I posted a casting call on facebook recently for AreaFC, a TV series about to be made by my oga Emmanuel Uduma. It requested for a profile/resume and a headshot. While there was a lot of response particularly from young wanna-be actors, most didn’t understand what a headshot meant or even an actor resume. At first it was very funny, we saw all sorts from Instagram selfies to party photos. We made fun and laughed about them, we even insulted them until I realize, wait…the joke is on us. Why don’t we just show these young folks how it’s done once and for all. We keep telling them to “google it” as if na we put am for google. We might loose that good talent because we assumed he’s an idiot for not doing a good resume or headshot. So I decided this had to be my first post for actors.
Vicky Akujobi (Anthill’s Senior Editor) and Akay Ilozobhie (Anthill’s content writer/producer) agreed for me to use them for this tutorial.
So, Whats a Headshot?
Basically a headshot is almost like a passport photograph but shot with the intent to appeal to a casting director or producer. Meaning..you have to be fine but not too fine…pose a little…but not too much. Nobody wants to see you pout or look like mammywater. Here are some tips I know will give you good headshots.
- For females, minimal make up. If you look too hot and you Photoshop the photos and you now appear at the audition looking like chinko phone, that alone will annoy everyone and your performance won’t matter. A little make up is fine. No big eyelashes and juju mascara. The point is to look like you. But a fine you. For males…thank God all we need to do is comb our hair well. If your face is too oily, add small power and you are fine.
- Always do portrait. If you can’t afford a professional photographer (You should though except you really have no option or you are just too broke) You can use your phone…but biko, use a good phone…borrow your friend’s iphone or Samsung galaxy. Portraits look professional and you fill the frame. Also make sure you use a plain background as other stuff might be distracting. Plain colours like dark gray, deep blue or black are good choice because your skin will pop better on them. I couldn’t get a better background, but it still worked.
- If you are using a phone, my advice is to shoot outdoors with good light. Now most of your phone lenses are wide angle lenses. What this means is that if you move it too close to you, you will be slightly distorted and look ugly…which is why front camera selfies suck and we all look ugly skyping . In this example, Akay and Vicky were shot standing full frame and I cropped the photo to fit.
- For naija purposes, I’ll advice you Take two shots. A smiling one (for romance and comedy) and a serious but not frowny one (drama and juju…lol)
- Look at the camera always. Its like you are looking at the casting director. For females, a little cleavage won’t hurt…most males in the industry are ashawos…they will like it …lol.
- Do a little color correction if you can…most phones have good tools for this. Don’t overdo it and end up looking like a witch
Whats an Actor Profile/Resume?
It’s basically like any other resume. It’s just laziness that’s worrying all of you. An actor resume is a way to quickly give all the information about who you are, what you’ve done and other vital stats. That way, when they call you for an audition, it’s just to audition you. I am attaching two different templates here; one for a male and the other for a female. Feel free to download and re-use. After all I took it from the internet too and tweaked. But reuse with sense. Reminds me of how one yeye boy copied my Chemistry test in SS2 and copied my name with it…chai. By the way some of you still can’t use a computer…Chisos!…sha go to a business centre and have them do it for you.
Download these Microsoft Word files.
So lemme break it down especially for those who don’t have any experience at all.
This is the part where if you know you cant write good english, ask for help. Akay wrote this one for me…he is awesome. Make it simple and straightforward. Add a photo, that way the producers can easily remember you while reading your profile after the audition. For those who don’t have any experience, here a sample of what you might write “Lora Mason is a young talented individual with a burning passion for acting and has been in love with the craft ever since she was a little girl. While she is yet to debut professionally on stage or on screen, she has put together a series of impressive of performances in school plays as well as theater exercises. She is a raw talent willing to break her back in order achieve the director’s vision for the character. She is looking forward to her debut as a professional actor and can’t wait to show the industry, as well as the world, what she is capable of doing.”
This is probably the most important part of the resume: What have you done and when. I would advice that if there is a youtube trailer link or an IrokoTv/IbakaTv link to a film you’ve done, Add it to this part or add it in email. If you add it in the word document, they can quickly click on it since Microsoft word will highlight it blue. Please List your films from the latest to the earliest. For those of you who haven’t acted professionally, I’m sure you must have done some plays in school or even in church. Add it there…you can lie a little sef. its allowed…hehehe
Because some of you are only tall and slim in photos, its important that you give all your statistics in your resume. Some people still don’t know their height. you should never lie about your age. Its important to state age ranges you believe you can play.
Other bits include Contact details. Please add all the phone number you have. You can also add your Instagram and twitter handles. I love to check actors on social media a lot before deciding to use them so you cant afford to be social media illiterate.
While academic qualifications are good, they are not too compulsory, a diploma from film school is good advantage though and you should add it if you have one.
I want to advice all actors too to try record video monologues of themselves and put online and add the link when sending their resumes. you can get half of the work done that way. maybe i’ll do a video tutorial soon on creating fine monologue reels. I also think its time for some people in the IT industry to build platforms where we can have a huge database of actor profiles including headshots and reels. Is anyone thinking already. Go for it…the industry needs it now more than ever and you will even make money…Auditions are headaches.
So i hope next time you see a call to send your headshot and resume, you know what to do. And remember, if you do get called for a role after using these techniques, you owe me jollof rice.