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TOOLS FOR AUDITIONING

Getting to audition for a role (TV, Film, Commercial, etc.) is exciting! Not knowing what to expect or even do to prepare can be nerve racking. We have out together the following information to help you get ready for an audition.

Resume

Experienced talent have resumes that highlight their work. If you are new to the industry, you should work on getting your resume written as soon as possible. Add all relevant work experience as a talent as soon as possible, including classes and workshops you have completed, any roles you have played (including non-speaking parts), or any other relevant industry work. Click here for an example of a Stars Talent Studio formatted resume.

When called in for an audition, make sure you have your resume with you.

Professional Headshot

As a talent you will need at one professional headshot. Follow these instructions on what is expected:

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).

    • 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

Shaving for men

    • You can shave during a session, but wet shaving doesn’t always work out (you can cut yourself, the skin can look a bit raw and aggravated and for guys we normally want to make the jaw look nice and strong, so baby face clean leaves no detail to hold some shadow). Of course, if you’re always clean shaven, don’t grow a beard for the shoot!

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

Here are additional resource:

Different Headshot Types

There are different types of headshots that are apply to Film (Theatrical) and Commercials. The following explains the difference:

Commercial Headshots

    • Designed to appeal to the advertising industry. 
    • They help promote a product to a specific demographic.
    • Consider what demographic you fall into (it’s 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, show unique qualities in your headshot (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/Film Headshots

    • Designed to appeal to the advertising industry. 
    • They help promote a product to a specific demographic.
    • Consider what demographic you fall into (it’s 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, show unique qualities in your headshot (keep in mind, commercial headshots are really about that broader appeal!)

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. Think of the theatrical headshot as feeling more grounded.

Wardrobe. Characters types you go out for will determine the wardrobe. Bring 5+ character “types” in your castability! Ask yourself: How are you realistically going to be cast? Are you going to get work as the doctor or lawyer? Or will you get selected for being a Russian spy or a private detective? Once you determine the roles you’ll realistically be submitted for, practice creating the right emotions and expressions so you come across as that type in your photos. For actor headshots, please bear in mind that you need to select your outfits to create a character (the more different looks you can create, the wider the range for your castings will be). Don’t select your clothes just because you look good in them, rather think about which outfits will help you portraying those characters the best. Please remember to bring a range of different outfits. 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. For example, earth tones can be rich in color to stand out, but still subtle enough to give focus to the actor. A top with a vivid color also helps to make the headshot stand out from the rest and “pop”. It is also a good idea to make this color match your eyes. Make sure everything is ironed and looks neat. Unless casting is after “wrinkled shirt guy,” it’s not a good look!

Comedic Headshots

The middle ground between the commercial and theatrical headshot is the comedic headshot. 

    • Geared towards sitcoms, stand-up comedy, romantic comedies, etc.
    • The comedic headshot should be light and your personality colorful.
    • Add a bit more character to the comedic headshot.
    • It should hint at the type of humor that you do: are you the sarcastic, dry character or the quirky slapstick type?
    • Don’t use an 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.

Additional Pictures

In addition to one or several professional headshots, you want to have images that show you in a variety of settings. Follow these guidelines:

Taking your own “digitals”

1) HOLD  YOUR PHONE LANDSCAPE STYLE. 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. 

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 50+ 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.

Here are additional resource:

Taking good photos of children

1) Catch our Kido while playing. 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) Variety is Key. We like to have 4-5 different outfits in all 4 seasons and scenarios to choose from. Shoot a variety of scenes and hairstyles; get the kids involved with selections and make it fun!

7) 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!)

8) Set up a Photo Time. Taking candid snapshots at extracurricular activities is helpful to add to Podio, but you should also set up a professional photo shoot so your child looks like he/she has been on an actual booking & has Industry standard formatted commercial and film headshots, or photos for their comp card, etc.

11) The More the Merrier. Please send in at least 10+ shots to allow us to make the best selections to market your child to clients. 

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free $500 photoshoot & $1000 scholarship
to Utah Talent Academy

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