I’ve seen a lot of headshots in my life. Certainly hundreds of thousands of headshots. I used to *have* the headshots of over 10,000 actors in my hard copy files, before shifting everything over to my casting wiki. Every actor whose work I had ever seen in a play or a showcase, every actor who had ever come in for an audition, every actor whose headshot was submitted but whose work I knew enough to make it worth keeping the photo in my files even if I weren’t calling that actor in (due to lack of fit for the role, due to name actor status, due to the project being shelved, whatever), I had all those in my files. Phew! That’s a lot of headshots.

I’m so glad we’ve taken this whole process online. Yeah, I do still see actors’ physical headshots when we’re in the session part of the casting process, but for the most part, now, it’s screens filled with thumbnails. One hundred thumbnails per page, alphabetically presented is my preferred sorting method at my Breakdowns account. I’ll sort by role, or by all roles by agency or management firm, or by all roles across Actors Access, depending on what it is I need to see at a glance.

One of the trends I’ve noticed in the past couple of years is the overuse of wacky or quirky or snarky in some actors’ headshots. I understand that if you are wacky or quirky or snarky, you’ll want headshots that convey that, but let me get specific and try and explain why you risk standing out in the WRONG way, if you overdo it.

You already ARE wacky or quirky or snarky. Just like someone who is sexy or hot or stunningly gorgeous is all those things, naturally. You don’t have to *add* something to your shot in order to sell, “Hey! Look! In case you couldn’t tell already, I am GORGEOUS! So here’s a ton of makeup, a low-cut blouse, and a sultry pouty lip to be sure you see it.” We see it because it’s there, naturally. No need to indicate… just like in your acting.

For quirky, I understand the raised eyebrow. That’s fine. I get that. But when it’s a raised eyebrow *and* dark-rimmed glasses you don’t really wear *and* a puckered lip, it’s all too much. You may think it’s all helping you sell that one thing (whether it’s wackiness or quirkiness or snarkiness), but it’s actually doing TOO much. It’s trying too hard. So hard that we don’t see the quality you want us to see. We see the trying.

We don’t need the hat plus the suspenders plus the finger guns. We don’t need the bowtie plus the suspenders plus the wink. And we don’t need the head tilt plus the smirk plus the fake glasses.

If you’re in your headshot session and it starts getting all a little too much, you don’t have to stop the momentum, but you do need to shoot a few frames without as much of the trying going on. Think like Coco Chanel: Look at yourself and take off ONE quirk before the shutter snaps. That’ll do it.

So, before we head into the Your Turn for this week, let me ask you: How’s The 100-Day Challenge going for you? Are you hangin’ in there? Are you going strong? Are you sticking to your goals from March 4th? Are you staying plugged in with accountability so that you’re more likely to succeed? Let me hear from you! Your words may inspire others to keep at it. Let’s share. 🙂 Stay awesome!

Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!

Originally published by Actors Access at http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/001799.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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