A rant about actor’s headshots

June 29, 2015

Hope you enjoyed this video with Mark Wahlberg and Jimmy Fallon that has nothing to do with actor’s headshots but was quite funny to watch. Equally, I believe that some actor agents, not all and not most, just a few, shouldn’t be involved in the headshot business either.

Recently, I had an actor who is an incredibly nice guy, with a persona of villain. He has been a villain in many productions and understands the role value for him – to play a villain. We discussed and understood his chance’s of getting casted as a villain vs other roles.

Wouldn’t you agree that if he is being casted as a villain we should illustrate it in his headshots? My client and I understood it so we spoke about his persona in a play… He became a psychopath during the session and it was powerful. I was amazed by his headshot, certainly he could fit 50% all movies being played right now… Wow, what an outstanding headshot, one didn’t need imagination to know how he would look like in the big screen.Jack Nicholson for Rolling Stones

His agent on the other hand, didn’t understand it herself. She wanted a re-shoot where he would look “nicer”. Reluctantly, I obliged and photographed him smiling, with caky pants a blue shirt and a red tie. But went ahead and touched up his previous headshot and requested my client to experiment the results.

The nice guy headshot by me and by the next photographer had landed him 0% roles, his new headshot has a 100% results, while my nice guy headshot and the other photographer’s nice guy headshot has zero roles from the same person.

Why would agents not value their talent?  Why would one person take a road race car off roading, buy a boat and expect it to fly?  My client will soon be a household recognized actor and will be able to play a nice guy role if he wants, now that he is famous – but would never have been recognized had he tried the other way around.

A few years ago an actress asked me if she could go for a session and deliberately take advantage of my discretionary guarantee because her agent wanted her hair dyed blonde instead of red. Her agent had asked her to dye her hair blonde to improve casting calls. I agreed and photographed her, with red hair and scheduled a future appointment.

She called me a few weeks later to tell me that her new headshot landed her a role in television production and she will not be dying her hair but will fire the agent, instead.

References;

US Magazine article June 26, 15 US Magazine Article on Mahleg’s and Jimmy Fallon episode

Rolling Stone Magazine November 27, 14 headshot of Jack Nicholson, Rolling Stone Headshot of Jack Nicholson