Tuesday, September 8, 2015

HOLAwave: A Producer's Guide To The Perfect Headshot

[HOLAwave represents a series of guest blogs by industry insiders giving informative and educational tidbits for the Latino performer. They can range from acting and auditioning advice, tech tips, legal advice, marketing, producing tips, and so on. Get caught up in the wave– the HOLAwave.] (This blog was originally published here.)

[This blog was originally published here.]

I’ve been a full-time actor for about 13 years now, and I have to admit that I haven’t gotten as many headshots as I should have in that amount of time.

Recently, I’ve decided that it’s time for new headshots, and I wanted to be sure I reviewed some great tips I got from the late, great Bob Fraser, who was an accomplished actor, director, and most importantly, PRODUCER.

Bob used to sell a course for actors called “You Must Act”, along with other great courses, and I bought ALL of his stuff- it was always packed of great information, and got me motivated to keep moving.

We were working on creating a product together, because he would teach actors about the business of acting, and I would teach them how to quit your day job, so you can be free to be a full-time actor.

Together, we would have made a great team! I would get people FREE of the day job, and he would make them STARS!

Unfortunately, he passed away a while ago, and his family chose to not make his great products available anymore, so I have chosen to give you some of his tips from his fantastic headshot book Headshot Secrets.

The most important part of a headshot is that it LOOK LIKE YOU! 

So your first bit of homework is to take the time, each day, to repeat the most important and basic mind-set adjustments, until they become second nature to you:

• I look like me. 

• I must get comfortable with it. 
• I must use how I look to my advantage.

Here are the first few ‘baby steps’ in adjusting your mind-set:

1. Work hard at becoming ‘okay’ with the way you look.
2. Dump the idea that a headshot gets you work. It doesn’t. Your headshot will only get you the chance to sell yourself.
3. Maintain your objectivity.
4. Focus on your REAL goal: Getting IN THE DOOR!
Bob was very clear that we were in a BUSINESS, and his advice always came from a PRODUCERS point of view instead of as some fellow actor who is also just fumbling along the path.

You see, too many actors are worried about if they look “good” or not, and should instead be looking at the headshot as an ADVERTISEMENT FOR THEIR ACTING BUSINESS.

He goes on to say, “If your headshot doesn’t work, you must get another one."

Again, "If your headshot doesn’t work, you must get another one.

Just like if you had an AD that didn’t work for a home business, you’d want to create a new one.

Isn’t that a REVELATION?

Instead of asking if you look “sexy”, you can just ask, “Is it getting me in the door?”

Aside from some of the great tips I learned from Bob (which people who are part of my mastermind have access to), I learned that when you are getting new headshots– it’s YOU who is the business owner– not the photographer, not your agent or manager– that it is all up to YOU.

That YOU should be selling a CHARACTER that you play well. 

Y’know how Paul Rudd (above left) is pretty much always playing a version of Paul Rudd?

Or how Chris Hemsworth (above right) is pretty much always playing a hunky guy?

Or how Scarlett Johansson (at right) is pretty much always Scarlett Johansson?

THAT’S what the business is.

Sure, you want to have “range” and all of that, but for the BUSINESS, you need to know what you’re selling, and your headshot is the first way people know what you’re selling.

Look PAST the camera, connect with the viewer, and SELL that character!

Also– no arms, stop cutting off your own head, and get a good photographer for God’s sake!

This is where people tell me that a good photographer is expensive, and I tell them to make money with their own business instead of waiting tables, walking dogs or watching babies!

Remember that you are SELLING your acting services, and you’ll have an advantage over all the other “artists” who are broke and about to quit!

Bones Rodríguez is an actor, author and "entreperformer" who was born and bred in New York City. He can be seen in a bunch of commercials, plays, television shows, and independent films. He is the author of Captain Kirk's Guide To Women, published by Simon and Schuster in 2008, as well as a number of other books, including No More Waiters: How To Build Your Acting Business Without A Day Job and Half-Assed Health: How To Look Good Naked... Without Starving, Suffering or Surgery, among others. As an entrepreneur, he helps people build their own part-time online business, so they can work from home but still earn an income. For more information, click here, herehere or here.

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