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ActorsLIFE Podcast – Casting Call

ActorsLIFE Podcast – Casting Call

Anthony Farrimond

You wake up with your script still in your hand, you’re late for work, the bus didn’t show, halfway to work you notice you’re wearing odd socks and that you didn’t bring your lunch and then you realise it’s Sunday, not Monday. #Actorslife.

For a while now I have been toying with starting a Podcast. Why? I think they’re fantastic, easy to access and are an amazing way to tell a story. I haven’t started one until recently as I wanted to find the right topic.

Rewind two years to when I created a small blog called Actors LIFE. The concept was to publish stories from actors, about their route into their profession, their highs, lows, funny and sad moments.

It was a great experience but family demands and the fact that these interviews demanded a readers time to get through meant I couldn’t continue to grow it the way I wanted.

But I didn’t give up on the idea of telling stories.

ActorsLIFE lives on, with a twitter account devoted to promoting any Actors out there tagging or tweeting to the account and today I’m announcing plans to start a Podcast where the blog left off.

Read on if you are interested in being a part of the Actors LIFE Podcast.

What is the Actors LIFE Podcast?

The Actors LIFE Podcast will be a series of intimate interviews between myself and actors of all types and status, across the UK and possibly beyond.

You’ll sit with me for a portrait, during which we’ll talk about you, your life and how your experiences sculpted your journey into the industry. I’ll ask questions from the highs and lows of your career to giving advice to your past self and everything in between.

Leaving no stone unturned we’ll learn what this Actors LIFE actually is.

Be a Part of It

Would you like to be part of this series of interviews? Click the link below, tell me about yourself and let’s work together to create amazing stories!

Anthony is best known as a leading headshot and portrait photographer, working primarily with actors & businesses across the UK.

He’s a blogger, speaker, coach and advisor

Want some quick advice?

I regularly schedule calls to answer your questions, it all starts with a quick message from you.

What sets Anthony apart is that he really takes the time to understand exactly who you are as a performer, both by having a discussion before the shoot and constantly during the session.

Lucy Ivison

Children’s headshots, a complete guide for Parents

Children’s Headshots, a complete Guide for Parents

Anthony Farrimond

How can I get a great kid’s headshots for my child? I decided to create this guide, full of tips and advice because I get asked this question so often. For guidance on children’s headshots read on or jump to a section using the links below.

Over the last couple of years, you’ve seen your child grow. They’ve developed a passion for the performing arts, most likely through school and now they’re showing interest in learning new skills at specialist schools. Weekends and evenings are jam-packed with courses, classes, practising and it’s amazing to see how their creativity makes them so happy. But where is this all leading to? Pretty soon, if not already, they’ll be asked to audition for something with a professional production company. You’ll be asked to help them update their CV and get a professional headshot done. No matter their age or stage in their development, when it comes to working on a professional production whether that be a 2-minute commercial or as part of a chorus line on stage they’ll need to fulfil these basic requirements to be ‘seen’ I’ve put together everything you need to know about headshots into one useful guide with a hope that it helps you make the right choices when it comes to your child’s headshots. So exactly what is a headshot? It’s a lot of things, including but not limited to their look, acting type, playing age range and much more besides. Getting all of this info crammed into one single image can seem daunting, it can be but understanding what it is can make what is one of the most important photos of them, relatively easy to achieve. What’s the reward? Getting the headshot right can literally open doors and it works for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I’ve no doubt raised several questions so before we muddy the water any further, let’s break it down and figure out exactly what goes into a winning headshot.

A headshot is often the first thing that is considered when submitting yourself to agents or for castings.

What do you need a headshot for?

Your child’s headshot isn’t just there to accompany their CV, it has so many uses. Perhaps you have a website, you most certainly will use it for their online casting profiles etc. And of course, you’ll submit it to agents in the hope for representation. Their face is literally their brand and their headshot illustrates that for all the world to see.

