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Austin Actors
Desiree Williams

Head Shots = Opportunity
by Desiree Williams

June 2000

There are a few things in this business that most people automatically know. Everyone knows that you must have a resume on hand at all times, and your head shot must give you justice in every way. At a class I took a few weeks ago, the acting coach/casting director (that knows just about everything) said "Now people, don’t you own a car? Put 25-head shots/ resumes in your trunk and leave them there!" You never know when you’ll be having coffee at Starbucks when someone important from the set of Miss Congeniality or Spy Kids walks in, there was your chance to slip them a resume!! Believe me, I’m not shy about handing them out, and with all the time and effort you put into networking, studying and shelling out the bucks, neither should you.

Now we come to another issue; getting the killer head shot. If you are completely dedicated to your "craft", chances are you already have an agent. Your agent obviously believes in you or they wouldn’t have decided to represent you, right? Remember that’s their name your riding on. Believing in you or not, that doesn’t matter to a casting director. The only thing they’ll do before agreeing to an audition is taking a two second glance at your picture to get you in the door. I will say from experience, your photo has to Rock!! Close, clear and of all it better look like you. If your headshot was taken two years ago, with long hair, and 20 lbs. less in the mid- drift, and you walk in not even resembling that person, not only have you taken the spot of another struggling actor they didn’t have time to audition, but you have made a fool of yourself as well.

Finding a good photographer can be very tricky, especially when it matters so much. You should find one who knows the business and what a head shot should look like. You need to be comfortable and be able to trust that person’s work. Your first impression is relying on that photographer’s representation. There are a lot of great photographers here in Austin, and you should not have to pay an arm and a leg for their service.

I would like to recommend a photographer here in Austin by the name of David Korkan at Pennylane Digital Studios. The quality of his work is untouchable! He takes approximately 35 photos, at the end of the photo shoot, you sit down in his office, and together you will go through every shot, one- by -one on a computer. David’s studio is high tech, meaning digital (that scares some people) so he has the equipment to remove that blemish that snuck up, hair that has a fly away or he can even darken a beauty mark! At the end of your photo shoot, he burns every photo to a CD for your computer, you’ll leave with 20-25 solid takes. Those are as good as any old negative. You walk out having spent less than $95.00 and are holding the original 8X10 picture to have reproduced. Its that easy. The power of technology!! Check out his website www.pennylanedigital.com

When your making a thousand dollars a day, then take $350.00 or more for a sitting fee, fly to NY and have them shot there. For now, pinch your pennies, find someone good but reasonable. No one cares about a logo or a brand name on the cover.

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