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Ms. Bubbette

Dear Ms. Bubbette: How should Headshots be composed? • 13 year old wants to get into acting • A letter from the Netherlands • Recommendations for children's agent in Austin • Dallas actor needs agent, classes and or acting coach
by Ms. Bubbette

May 2002

Mrs. Bubbette:

Hello my name is Melody Beals. I am an 18 year old actress and singer. I was wondering what kind of head shots I would have to have. Am I supposed to be smiling? Are the pictures supposed to be without makeup? Do they have to be black and white? One last question, How many poses should I send off? Thank you for your time. The reason I don't know all of this is because I am just getting out of highschool, so I dont have any film experience. Stage only. thank you for your time, and I hope to hear from you soon!

Sincerely,
Melody Beals

Dear Melody,

First off, if you have an agent all these questions would be answered by them and you wouldn't go wrong in wasting money on worthless headshot styles as is so often the case with new actors. Agents do not cost you any money up front - not if they are legit. They get paid a percentage after they have gotten you work. So don't be afraid to ask around about agents and hook up with one if you are really serious about this business. The Texas Film Commission keeps a list of licensed agents you can trust. Call (512) 404-4562 and ask for a copy.

My second suggestion is to buy Mona Lee's BIZ DIRECTORY which has every resource an actor needs including 17 pages all about Headshots with wonderful examples of working Texas actors. Mona's ph: (512) 323-2090. If you haven't taken her workshops I would fully recommend those too.

Now to answer your question! And seeing it is such an important one - the headshot being every actors' #1 tool - I will try to cover each of your queries.
Headshots do have particular formats depending on what you are using them for. And they should be Black and white 8" x 10"

A COMMERCIAL HEADSHOT should be upbeat. That is, it should show energy, excitement, something that grabs the casting director's attention. Sparkling eyes, big smile, fashionable hairdo and clean make-up. It should just be the head and some shoulder. It should sizzle and make them want to hire you. Use Headshot photographers only- again these are listed in the BIZ. Places with names like "Glamor Shots" are not for actors! The photo should look just like you - not all glamored up! When you walk into that audition the CD should recognize you from your photo.

SERIOUS FILM HEADSHOT: is more serious - it's the 'deeper' you, a picture with a little mystery.
You should have both these types to send your agent.
There are many more styles you can investigate once you become an established actor. These are also shown in the BIZ.

When you get an agent they will require 30 or more shots on hand to send out out to Casting Directors every time they think you might fill the bill. Most actors have at least 100 shots printed at a time and the BIZ Directory will tell you where you can get quality prints in quantity for a very low price! Once the CD's get to know you they may ask for you personally, but always through your agent.

Remember - this is a business and having an agent makes you look professional. And so too does a good Headshot. You are marketing yourself so do not try to cut corners by using a friend to take your shots! Yes, it does happen and it stands out like a sore thumb! I have seen bad headshots end up in garbage cans, more often than not.

Good luck, Melody, in the movie world.
Sincerely,
Ms. Bubbette


Dear Ms. Bubbette,

I am a 13-year-old who is desperate to get into the acting business. I have
done local theatre work and had lead parts in a couple of them. How should I
get started?

Dear 13 year old,

Get yourself into some excellent acting classes first. Here are some Austin classes I highly recommend for young actors.
* Austin Musical Theatre (512) 292-9696 - Stage
* Brite Lites Acting Studio - Teen Classes (512) 459-1100 - Film acting
* State Theatre School of Acting (512) 472-3160 Film, Stage, Commercial acting
* Zachary Scott Theatre (512) 476-6378 - theatre
* Marco Perella (512) 869-0623 - film, commercial acting

Any of these teachers will tell you what to do next to further your career. You might read the previous letter too on Headshots. Every actor needs those if they are serious about the business.
And you can go back in Ms. Bubbette's archives and read the answers to other 'new actors' questions.

Once you get an agent, you will be submitted for roles that suit your personality and then the auditions should start happening.
You also need to go to Open Calls for movies - like they had for "Spy Kids", "Rookie", etc and have fun being an 'extra' on the sets. A great way to learn the ropes and work alongside some big stars! You even get paid and fed! And I have seen many an extra picked out by the director for a line, thus making them now a principal actor, with more money and a credit at the end of the movie. It's called "being in the right place at the right time!"

Good luck in your future acting.

