You know what a slate shot is, don’t you? A SlateShot is a 7-second video you can upload to Actors Access that shows casting directors how you look and sound! That’s genius! It’s great for casting directors and it’s great for you, too.
If you’re already booked for a actor’s headshot shot, we can add on a professionally produced slate shot for just $25. That’s an online proofing gallery, three retouched images, and a slate shot for just $275. Think of how you’ll be seen! You’ll have everything you need to get the auditions you want. Oh, you need to bring your own talent. But you knew that already…
I wanted to update my headshot photography postcard to reflect some of the work I’ve been doing lately. A couple of the headshots were taken in November, three were taken in February, and one was taken last Friday. So really fresh! What I like about this card, first of all, are the expressions on these young actors. I like the full smiles, the half smiles, the no smiles. I also like the color tones. Everything is beige, blue, brown and black. I think it makes it look really clean. The thing is? Happy accident. I guess if I had seen someone in, say, a green jacket, I might have noticed it stood out. But all the colors meld together and it looks very soothing. Anyway, just a short little post to show off my new postcard.
Oh, the actors? Danielle Stritmatter, Joshua Chang, Arthur Bizgu, Gabriella Nejman, Marcus Ajose and Isabel Macmaster. Good luck, you all!
One of my rituals, if you can call it that, is to show my acting clients a 9-second video of Tyra Banks and how she “smizes.”
Tyra, of course, is an internationally famous model (“America’s Next Top Model”) and teaches others how to model as well. There is one clip floating on YouTube in which she shows how to “smile with your eyes.” The difference of her before smizing and after smizing is so pronounced that my actors get it immediately. I always say you can’t just sit there for a headshot, you have to let energy come through your face and energy sure pours through when Tyra smizes.
And that point about not sitting there is important. You have to connect with the lens as if it is the person you are communicating with who will get you an audition. The famous headshot photographer Peter Hurley shows his clients a book with a headshot of Brad Pitt at the beginning of his career. His face is pleasant if not bland. Bland? Let’s just call it blank. There’s nothing there of interest. No there there, to quote what Gertrude Stein famously said about Oakland.
Peter says that early on in Brad’s career, a photographer taught him “the squint.” It immediately put interest into his face. Like he was a man with a past you wanted to pry out of him. Now, in almost every photo in which Brad is aware he’s being photographed, whether for publicty, editorial or a red-carpet event, you’ll see that squint. George Clooney does it. Just take a look at photos that you can connect with and you’ll see that energy.
In my latest headshot shoot, lovely Gabriella came in. I showed her the smize video and she loved it. She could really see “it.” So we took a lot of different looks. We were going after these types: student, young mother and young professional. The picture I’m including here just has something about it. There’s interest. I feel that girl has a secret. And I’m going to get it out of her.
My “studio,” if you will, is my back yard. I set up backdrops, lights, a light tent… all to get natural light mixed with a pop of light to make the color more intense. The posing stool is an apple crate. Not just an apple box that was once filled with apples but a crate made specifically for studios because they’ll take a lot of weight and you can use them for a million different things. Yesterday was a magnificent day in Los Angeles… sky so blue it hurts the eyes… warm, in the 70s… no real wind to speak of.
So I was joined by seven acting students for what was for most of them their first headshots. It was so much fun. We shot for about five hours and got in at least a couple of looks for everyone. It was a convivial atmosphere because they all know each other. And I got them out in time for the Super Bowl, if they were so inclined to see it.
Here’s a selection of the shoot:
Mirela needed new headshots. The ones she had, she said, made her look like a villain. And she doesn’t feel like a villain. So even though we aren’t taking portraits, she wanted to show her softer side, the way she feels inside. And she hopes that will show agents and casting directors her true nature.
In all fairness, it wasn’t quite that she looked like a villain. The headshots just didn’t look like her.
The fabulous Edward Jimenez was the makeup and hair stylist on this shoot and he nailed it.
Mirela was very happy with her headshots. One message I got from her: “Thank you very much.. I am going to print my great great great headshotssss nowwww!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am very very happy!!!”
She is so sweet. Not a villain at all.
My friend Aaron Lustig, who has been a hard working actor in Hollywood for years, also teaches at the venerable Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute where he coaches young actors at the beginning of their careers. I listened to one of his lectures to a new group of students… I actually shot that first lecture… and then we took the highlights of that class and filmed those as an interview at his house in a more casual setting. (What? You didn’t know I did video? Check out Curious Cat Productions)
Aaron’s video is one of our longer ones at just under four minutes but Aaron details everything aspiring actors need to set off at the beginning of their journeys. His first piece of advice — which is key — is you must have desire, will and passion. “If you don’t want to do this 125 percent, then you shouldn’t be doing it at all,” he says. “That’s true with everything in life. Don’t do it half-assed.”
Actors also need training, headshots, a demo reel, and they need to market themselves. He names Actors Access and L.A. Casting as two of the industry standard sites to which actors can upload their headshots.
Aaron’s advice is invaluable because he’s been in the trenches. He knows the ins and outs of the auditioning process, how to get an agent, and he knows what kind of attitude you need to make it in the business. Hint: A good one. A very good one. He has funny stories about how his own lack of preparation ended up having his role recast by a more prepared actor.
Just in case you need to be reminded of Aaron’s credits, check out his profile on IMDb. And if you need a private coach, he’s available.
And oh yeah, his headshot… I took that. Come get yours! Call me, 818.481.5214, or email me at diana @ dianalundin.com and check out my headshots at Diana Lundin Headshots.
I had such a great session yesterday with Sean Patrick, an actor and musician, at his home in Hollywood. He literally lives one block away from Hollywood Boulevard, a street that is so familiar to anyone who has ever turned on a television in the last 40 years. We took the first series of headshots at the front of the building he lives in. On the porch, actually. We moved around a bit and he changed clothing, shaved, wore his glasses, didn’t wear his glasses, just a variety.
Then we moved across the street for a more urban look. Sean put on a suit, no tie, and the series of shots we took there made him look like a detective on Hollywood’s mean streets. We had such a range by the time the session was over… dad, “hooligan” (who could definitely get a role on “Game of Thrones” if only he had an English accent), computer geek, middle-aged professional, and then police officer-lawyer-doctor.
Know your character types and have your headshots reflect it.