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Are You an Authentic, Honest Actor? Part 2

In part 1 of Are you an authentic, honest actor I explained how important it was to give a real authentic performance when you were acting. In this second part, I cover in more detail the ways your performance can and will help you get an awesome headshot.

My ultimate responsibility is to deliver a set of brilliant headshots to my clients. I do this by adopting the role of a director. I give actors direction and pointers on how to improve their performances for a better headshot.

A headshot is a performance, it needs direction

I do this because I worked out that actors spend years learning techniques on authenticity, imagination, emotion awareness and characterisation. All that training is pulled together in the performance and the director directs that performance.

A good director raises an actor’s game, they can bring out in an actor hidden talents that may have been lying dormant or indeed never been seen before.

So I came to understand that because actors spend years responding to and bouncing off a director. If I took on the role of director why shouldn’t I be able to tap into these skills and use them to get a better performance out of my clients, and therefore a better headshot?

I can’t tell you how much fun I have working it this way. It fills me with joy when I see a nervous client who is self-conscious in front of the camera suddenly burst into life as they interpret a character I have given them. I call this the cloak of character and I explain it in more detail in my book The Headshot Bible – 50 Tips For A Perfect Headshot.

It’s crazy when you think of it, little old me and my camera can intimidate an actor. An actor who performs effortlessly on stage in front of 500 people or who explodes into life on set in front of a full crew with lights, sound, cameras, makeup, runners etc…

But it happens because that’s what actors do.

And finally, another view of the question are you an honest actor? Your honesty needs to be looked at in terms of the headshot you present to casting directors. Is your headshot authentic, is it really you as you are now? Or as you looked several years ago?

Is it a real representation of how you look now? Have you or the photographer gone overboard with retouching? Is your skin really as smooth as that, do you have more lines around your eyes? Is your hair really that luxurious and lush? Have you put on or lost a few pounds since it was taken?

You have to be honest with yourself and honest with the casting director. Don’t waste their time by sending in a headshot that is years out of date. The casting director’s no.1 complaint is when an actor doesn’t look like their headshot.

In reality, in terms of your headshot, are you an honest actor with yourself and the way you look? It starts with a realistic look in the mirror or if this is too difficult ask your agent, tutor and acting colleagues. Insist they be brutally honest with you.

Don’t worry that your casting range has gotten older, it’s part of life. You should embrace it and get a set of awesome headshots that show you

As you are now.

Armed with your new headshots you should be pitching yourself at the right roles. This approach usually brings more auditions and more success.

One of the key elements of an awesome headshot is personality, another is showing honest, authentic emotion and the last one is connecting with the viewer by being present and relating to them.

And I’ll finish by adding this quote from Brigham Young University’s theatre education dept.

An actor has to be real.

What is “honest acting?”

Honest acting does not mean telling the truth. It means being true to your character. It means being real.

Honest acting requires an “emotional reality”

It is being real vs. pretending.

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