Electronic submissions use smaller, thumbnail-sized images. It’s my understanding that casting people can then view a larger version. Should I have a few photos taken that are more suitable for that smaller thumbnail?

Here’s what’s important about that couple of inches of real estate you have, in the moment casting directors are clicking through online submissions: the image must be eye-catching (for all of the good reasons) and it must accurately represent you. I definitely recommend that you make an appointment to sit down with any of the online submission services’ personnel in order to get an inside glimpse of electronic casting from the casting director’s point of view. This will make it very easy for you to see which thumbnails “pop” and which ones are easily glanced-past.

Your decision-making process, in choosing what will be your primary photo on these online services, should definitely include how that image looks at thumbnail size. Since it’s likely that no one will click on a below-average, fuzzy, or “all about your backdrop” thumbnail, it’s important to make sure you present a thumbnail that begs to be clicked! You want casting directors to click on that thumbnail image and see the larger image, your resumé, additional photographs, your demo reel, and your list of special skills. Since that thumbnail image is what CDs will base their decision-to-click upon, you need a thumbnail that is sharp, cropped tight, and a true headshot (rather than a 3/4-shot or something that shows off lots of white space in a cool, stylistic choice).

While those other options are great for 8x10s, we’re not dealing with 8x10s in this online situation. Therefore, you should save that stylized, dramatic, or silly photo for non-electronic submissions. Your thumbnail image needs to be really clean and wonderful. Make me want to see more.

As for whether that means you need new photos taken specifically for the world of online submissions is really up to you, once you’ve taken a good hard look at your current photos. If some creative cropping would get you the perfect thumbnail, then there is no reason for a reshoot. But truly, the best way for you to get a handle on what makes a good thumbnail is to sit down with the folks who can show you what the CD-side interface is on these services. Once you browse your category from that side of the screen, you’ll KNOW what you need to do next.

As always, enjoy the process! I look forward to hearing back from you with your results.


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/000043.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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