- How do I self-tape?
- A: There are 4 steps to self-taping:
- Shoot video HORIZONTALLY
- Use a plain, neutral wall, and NEVER handheld (tripods are best)
- Make sure you’re well lit (natural light works well!)
- Frame yourself in a medium close up shot (mid-chest, up) if not moving; medium shot (waist up) if your audition requires some movement
- Ensure you’re in a quiet area
- You MUST have a reader, and they MUST be quieter than you.
- CHECK YOUR AUDIO (and video). Record a few seconds and double-check all sounds/looks good before proceeding.
- NEVER look into the camera; always direct your dialogue to the reader (slightly left or right of the camera – the reader should NEVER be seen).
- Slate your name, agency, city (and age, if a minor), unless otherwise noted, before beginning and follow by a full body shot
- You may submit 2 takes of the scene, but you must submit 2 takes if the piece is 5 lines or less.
- Export as one file (unless reading for multiple roles). Each file should contain your slate and up to two takes.
- Make sure the file is downloadable and send via WeTransfer or Dropbox (Files sent via YouTube or Vimeo will not be accepted)
- Label the file: FirstName LastName ROLE
- Always watch back before sending!
**Always read client instructions carefully – they’ll often provide guidelines specific to that audition.**
2. How do I take good photos of my child?
A: Take note of these helpful tips:
1) Catch Kids at Play.Let kids be kids - they make much better photographic subjects when they're having fun!
2) Get Down and Dirty. Take photos of children from their eye level to avoid creating the appearance of large heads or disproportionate bodies.
3) Shade Kids from Bright Light. Avoid speckled sunlight and harsh flash photography as it creates ugly shadows on faces and makes children squint. Taking photos outside on overcast days is best.
4) Keep it Casual. Kids have a tendency to look awkward when they're “dressed up.” No make-up, jewelry, color-corrective contacts, hair extensions, hats, distracting bows, nail polish, or distracting clothes. Exceptions could be dance recital shots or Halloween costumes.
5) Avoid Busy Backgrounds. The background should not distract from the child. For example, do not shoot in a messy/cluttered living area or in an outdoor setting with lots of clutter.
6) Winter Photos. Taking pictures outside is best, but obviously, winter is not ideal. If you do get a nice day, please remember not to have bulky winter clothes on the kids.
7) Do Not Crop or Photoshop Pictures. Please do not adjust the images to black & white or sepia. Please do not use filters or smart phone apps to adjust the images.
8) Variety is Key. We like to have 4-5 different outfits and scenarios to choose from. Shoot a variety of scenes and hairstyles; get the kids involved with selections and make it fun!
9) Shoot Their Strengths. We like to see what they are good at! Please capture action shots of their favorite sports and activities. If they have a fun personality, we want to see that on camera! Shots of them goofing off and being silly are great to have! (We don’t want ALL silly shots though!)
10) Set up a Photo Time. Taking candid snapshots at extracurricular activities is a great way to collect photos, but you should also set up a “mini” photo shoot as if on an actual booking.
11) The More the Merrier. Please send in at least 15 shots to allow us to make the best selections to market your child to clients.
3. How do I take my own digitals?
A: Take note of these helpful tips:
1) PUT YOUR BACK (CAMERA) INTO IT. If you’re using your phone (as you likely will), do NOT flip your camera to take the traditional “selfie” where you can see yourself as you take the photo. There are several great photo timer apps that allow you to set your camera up and get in front of it, hands free: TimerCam, Photo Timer, Timer Auto Camera to name just a few.
2) “RECENT” MEANS RECENT. A request for a “recent” digital translates to a photo taken within the last 24 hours. It should be an instant, natural, ACCURATE representation of how you photograph. No bells and whistles, just you. Clients want to know what your hair looks like now – not last month.
3) LIGHTING IS EVERYTHING. Try to keep it as natural as possible. Use indirect light from a window, or if going outside, keep the sun behind you to avoid casting unflattering shadows.
4) KEEP IT BASIC. Minimal/no makeup, product-free hair, no jewelry/accessories, basic clothes – plain tee/tank, leggings/jeans, etc. And shoot in front of a basic background (no distracting people, places, or things).
5) #NOFILTER(S). These photos are intended to show you in your natural state. Photoshopping, filters, and distracting add-ons (think: Snapchat) are strictly prohibited. Think of it as lying via photography and leave the retouching to the professionals.
6) (DON’T) STRIKE A POSE. Do NOT over-pose. The purpose of your digitals is to show you as you are. You should include a variety of angles (although from above is NOT one of them). A few headshots would be ideal including both sides of your face, hair up and down (if you have long hair), and full-body (front, back and profile).
7) YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MANY OPTIONS. Take several shots of each angle and pick your best. You’ll also get more comfortable the more you take. Another option is to take video. You can then go back and freeze frame to get the perfect look. Just be sure not to SEND all 300 photos you snapped.
