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Afridiziak’s resident blogger, Joseph Rowe, is a student at Birmingham School of Acting. In his first blog for Afridiziak’s Theatre News we learn about his experience of getting his professional actor headshots taken.

Off With Your Head

quotation marksActing requires you to become a blank canvas in which to add to. You have to know exactly who you are to be able to shed or gain particular traits when becoming someone else, equally there isn’t any place for ego on the stage if you are to be a generous actor.

In my case there was no longer room for insecurities and self doubt. Looking over the past two years of my training, not only was it a discovery of acting and many characters but also a discovery of myself.

So it’s now the end of my second year of training and I have the daunting task of getting my professional actor headshots taken. By now I feel I’ve grown in confidence, a few years older and wiser, loaded with infinite depth and knowledge of myself and acting blah, blah, blah. So why oh why am now forced to view myself as a product?

This is no exaggeration; I am not merely being, dramatic (hehehe an actor being dramatic). Anyway the advice I was given was to begin to consider how I want to sell myself, as an actor this picture was to be one of the most instrumental tools in starting my career. I couldn’t help but wonder whether all my training was all in vain, if a picture was the only thing that was going to get me through a door, but this is the nature of the industry I was about to enter, and thus a valuable lesson at this stage, as well an actors intellect it was clear to me now I needed to consider a level of business acumen.

Did I want to be viewed as attractive or unattractive, older or younger, innocent or worldly? The answer was none of them; my picture was to suggest all these possibilities. How???

I had a few sleepless nights picturing my face all screwed up as every little section tried to convey all my casting potential, all at the same time. By now I was a little confused to say the least, but a very good teacher of mine gave me some very good advice, ‘Be natural and be yourself, as long as there is thought and feeling behind the eyes you have your million dollar shot!’

I had overcomplicated the matter, the only way to make sure I was selling myself the best way was to just be myself, casting directors are paid to see our casting abilities from a our pictures so it was now clear that I should  leave the hard work to them. The last thing I want was for anyone to be confused when I walked through the door, there is no point in advertising a product that is not in stock, I just needed to have a true reflection of me.

So with all that in mind I promptly booked a photographer whose previous work I was fond of, went along and was completely myself.  I hate having my picture taken and I will be honest and admit it took a little longer than anticipated for me to relax but nonetheless I was very happy with the outcome.

Two hundred, shots later that have some how been whittled down to just four, I am set to face my final year. With three professionalproductions and a showcase for agents; it is going to be my toughest year yet and I am sure my biggestchallenges are in store. 

quotation marksMy summer has been full of anticipation and excitement. Finally I get to hit the stage, finally I get to put my hard work and training to practice, and finally I get to do what I have always wanted to do since I was a kid. I feel ready. And if it all goes horribly wrong, well, at least I have a good picture.

| tell a friend send to a friend | last edited Monday, January 19, 2009 1:02
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