Headshots! It's a Process ... Even for the Casting Director.
I have a Trainer, a Life Coach, my 'Lady Doctor', a Dentist, a Lawyer, a Naturopath. I don't have a personal shopper, but I do have a BFF and a Spiritual Counsellor. During my last photoshoot I acknowledged that I also have a Photographer; the guy who takes my headshots. Unbeknownst to him, he is part spiritual counsellor, life coach, therapist, and BFF! Actors often ask: "how often should I have a new headshot done" and I say every time you experience a significant life change. It is then that you deepen emotionally and psychologically. It is then that you relinquish your weapons, emotional weapons, and come to the camera vulnerable and open, too dazed by growth to weaponize or mask your core being. In that moment it is time to renew your commitment to your Actor with a headshot session.
Exactly a year ago, I had a significant and 'uninvited' life shift. This year I turned 50 (with considerable joy on the 50 part, I must say. I do love getting older!). I could feel the deepening of my life; a life lived fully as an Artist and I knew it would soon be time to check in with my 'Headshot Guy' even thought I didn't feel ready. The first attempt to book a session failed; March 2016, which is when I started casting Season 3 of Z Nation. Why would I schedule a headshot session just as I start to cast 15 episodes of a network show!? I tried again in July. And cancelled a week later with Sorry J..."busy". (Notice a pattern? 2 words: Avoidance. Tactics.) Finally I told myself that after casting 15 episodes of Zombie Apocalyptic mania for Sy Fy channel, I would schedule a shoot. My Assistant held me to it; she is fearless!
My Photographer is brilliant. We usually talk for about 4-6 weeks before our session via email. And in our session he asks me more questions. In email he asked me what I wanted to achieve and why? He makes me accountable. I sent him a pinterest board of about 40 images showing tones, styles, lighting, looks, to help him to understand what I saw and 'felt' in my mind's eye. He co-creates with me. He fills the studio with the music of my choice, he supports me to giggle, to be shy and bold, strong and uncertain, vulnerable and confident. He exudes the patience of a Saint. After an hour we review the shots and he asks if I am seeing what I had imagined. We discuss the shots taken thus far and he advises me on posture and stance. He gives me important and much needed feedback and I invite more of the same. I want to the benefit of his skilled eye; what he sees that is, and is not, working. He tells me the story of myself from the perspective of his lens. It is illuminating, the camera.
2 hours into the session and feeling a little fatigued I throw all caution to the wind and throw him a goofy not-me-but-totally-me-when-i'm-with-my-kid-brother pose. And then I am opening up about all manner of things, that somehow flow from me, as he clicks away agreeing with everything I say, laughing and sympathizing in all the right places, right on cue. And right then he becomes my best BFF, ever.
At one point I said to him you've known me since 2004 and seen me in multiple artistic contexts. At the moment I delight in wearing three hats and they are distinct from one another but with crossovers. Can you capture that? Casting Director, Ultimate Actor's Coach, and Actor? I'm thinking simple ... simplified ...I'm all about the work ... no frills ... a classic sort of black 'n' white, ... jeans n tee ... relaxed but present, warm, grounded, a little bit of shy ... confident ... direct, I've got your back ... ultimate actor's coach, casting director, Actress, London, #justdoitNikeImoru, #Be.
Could you capture that in a single click?
Join me in my next seminar "Inside the Casting Director's Studio - SHOW ME YOUR HEADSHOT! Bring a hard copy (only) headshot and I will tell you if it is working for you - or against you - commercials, TV, movies.
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/inside-the-casting-directors-studio-tickets-28509434486 (copy and paste into your browser)
Photographer: John Ulman