Sincerely,
Ms. Bubbette


Dear Ms. Bubbette,
My 6 year old daughter has been offered contracts from Wilhelmina (LA) and Kim Dawson (Dallas - now expired). We live in Georgetown, but I have a job that has an office in LA and Austin and so I can really be either place. We would like to prepare my daughter for auditions and agent interviews and are looking for classes, private lessons or workshops for kids her age. (Preferably in the evening or on Saturdays.) We are going to spend a month in LA this Summer to meet some agents and go to auditions but we also would like to find a good agent in Austin. Can you recommend an agent that finds work for children more so than others? I am trying to learn as much as I can by reading your column and the Austin Actors.net site. My daughter seems to have something that agents like and she talks of nothing else. We, as her parents are trying to make the best decision for her by learning as much as we can. Thanks - S's mom

Dear S's Mom,

One Austin area agent I can highly recommend for young children is Liz Atherton - Ciao! Talents
And she's closer to you than any other agent, being out Lakeline Mall way. Her address is in Georgetown. Ph: (512) 930-9301. Or e-mail CiaoTalents@aol.com.
Website: www.ciaotalents@aol.com

If your daughter shows exceptional talent after taking some classes, it wouldn't hurt to touch base again with Kaye Lynn at Kim Dawson Agency, Inc. in Dallas. Ph: (214) 638-2446. That would cover two large cities then. If you get another agent in LA, that's fine too.

Excellent classes for young actors in Austin:

* Austin Musical Theatre (512) 292-9696 - Stage
* Brite Lites Acting Studio - Teen Classes (512) 459-1100 - Film acting
* State Theatre School of Acting (512) 472-3160 Film, Stage, Commercial acting
* Zachary Scott Theatre (512) 476-6378 - theatre
* Marco Perella (512) 869-0623 - film, commercial acting (also lives Georgetown way and would probably do private coaching!)

Lucky young 'S' having a Mom like you. I hope it all pans out. Good luck in LA with the auditions.

Sincerely,
Ms. Bubbette



Hello,

I'm a DAllas Actor. I'm 29 but I look like I'm barely old enough to drive a
car, much less work. My smile is my greatest asset, in fact most of the
opportunities I've gotten was because of my smile. I've always wanted to be
an actress since the age of 7 however, for a while my freelance writing
(poetry/ scripts) & music have taken up my time. Within the past two years
my love for acting has jumped back into full swing. It does get
discouraging. Believe it or not growing in SoCal as a teen (barely 40
minutes from Star Search) I didn't know about headshots, resumes, agents,
auditions. I've always been picked or referred to others by teachers etc. I
never really knew how to get into the business until I moved to Dallas in
1996. 

Corporate America really ties up your time and you get comfortable, yet restless. I'm at a point in my life where I really don't have any restrictions, but I've advanced so far into Corporate America that just going for it was hard. But if entertainment is in your blood, if it's who you are, you are never truly happy unless you're involved in it. Finally, I decided it's do or die, so the past two years I've been getting involved in actors group, networking, meeting people on the sets, researching, reading and learning from experience/ trial & error. I must say I've done pretty well in getting small speaking & non-speaking roles in video, film and stage without an AGent. Most of the parts I've gotten are younger roles which is okay for now, but I would like to steer more into action/ dramatic roles. I haven't done any professional training but know I need it. Is there a site or resource I can use to locate a private (reasonable rate) acting coach in Dallas County? I've run across a few of them but wanted someone with experience and their own contacts within the industry? Also what are some other avenues that I can take to perfect my craft as well as acquire and agent? Please advise & thanks in advance. 


kandie


Dear Kandie,

Even though you seem to have done moderately well without an agent, just think of all the other jobs you might have missed because of not having one. Casting directors work primarily through agents. They haven't got the time to call individuals. Having an agent handle you makes you come over more professional. If I were you I would find an agent as soon as possible.
Being able to play a person much younger than you really are is a plus - it's like a young person with a 29 year old brain. Get my drift? This gives you the advantage over less mature actors.

Also get into classes - not only are they fun and you get to meet other actors, it sure looks good on your resumé. One of the first things a casting director or director does is see how much training an actor has had. If that area on your resumé is lacking they are likely not to take you seriously. All trades have to be learned, practised and perfected. It is a business and you must do everything you can to sell yourself if you are really serious about being an actor. There are too many good teachers and coaches in Dallas for me to name so .... I have two suggestions for you. 1) Buy the BIZ Directory - see my letter to Melody up above. It will answer every question you have pertaining to Texas.
2) Join The Actors' Group in Dallas. They have loads of workshops going on continuously and private coaching. e-mail director@actorsgroup.com or call (214) 953-1400.
If you need to know more there is a Dallas/Ft. Worth Regional Film Commission you can contact. (972) 621-0400 or e-mail: film@ntc-dfw.org

I hope that helps you Kandie. See you in the movies....

Sincerely,
Ms. Bubbette

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