Do you recognize YOU are the product you are selling?
If you choose to be a developing artist or performer in the business, are you aware of your product?
If you are making excuses, frustrated, and simply not focusing on what you are offering, or have to offer, then it's time to get your shit together NOW or find something else to do.
Is that harsh? I don't think so. Why? Because there are simply too many people saying they want to work in the business. There are way too many people given the number of jobs available. Why should someone hire you if you don't really know what you are doing or what you have to offer?
If you don't know the product you want to sell, and more importantly HAVE, then don't expect the business to figure that out for you.
GET TO WORK!
Several casting professionals have spoken to me over the last few weeks about the lack of understanding an actor/singer has when finding a great head shot to submit, and even the quality of a video or audio clip.
So let's talk about that shall we?
If you want to work, you have to be prepared. Two KEY ways to reveal yourself are through your head shot, and through your reel or clips.
Why are you not committed to making those things sizzle?
You don't have to sell a kidney or your first born to find a great head shot photographer. You DO have to do your research.
The research starts with you.
Again, I quote the great choreographer/director, George Faison: "What are you doing?"
(those of you who know or have worked with George know EXACTLY what I am talking about!)
Your head shot needs to reveal YOU. Who is that? It needs to look like you, and it needs to evoke an energy that draws the person looking at it to pause for a minute and take you in.
You need to know what you are evoking. You need to figure out what you are going to be called in for. You need to find a way of showing us that in a head shot through your EYES.
The set up of a photo can be spectacular but if the eyes aren't saying anything, then the head shot is thrown in the "no" pile and never looked at again.
What are you saying?
Figure it out!
An head shot is NOT artsy fartsy. A head shot is often the first thing a casting director or director sees and responds to or fails to respond to. How are you going to get the right kind of attention?
Know your product. YOU are the product. Do you know what you have and what you wish you had and do you know the difference? Wanting to reveal something that isn't there is not helping you.
What are you saying in that photo? What are your eyes saying? "I want you to call me in" isn't enough. So does everybody. Next...
What are your eyes saying about YOU?
You can't be ambiguous. You have to figure out who you are, why you are, what you are, and evoke that. Simplify.
What are you singing? What roles are you suited for vocally, dramatically?
Make a list of your repertoire. What does it suggest?
Make a list of possible "types" within your repertoire. Start to hone in on adjectives to evoke those types. Do those adjectives connect to your personal energy? Can you reveal a combination of those in how you look at the camera?
Vacant, scattered, disassociated and confusing head shots just don't sell a product. They dismiss it. Why take the time, energy and money to do a photo shoot if you ultimately don't know what you want to say?
Talk to photographers. Interview them. See how they respond to you and how you feel with them. Look at their portfolios. How are they capturing that energy?
And what about your reel? Do you have one? What are you making public on YouTube and can you actually use anything to submit with?
Again, with electronic submissions you need a reel. Period. You need clips of you doing what you say you do. Those clips need to reveal what you DO WELL. You would think that would be a no-brainer, but sadly, again, several casting professionals have told me recently that I wouldn't believe what is sent in for them to view and consider for a personal audition.
And I then quote my niece Ruby: "Seriously you guys?! SERIOUSLY?!"
If you don't know what is good enough or exceptional or is going to catch a CD's attention enough to listen to the full clip or want to hear more of you, then you have to figure that out. Sending out a poor video is worse than not submitting at all.
Commit to making a reel or recording a few short clips that show what your voice does well, and reveal the possibilities of what roles you would could be seen for!
YOU are the product. If you want somebody to stay interested, you have to have something to sell!
You need to sell your product CURRENTLY. CURRENT head shots. CURRENT clips be they audio or video.
If you believe you are continually evolving as an artist and performer, then you have to show that through your head shot and reel. What are you CURRENTLY evoking, revealing & discovering.
This is part of the business of show. This is part of how you market and produce your product for others to get a glimpse of.
Given that those you are sending these things to only have a second to make a decision, it has to be a strong glimpse, enough for them to take an extra second to pause, not to wonder what you are doing, but to be intrigued enough to call you in.
So no more excuses. Figure it out. Ask questions. Prepare for honest answers so you can get it together to package a strong, clear, concise and REAL product. YOU.
Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking.
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