What do I mean when I say ‘brand’? A brand is something that people find immediately recognisable, Your child’s headshot represents what’s on offer, like a poster advertising a product, when someone meets them for the first time, they should already have an understanding of what to expect. Their headshot will help them do this. So like many big brands, it’s useful to use their headshot in as many places as possible, connecting any online profiles to their social media and so on.

What does a casting director want from a headshot?

Similar to a passport photo, a headshot should look like your child. When a casting director looks at their headshot they want to see that it actually looks like them but more than that, they want to get a sense of how they might fit the role they are casting for. They will go through hundreds of submissions making it incredibly important that their headshot stands out, that if they had met them previously, they will immediately recognise them.

Casting directors will have something very specific in mind so it’s incredibly important, especially early on in their career, to establish the type of roles they want to go for. Your headshot will, at least in part, represent that. Paired with the right casting, this increases your chances of being picked out from the crowd.

What else should you consider? A casting director should get an idea of their age range from their headshot, their socioeconomic background (working class, upper class etc), an idea of their looks, what role(s) they would be best suited to and of course some indication of their personality.

When a casting director looks at their headshot they want to see that it actually looks like you but more than that, they want to get a sense of how you might fit the role they are casting for.

What makes a good headshot?

A good headshot should give us an idea of who they are as an actor and potentially which roles they are best suited to. They are unique and their headshot should show that.

Your child’s headshot should look like them but on a good day. They say that you should never judge a book by its cover, that’s true, however in this case the cover should look the best it possibly can but does that mean having a full makeover and the resulting images be retouched almost beyond recognition, no, and we’ll talk about that a little later on.

We can’t deny that the physical aspects of a headshot will be considered but there is a great deal of importance in what lies underneath, a good headshot will give us an opportunity to see that too. If you’re not sure what that means or unsure as to who they, the actor, are then it’s probably time you sat down with them and write it down.  A great exercise is to sit down and write down your best qualities as an actor, your parts of your personality that you want to associate with what you do and then ask your friends to do the same for you. This is your list of things you need from your headshot. Depending on their age, this might not be entirely practical but you get the idea!

What makes a bad headshot?

Think about the absolute worst scenario, you submit your child’s headshot to a casting, get accepted, travel all the way down to London only to be turned away because they look nothing like their headshot. That is pretty much the main thing that makes a headshot ‘bad’.

It can go horribly wrong elsewhere too, logos, crazy fabrics, distracting jewellery, backgrounds that take over the photo (like trees growing out of the back of your head) and far too much make-up.

The last thing you want a casting director or prospective agent to be thinking is, “what is this person wearing?” or “who on earth took this photo?”. If they are thinking that, they aren’t thinking of casting you or putting them on their books.

Be prepared – what to know before getting your headshots taken.

You’ve invested both time and money into getting your child’s headshots done, it’s important that you should be clear on what you want to get from their headshot session.

Preparing for their headshots isn’t just about getting a haircut and getting plenty of sleep, it also requires a great deal of thought as well. What will you use your headshots for? Which type will they play? What do they aspire to?

You should be able to answer all of these questions already, take inspiration from the styles of shows they like on Netflix. If they seem to be drawn to one particular style you should ensure that their headshots fit that tone.

You should also be thinking about the types of roles they wish to play also. The clothing choices you make should complement the look and feel of those roles they aspire to.

Preparing for your headshots isn’t just about getting a haircut and getting plenty of sleep, it also requires a great deal of thought as well.

What questions should I ask a headshot photographer?

These are the best questions to ask a headshot photographer:

 

  • Do you have a portfolio of your past work?
  • What are your rates?
  • What is included in your rate?
  • Do you shoot indoor or outdoor?
  • How many looks does your session include?
  • How long is a session?
  • Do you recommend anyone for makeup, hair, retouching?

What can I expect from a headshot photoshoot?

Headshot photoshoots last at least one hour and can go up to three hours.

