After many long discussions with multiple casting directors here is THIS Agency’s requirements (Yes, they’re much higher than the rest … would you expect anything else?) Most of the details explained below will be foreign to most of you. I don’t expect any of you to be experts on Video Coding. Take this to the taping service you are using … they should be able to do the rest.
- 1920 x 1080 is preferred
- 1280 x 720 is the minimum expectation
- .MOV preferred
- .MP4 is acceptable
- Target rate = 10,000 kbps (this is mainly needed for Adobe editors)
Typically, videos should be shot at 29.97 frames per second. This is the standard HD Camcorder setting.
If Editing in Final Cut Pro or Adobe CS6:
Average file sizes will equate to the following.
1 minute of video at 1920 x 1080 = 120 to 150 MB
1 minute of video at 1080 x 720 = 50 to 75 MB
File Naming Instructions
Audition and Slate should be separate files. Always email the audition to your agent.
Save files in the format of:
Headshots that Book (Or At Least get Auditions!)
As an agent, my first job is to get an actor “in the room” for the audition. For the vast majority of actors, the only physical tool I have to use to accomplish this is your headshot. I can spend multiple hours talking to casting directors about how great you are; how grounded your acting is; that you have incredible emotional range; how the role was made for you! But, in the end, your headshot will seal the deal. Yeah, it’s that important.
1. Print 8×10 (non-negotiable)
2. Print Your Name on the Front (nothing else)
1. Print multiple photos on the page
2. Print any other size than 8×10
3. Print Landscape/Horizontal Photographs
What does it look like?
The Southeastern Market
Specifically focusing on the southeastern market (Hollywood East), headshots have taken on an even greater importance. Typically, day player or supporting roles are often filled extremely quickly – straight from your first taped audition! No callbacks, means no second chances. You have to nail it the first time around. Casting Directors have the awesome power and responsibility of simply supplying the network executives with one headshot and one taped audition. That means you better gain their trust very quickly.
What makes a good headshot in this market? Gone are the days that an actor could get away with one good Theatrical headshot and one good Commercial headshot. Now, you need Character headshots. As an actor tackling this as a business, you need to truly consider what roles you want to target. Also, you MUST know your environment. Georgia, Louisiana and all the surrounding areas have definitely attracted certain genres to the south. There is a common theme with major productions like The Walking Dead, The Hunger Games, The Divergent Series, Under the Dome and many others … Survivor, Gritty, Supernatural, and Dramatic.
Why take the chance of letting another actor beat you to the audition simply because their headshots sell a better story? Make it easy for the casting director to pick you … better yet, make it impossible for them to ignore you!
1. The General Theatrical
Yes, you still need this one. It’s the staple that fits those common breakdowns calling for the: 20s – 50s, any ethnicity, any build, … basically we need a talented actor that can fog a mirror. We really have no clue what we want, but we’ll know it when we see it …
2. The Survivor Look
This is your post-apocalyptic look. Apparently, nothing says end of the world like the southern landscape, and with that comes in influx of survivor style episodic and feature films like The Walking Dead, The Hunger Games Series, Under the Dome, 12 Years a Slave, and many others. This shot is as far from a glamour shot as you can get. These are your low/no make-up shots (maybe just foundation):
3. The Supernatural Look
Are you the hero? Are you the villain? Either way you better have a supernatural power to make it through this script. Vampire Diaries, The Originals, American Horror Story, and the lot of other dark fantasies love the south also. These shots need to channel your inner superhero/super villain. Dark and sultry, mysterious … do we cheer for you or are we scared of you. Pick one and go for it. You know your essence as an actor (if you don’t, you’d better figure it out).
4. The Cops & Robbers Look
Again this goes to knowing your essence as an actor. Are you the Authority or the Law Breaker? This is your opportunity to show that you can play the Police Officer/Chief/Detective, the lawyer or high powered Business Executive. Or, show your thug, drug dealer/user, or shady side. These shots make it easy to show a casting director your range as an actor!
5. The Commercial Look
Of course we need this one. Commercials help pay the bills while you wait for your next big audition. So, say CHEESE and smile.
Am I really saying you need a minimum of 5 headshots? Yes. Yes, I am. In an increasingly competitive environment, actors must use any marketing tool possible to stand out from the crowd. And lets be honest … you don’t have to print out 400+ headshots at a time anymore, because we’re in the digital age now and virtual submissions are the norm. So what extra cost are you looking at with this? An extra $15-$45 spent on your Actor’s Access Profile maybe? Yeah, that’s a horrible cost to further your acting career (sarcasm…)
So to wrap this all up, character shots rock from an agent’s perspective. They help sell you. They are the first step in selling your story and showing your range as an actor. So, go grab your favorite headshot photographer and start shooting!
– Patrick Ryan
Aligned Stars Agency – Resume Basics
“How do I format my acting resume?” I get this question asked all the time and there seems to be 1000s of different answers out there. So, here is a compilation of formats I think work for the Southeast Market:
Overall Themes of your Resume:
Your resume sells a story just like your Headshots. It needs to look consistent throughout. Stick with one font that is easy to read. The only exception for a different font is for your name (that is completely optional). Standard sized Acting resumes are 8in x 10in. This is non-negotiable. Casting Directors will immediately trash anything that does not fit neatly in their pile. That means you will need to play around with the margins to get this to print correctly on standard paper. You will need to trim the paper to correct size after printing. Lastly, your resume must be one page.
Starting at the Top:
What is needed in the header? Well, this one is pretty standard.
- Your Name
- Agency Name
- Agency Phone Number & Email
- Height& Weight
- Your Personal Website (optional)
The Header Section
You don’t need your age, age range, eye color or any other descriptive characteristics of your looks. Your Headshot is in full color so those traits are easily obtained. You don’t want to put the age range YOU think you are on there either … the casting director may think or want differently. Let them decide that! Do not add your personal email or phone number on the resume. It is your agent’s job to talk to production and set up your contract.
Font size should follow the format of the Name being the largest font and the rest of the font remaining the same. The only reason to start making font smaller is because you are running out of room on the paper (Yay for being a working actor!!).
The Meat (of the Meat & Potatoes) Section:
This is where the heart of your resume goes – Your work experience. Now, you have to ask yourself: “What do I want to book?’ Television & Film based jobs? Stage & Theater based jobs? Commercials? What is most important to you? Since this article is directed at all my talent I’m going to assume Film & Television is most important (Lets face it … droves of actors aren’t moving here from LA and NY for our booming theatre gigs). So, I prefer the following Categories for projects:
List the Company name followed by the Teacher Name followed by the individual class names.
Example: Art Sake Studio with Yvonne Suhor: Film I/Meisner, Film Scene Study, Audition Prep, Advanced Intensive
Most often, actors really miss out on this opportunity and sell themselves way too short. Categorize your skills into sections like, athletics, dialects, musical talents, motor skills, and general stuff. DO NOT put items like directing, script writing or other production type skills. This is your acting resume. Not your crew job resume. The last thing a director wants is an actor sharing his/her “tips” on how to run a camera to the crew while on set so lets just leave those off the resume.
Look at your Actor’s Access Profile. The section with all the check boxes is an excellent place to get your special skills. If you check it there, it’s a special skill for your resume.