8) BEWARE THE OBVIOUS. Do not send professional photos or photos from your portfolio, that the agency may already have. Make sure you send your photos to the correct person and take note of any specifics requested of you. Know your audience: if you’re sending to be considered for a sports ad – seriously, sultry faces aren’t appropriate; if you’re sending for a salon spot, don’t wear a hat (or a wig), etc.
CHECK OUT THESE RESOURCES FOR MORE HELPFUL INFO:
4. How do I take my own measurements?
A: There are many resources online to help you know how to accurately measure yourself. All you need is a tape measure, and preferably a friend to lend a hand. Make sure you're using a soft/flexible tape measure (as opposed to a metal measuring tape - these will yield inaccurate results!).
Headshot Session Information
Have a casual look and a nicer look as options; bring different colors and tones, as you don’t know what backgrounds you will shoot against
- Wear colors that bring out your eyes and compliment your skin tone
- Avoid black, white, very bright, and patterns (solid colors are best)
- Necklines should be simple:
- Women: a simple scoop neck or a V-neck is best
- Men: a button-down, a polo shirt, or a dress T-shirt
Hire a hair & makeup stylist so you can look your best
- Hair: styled simply and neatly
- Makeup: light and natural
Obtain a variety of image options
- Headshots specifically shouldn’t be too tight - we need room in each image to crop if needed;vertical images are best, though a few horizontal shot will work
- We need at least one serious shot and one smiling shot (showing your teeth); three-quarter length or full-body shots are always helpful
I’m getting a new headshot!
What should I wear?
If you are asking this question it’s a good idea to do some homework.
Below are some links and information that you might find useful to prepare for your photo session.
Simplicity is key for headshot wardrobe: the focus in your headshot should be squarely on you: not your clothes. Busy patterns and large, distracting jewelry are a no-go. Bright jewel tones are best: red, blue, green, yellow...any solid, primary color. You know what looks best on you: pick colors that bring out your eyes and compliment your skin tone. Stay away from white (which can wash you out) and black (which can give the illusion of absorbing light from the rest of the photo).
If you play more buttoned-up characters, you may want to wear a jacket. If you play more free-spirited or open-book characters, feel free to show a bit more skin (though not too much - be careful of wearing clothing that is too revealing - it can take away the focus from your face).
Commercial headshots are designed to appeal to the advertising industry.The purpose of a commercial is to promote a product to a specific demographic. In your commercial headshot, you really want to consider what demographic you fall into. It is important for the personality types in commercials to be easily identifiable since there are only a few seconds to connect with the viewer. Are you the upscale luxury car driver or the college student compact car driver? What is your authentic age range? Are you the stylish hipster phone commercial type or the nerdy, quirky office type? As always, you want to show unique qualities in your headshot. But keep in mind, commercial headshots are really about that broader appeal.
Serious or smile? This would really depend on your type, but for the most part smiling is recommended. You want to have energy and charisma in a commercial headshot. If you typically play tougher characters, your commercial shot should be your character on a good day. Your commercial headshot must be relatable and engaging. The goal of your photographer should be to capture an authentic moment that feels alive, not just a plastered on smile and a head tilt.
Wardrobe. Typically, you want your commercial headshot to be warm and bright. You want to come across as likable. It’s best to wear a color that pops. I’m not saying wear neon, but jewel tones tend to work well for drawing attention to a shot without overshadowing the actor. Blacks or grays tend to take away from the warmth and energy of a shot. If you only have dark clothing, make sure your background is brighter.
Theatrical headshots are geared towards being cast in plays, TV shows, and films.In theatrical headshots, you really want to see the layers of a person’s personality. Generally speaking, theatrical headshots show a little more emotional depth than a commercial headshot. In commercial headshots, it is important to come across as trustworthy so you can sell a product. In theatrical headshots, you are selling an identifiable personality type, whether it’s a trustworthy one or not.
Serious or smile? Typically, theatrical headshots are thought of as confident expressions without a smile, but it really depends on the types of characters you are going out for. Sometimes a knowing smirk or vulnerability behind the eyes better exemplifies who you are as an actor. Not all theatrical shots need to be stoic and serious. I like to think of the theatrical headshot as feeling more grounded.
Wardrobe. The types of characters you go out for will determine wardrobe in theatrical headshots, but I tend to like earthy tones. While I try and stay away from black or white shirts, I do find some grays acceptable in theatrical headshots. Just make sure that there is an adequate contrast ratio between wardrobe, background, and hair. You don’t want your headshot to be muddy or dull just because it’s theatrical. I find that earth tones can be rich in color to stand out, but still subtle enough to give focus to the actor.
As a side note, I believe the middle ground between the commercial and theatrical headshot is the comedic headshot. Comedic headshots are geared towards sitcoms, stand-up comedy, romantic comedies, etc. Just as in a commercial headshot, you want your comedic headshot light and your personality colorful. However, there is a bit more character in the comedic headshot. Your comedic headshot should hint at the type of humor that you do. Are you the sarcastic, dry character or the quirky slapstick type? I don’t suggest a cartoon, over-the-top approach to the comedic headshot unless your act is really over the top. Subtlety can be very effective and read as more authentic.
Questions about working with Docherty?
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