know how BAD that is.  Not as bad a losing it, but, you know, production companies don’t know what to think of us.  Is there an incentive this year?  Well, I am planning my production two years from now, and NC’s incentives are up in the air.  No thank you, I will go to Georgia or Louisiana. The month of May cannot come soon enough. Look, extending the incentives is better than nothing, I agree, but it only puts a band-aid on an open wound.  Unless you stitch it up, it will never heal!  We will be back in crisis mode when we are 24 months away from “renewal” time.  So, let’s get this sunset outta here!  The sooner we do that, the more productions will make plans to film here and we can break the cycle of hesitation from production companies when they think of North Carolina.  We cannot afford to lose more amazing people in the film industry that call North Carolina their home!

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Nicole-Beharie45th NAACP Image Awards have released their nominees, and we have some of our own to congratulate!   Sleepy Hollow’s Nicole Beharie nabbed two and the adorable Chitra was nominated for her mad writing skills!  See the category and who they are competing with:

Outstanding actress in a motion picture
Angela Bassett – “Black Nativity” (Fox Searchlight Pictures/Mavin Pictures/Wonderful Films)
Halle Berry – “The Call” (TriStar Pictures)
Jennifer Hudson – “Winnie Mandela” (Ma-Afrika Films [PTY] LTD and Equinoxe Films Inc.)
Kerry Washington – “Tyler Perry Presents Peeples” (Lionsgate)
Nicole Beharie – “42” (Warner Bros. Pictures/Legendary Pictures)

Outstanding actress in a drama series
Chandra Wilson – “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC)
Kerry Washington – “Scandal” (ABC)
Khandi Alexander – “Treme” (HBO)
Nicole Beharie – “Sleepy Hollow” (Fox)
Regina King – “SouthLAnd” (TNT)

Outstanding writing in a dramatic series
Aaron Rahsaan Thomas – “SouthLAnd” – Babel (TNT)
Chitra Elizabeth Sampath, Damian Kindler – “Sleepy Hollow” – Sanctuary (Fox)
Janine Sherman Barrois – “Criminal Minds” – Strange Fruit (CBS)
Karin Gist – “Revenge” – Mercy (ABC)
Sara Hess – “Orange is the New Black” – Blood Donut (Netflix)

SEE COMPLETE LIST NOW!

bansheeNC Shot Banshee is gearing up for Season 2 tonight on Cinemax!  Thanks to Darla for finding this video!

“Ivana Milicevic chats with Access about creating Vine videos to promote “Banshee” Season 2. Also, she talks about Lucas Hood’s troubles in the upcoming season. Plus, Ivana tells Access why her character, Carrie, will have a “horrible” time in the new season.” WATCH IT NOW!

 

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McDuffy_LetterREMINDER:  McDuffy: The Urban Eagle  screening is tomorrow night.  Tickets are only $5 and THEY WILL SELL OUT for the screening Saturday night, 7pm, so BUY THEM NOW!  The screening also coincides with the grand opening of GIANT Coffeehouse, which is connected to Post 1200 on N 23rd St., right across from Screen Gems.

OTHER REMINDERS:

  • JAN 13 – Monday: Sleepy Hollow Episode 11 “Vessel” –  9pm EST on FOX
  • JAN 15 – Voting ends Wednesday for Encore’s Best of 2014 VOTE NOW.
  • JAN 20 – The epic two hour season finale of Sleepy Hollow at 8pm EST on FOX.
  • JAN 29 – America’s Got Talent Auditions Greensboro Marriott Downtown.