You should bring their wardrobe changes with you. If you’re shooting outdoors, wear comfortable shoes, especially if you will be walking to different locations—your feet won’t show up in the shot. Your photographer will shoot them from various different angles.

You should expect your photographer to sit them down and go through what you’ve discussed prior to the shoot. This should help keep things fresh and help you relax before the shooting begins!

How can they relax during their headshot session?

This is where having a great rapport with your photographer is really important.

Being able to engage easily with the person taking your photograph will help you relax. Some photographers will even direct you.

It can be overwhelming having built up how important getting this headshot right is, but that shouldn’t make you feel nervous. The key to a great headshot is being relaxed, have fun! Let their personality shine through.

How often should I get new headshots taken?

They should get new headshots taken every one or two years, every 6 months to one year for children.

Any time they change their look, they need new headshots. If they get a considerable haircut, dye it a different colour, or if they gain/lose a significant amount of weight, they should also get new headshots.

Are their current headshots benefiting or hurting their career. Are they getting positive feedback on them? Or are they getting called in less because their headshot doesn’t look like them?

How do I pick the right headshot?

To pick the right headshot, ask your family, friends and other actors, for advice.

Your photographer should send you a link to an online gallery of your images from their shoot. Ask people to take a look through the gallery and pick their favourites. Ask them to give you feedback on the styles or roles they come across as in them, how does this compare to that list you thought of prior to their shoot?

It can be a difficult thing, looking at row upon row of images but keep a clear mind and focus on the importance of this headshot and what it will do for them over the coming months.

Has this left you with more questions?

It’s a daunting thing arranging headshots and the compulsion is to go with the first person recommended. Apply the same process you would when making a significant purchase. A headshot isn’t a house or a car but done right is incredibly valuable. Get in touch if you have any questions at all or want to discuss this further!

Anthony is best known as a leading headshot and portrait photographer, working primarily with actors & businesses across the UK.

He’s a blogger, speaker, coach and advisor

Want some quick advice?

I regularly schedule calls to answer your questions, it all starts with a quick message from you.

What sets Anthony apart is that he really takes the time to understand exactly who you are as a performer, both by having a discussion before the shoot and constantly during the session.

Lucy Ivison

What should you expect from your actor’s headshot session

What You should expect from Your Actors Headshot Session

Anthony Farrimond

I know how hard you’re working. You’re ambitious and full of determination most days but then some days leave you full of doubt and resistance.

I’m pretty passionate about what I do too and as a creative, I’m on that rollercoaster with you. You know how brilliantly you do what you do and want the world to know that too. Your image is mega important to you and its got to be right.

You want a set of images that reflect you to a tee. You want them to show just how dynamic and fresh you are and you want them to help you stand head and shoulders above your competition because that’s exactly where you deserve to be.

I won’t pick up my camera until I’ve had a chance to get to know you and your career and what you want to project to the world. You can tell me all about it over the phone / video and we can geek out over theatre and films, and training for a bit. We’ll chat about ideas for your shoot and you don’t have to worry if you don’t have any cause you can bet I’ll have loads!

And as for feeling awkward and embarrassed in front of the camera… There won’t be time for that cause I pretty much never stop telling you exactly what to do and showing you exactly how to do it. You can have a good laugh at me showing you how to ‘work that shoulder’ (just wait till you learn that little trick!). You will be stunned and amazed at how much fun you and will have taking photographs. 

Anthony is best known as a leading headshot and portrait photographer, working primarily with actors & businesses across the UK.

He’s a blogger, speaker, coach and advisor

Want some quick advice?

I regularly schedule calls to answer your questions, it all starts with a quick message from you.

What sets Anthony apart is that he really takes the time to understand exactly who you are as a performer, both by having a discussion before the shoot and constantly during the session.

