Hello everyone I have posted this in a few different places but I figured that I would post it here to get the ball rolling for others to post.
Over the years I have had actors approach me asking how to get started in the biz and normally the first thing I suggest is having a headshot & resume. I know that some actors spend hundreds on their headshots and some people just don't have the money to spend. I wanted to give the starting artist some ideas for low cost headshot & resume ideas.
I'm going to start with a little insight first and move to the tips.
I have had some experience casting people for a few movies in my time and I have seen all kinds of headshots & resumes come across the table. Some were great, some not so great and some that were very inventive. It's the outside the box thinking that caught my attention. Most of the time these actors were new and didn't know how to have a proper headshot & resume or they just didn't have the money to have them done. When you have a good looking heatshot & resume, you feel more confident and the casting directors will take notice.
With that being said, let's get to the real meat of it.
1. PHOTO-Get yourself a camera. 35 mm or digital are what I would suggest. Keep in mind that you will want to take many pictures with different poses. Get some ideas for what headshots look like and positions from other folks heashots. Remember the more pictures you take the more you will have to choose from. Also the more pictures you take, the more comfortable you will become as well.
You can have someone shoot the picture for you or you could take it on your own. By using a tripod, you could easily set up your own shots. Using a digital camera here would really help you see the proper framing on the spot to avoid cutting your head out of the picture.
Choose a simple background, the least eye catching the background the better.
If you go the 35 mm route, when you get them developed I would suggest getting the CDROM option (read on and you'll see why).
If you would rather not take them yourself there is also the option of going to your local Walmart store and having photos taken for a small fee. Sometimes they run specials that are very inexpensive (like under $15.00). If you go this route, keep in mind that with the inexpensive packages you only get one pose.
2. GO BLACK & WHITE-After you have the pictures you need, you may want to go black & white. Professional actors will use B&W photos for their headshots most of the time because it is less costly to reproduce them. Since they are going to be given away, you will want to keep them at a low cost.
On most computers there is some sort photo editing software. Most of this software has a black & white option. Choose your favorite photo and change it to B&W.
3. THE LOOK-There are many options that you can choose from when designing the style of your headshot. Some have white borders and some do not have borders. Experiment a little to get the look you desire. My suggestion would be to add a white border around the photo leaving more space on the bottom than around the top and sides. Why? Because that is where you will want to put your name. Most actors will put their name in the bottom right hand corner of their headshot. You don't have to put it there, you could put your name anywhere you want.
When putting your name on your headshot you should use basic block lettering so it is easy to read.
If you really want to catch someone's eye, you might want to put your contact address and number on the opposite side of your name. It does help with call backs, believe me.
4. PRINT IT-Using Photo quality paper, print out your headshot. The glossy kind is best in most cases.
5. WHAT TO PUT-It's hard to tell someone what to put on your resume but I'm going to say it now, DO NOT MAKE THINGS UP! If you don't have any experience, don't list anything. Instead, you might want to list other things that could be helpful to help fill the space. If you have little to no experience I would suggest this kind of format:
WEBSITE (if you don't have one, start up a myspace account)
SUIT SIZE-PANTS SIZE-SHIRT SIZE-SHOE SIZE
SPECIAL TRAINING & ABILITIES
Keep the format and font basic so it is easy to read. If you don't know how to format a resume, check out some online, there are tons out there. Just remember that your NAME is the most important part and it should be larger than all of the other text.
PUTTING THEM TOGETHER
6. PRINTING-Now that you have you headshot and resume done, you will want to put them together. If you are just starting out you will only need a handful of your headshot & resumes. As your experience increases, you will want to add them to your resume but for now let's focus on how to get them together.
The first thing you will think to do is staple the resume to the back of your headshot. I'll tell you now that I never liked getting headshots with the resume stapled on the back. It looks thrown together to me. Some folks do this so casting directors can separate them if need be. I would say don't do it.
Print the resume on the back of the headshot. It looks more professional and in this case, the more professional you can be, the better.
Your first option could be to print them yourself. If you have the ink to do it, go for it.
Another option is to take it to your local copier. Kinko's, Office Max, Office Depot or where ever. If you go this route, choose a paper stock that is glossy on the headshot side and plain on the back. It might be best to have the person behind the counter help you with this or make them for you.
For your first run you might want to only order around a dozen (more or less according to your needs).
THAT'S IT! You are ready to roll or get that role.
I would like it hear if this was a help in any way. Please feel free to contact me with questions, comments or suggestions.
Written By: Rick Shipley