Lucy Ivison

6 Top Headshot tips that will improve your image

6 Top Headshot Tips that will Improve your Image

Anthony Farrimond

Over the years I have tried and tested numerous techniques and worked with hundreds of clients to achieve the look that was best for them, tailoring my coaching style to suit them however no matter the client, commission or type of lighting I use the following tips have remained a constant. Whether you are about to have your headshot taken or you are a photographer about to embark on one of your first sessions, hopefully, some if not all of these tips will help!

1. Give yourself a head start

You’ve planned for your headshot session, exchanging calls and email, you’ve arranged a date and a time but you need to make sure you give yourself the best possible chance for a great photo session.

Know what you need on the day, what you are going to wear, samples of previous headshots, for example, should all be ready in advance so you’re not rushing around.  Also, get to know you, get comfortable with your face and what you can do with it, practising expression technique in front of a mirror is especially useful.  Having your photograph taken in this way isn’t necessarily natural, so try to remove all the possible sources of stress to help relax you on the day.

Finally, the most important thing is you! Refrain from alcohol and start to drink plenty of water at least three days beforehand and get plenty of sleep the evening before.

 

2. Less is more

Your headshot should look like you on a good day. Although we all want to look our best for photographs, if we go to the effort that we may go-to for a special occasion, such as getting a new hair cut or a makeover, we will look nothing like our headshot when it comes to meeting the person it is meant for. The casting director, interview panel or new client may not recognise you when meeting them for the first time.

Men should be clean-shaven or neatly trimmed, check to see if there are facilities at the studio to shave to give you multiple looks. For women, light makeup as a concealer is acceptable, you can always add to your look once you are at your session. If you can wear your hair either up or down, bring some clips or scrunchies along on the day.

 

3. What to wear

Don’t try to overthink this, like everything else in preparation for your headshot session, keep it simple but remember to avoid certain things. Plain colours that complement your skin tone or hair are a safe bet, the stock black or white shirt, T-shirt, blouse or vest will suffice too.

In my headshot sessions, there is usually time to change at least three times so take a few options. Ladies should note that although varying necklines is a great advantage and I’d highly recommend bringing different style tops, you shouldn’t wear anything with a plunging neckline as it will prove to be more of a distraction than it will flattering!

Finally, if you are in despair and end up packing your entire wardrobe to your shoot, just leave out anything with a crazy pattern, recognisable logo or bright garish colour. Your photographer will help you choose what suits your images best on the day!

 

4. Explore your range

Although this tip is especially important for actors, it can be used for anyone posing for their photograph, just think about who your target audience is. Every casting you go to is different and to that end, you should explore your range during the shoot to give you even more variety to choose from.

An example of range could be having a fun, smiling portrait, great for commercial work and a serious, dramatic look for a theatrical role. Be honest in whatever you do, anything overly posed or too extreme won’t look genuine.

 

5. Choosing your headshot

You are your own worst critic so when choosing your images from the photo session it’s always a good idea to get other people’s opinion. Before you ask a relative or partner do be mindful, friends and family will naturally go for the big happy smiley photographs of you without considering what you will be using your images for. Ask others in the industry not partners or family members, other actors or your agent if you are an actor yourself, colleges or trusted clients if you are having some corporate images done.

Finally, try to see beyond the overall look of your proofs, that’s all they are – images straight out of the camera with no work done to them as yet. Final editing will correct any problems such as it being a little dark or light, retouching unexpected blemishes can be done too, I always ask my clients to point out minor things they’d like to remove but I always advise against removing things like laughter lines or wrinkles.

 

6. Preparing for web, print and email

Check with your photographer as to how you will be receiving your final images, the dimensions or resolution of each photograph will affect the size of the file. For example, you wouldn’t send a casting agent a high-resolution file on email, if it doesn’t fail to send it’ll block up their inbox – not the best first impression!

The resolution you’d use for email will be suitable for your social media accounts too but you should know that sites such as Twitter reduce the resolution of anything you upload significantly, so expect some loss in clarity.

If you are having your image printed, speak to your photographer, again checking the resolution and depending on where you are getting it printed its colour profile. Ideally, you should consider getting your photographer to arrange to print for you, they will have access to professional printers and will be able to provide you with a high-quality finish, much better than that off the high street. If you do decide to print with a high street store, you will most likely be asked to provide a limited print release; this is simply a signed statement from your photographer allowing you rights to reproduce the photographs.

That’s it! Hopefully you’ll find some if not all of the above useful, no matter the type of photo session you are about to have. If you’d like to know more or see what other people’s opinions are, why not join the conversation below!

Anthony is best known as a leading headshot and portrait photographer, working primarily with actors & businesses across the UK.

He’s a blogger, speaker, coach and advisor

Want some quick advice?

I regularly schedule calls to answer your questions, it all starts with a quick message from you.

Anthony is an extremely talented photographer, with lots of experience and knowledge.

Sam Rose

My secret recipe for the Perfect Headshot

My Secret Recipe for the Perfect Headshot

Anthony Farrimond

I believe everyone should have the best possible chance at creating a winning headshot, which is why I coach my clients from the moment we book, right through to the end of their session. The whole process starts with one simple statement that I ask everyone to answer before we start to plan our session.

“I would hire (me), if I were looking for (…)”

Unless you know the answer to that statement, how can you be sure it’s what you will project in your headshots? This is where my whole process starts and once you know what ‘type’ you are we add my recipe for a successful session.

1. Add a good helping of Honesty

Your expression should be real, so we start by finding your neutral point and do small variations around that. Expression should be effortless, trying too hard can come across fake, or overzealous neither are qualities of a professional actor that has the skills and experience to deliver a believable performance.

I like to keep backgrounds simple this is to reduce the look of it being too much like a photo shoot. This, together with how I use light during a session produces a look like a still taken whilst on set.

Finally retouching is light, removing anything temporary like spots, a nik from shaving or something that would be removed with make up whilst on set.

2. Fold your ingredients Effortlessly

Once you have a grasp of your natural expression we find a rhythm and make small changes, by the end of the session you’re doing this without thinking.

We try to capture your image as if you are on set (a production still). These shots are invariably captured whilst you are working and you don’t really think too much about it at the time. In these images you’re not trying too hard in front of the camera and so it looks natural and effortless.

It’s plausible that the image wasn’t taken from an actual headshot session. This is what we hope to achieve during the session.

3. Finish with a Personal touch

It’s very important that you bring something into the shot, something of you that we can identify with, this will be different for everyone.

Perhaps its your charm or wit, your fragility, gravitas or warmth.

There’s no room for bland, safe, neutral headshots in this industry. They should be something that makes you stand out, competitive and should always relate to my initial question – ‘I would hire (me) if I were looking for a (…)’.

Anthony is best known as a leading headshot and portrait photographer, working primarily with actors & businesses across the UK.

He’s a blogger, speaker, coach and advisor

Want some quick advice?

I regularly schedule calls to answer your questions, it all starts with a quick message from you.

Anthony gets to know you so that the shoot is tailored to your needs. I’d recommend him to anyone and will definitely be using him again in future.

Chris O'Donaghue

An Actors Life

An Actors Life

Anthony Farrimond

You are a creative, on a wonderful journey. The life of an actor sounds like a wonderfully romantic and glamorous one but perhaps it’s often misunderstood.

My personal journey as a creative (in my case a photographer) has been one of ups and downs. And although I am wiser, more skillful and  greater experience, I am still learning. The way my friends, family and peers think what I do can be vastly different to reality but there have been times that I’ve come see what I do based on their opinion. I’ve fallen into the trap of believing ‘them’ that I’m an amazing photographer, that I take wonderful photographs however despite being in a great place creatively now, that has not always been the case.

I have found it invaluable to surround myself with like minded people, to ground me. Having conversations, sharing experiences and learning with people who are doing or have done ‘it’ has been enlightening and has truly helped me to grow as an artist.

So what is this actors life like that everyone refers too? Is it just a flippant way of giving explaining why sometimes things go wrong or an all encompassing phrase that allows us to communicate a shared understanding of the many different elements that define what it is to be an actor?

It’s not easy, effortless or glamourous, it’s hard work

When you tell someone that you are an actor you often get greeted with “wow that’s awesome, have you met anyone famous?” or “it must be great to do something you love and not have to answer to anybody at work!”

While either of those scenarios are attractive propositions the reality is that you’ve probably done plenty of work but nothing that your friends or family can relate to. It takes a lot of hard work to get that kind of recognition, long days, often working a full time job supporting you while you meeting agents, go to open castings and call backs. You are always learning too, going to coaching sessions, training, keeping fit at the gym and of course watching as many shows or films as humanly possible.  At some point you’ll find time to grab some lunch.

The reality is that you’ve probably done plenty of work but nothing that your friends or family can relate to.

There are a lot more opportunities out there than we collectively realise

The perception that we are a billion people competition for a handful of jobs – this perception is totally false. It’s important to understand that not everyone is trying to do the same thing, consider how many photographers there are just in Yorkshire alone. Thousands! In most cases those 1000+ will specialise, there will be wedding photographers, portrait photographers, pet photographers and of course, headshot photographers. Yes, there are a lot of people trying to do what you do but that’s not necessarily a bad thing!

When you increase the number of actors you inherently increase the diversity of talent available. The range of theatrical, television and film production is significantly better than that of 20 years ago, this is largely due to the size and diversity of the creatives working on it.

We look to a few famous people and set them as a standard of success

Don’t get hung up on the idea of making it. It can be something you try and run after but never get to. It’s not realistic and its not healthy to idolise people. The path to success is so varied and what that looks like when you get there vastly different that to try and copy it will only lead to the inevitable.

Equally, don’t look at other people and think you have failed. It’s easy to look at someone else and think that they are so lucky to have the role dropped on their lap and at such an early point in their career but the reality is that person has the same fears and anxieties as you. They’ve had to train and work just as hard as anyone else.

The saying that when opportunity knocks you should be ready to answer couldn’t be more true. We don’t know when it will happen so instead of wishing it to happen, you should work towards making it happen.

If you haven’t done so already, set goals. Understand what success means to you but break it down into smaller wins

Think about making it every day a success, not a desitination but rather a process you do every day.

It may have been several months or even years since you last worked, perhaps you are coming back to your career after having a family. You’re worried that you aren’t as successful as you hoped but whether you are starting out or trying to get back to where you left off, it’s like standing at the foot of a mountain and not knowing how tall it is, an impossible mission to get to the top. It’s better to put one foot in front of the other and each day celebrate getting a little bit higher.

If you haven’t done so already, set goals. Understand what success means to you but break it down into smaller wins. Once you have your goals, you’ll be able to decide on what it is you need to do to get there. If like me, it can be difficult to focus or get started, check out my article : 5 TIPS ON GETTING ORGANISED

Join a community of fellow actors

Right at the top of this article I talked about how I ensured I had the right support to help me on my creative journey. Being part of a community, one that allows you to vent your frustrations in a safe environment or to pass on what you have learnt to others is incredibly inportant.

I started ActorsLife which is a Facebook group with a small difference. Although members often share opportunities, it’s also a great place to share your experiences and ask for support. The group is 600+ strong at the time of this article and is moderated and free from adertisers. So what are you waiting for?

Anthony is best known as a leading headshot and portrait photographer, working primarily with actors & businesses across the UK.

He’s a blogger, speaker, coach and advisor

Want some quick advice?

I regularly schedule calls to answer your questions, it all starts with a quick message from you.

What sets Anthony apart is that he really takes the time to understand exactly who you are as a performer, both by having a discussion before the shoot and constantly during the session.

Lucy Ivison

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