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Acting School Monthly -- Should you be Getting a New Look?
August 17, 2010

Acting School Monthly Newsletter - Issue #019 - August 17th, 2010

Should you be Getting a New Look?


Here's the news from Acting School Stop, your one stop on the road to an acting career!

In this issue... We're talking makeover. Acting School Stop is getting a brand new look. If you feel you're not booking enough acting jobs, maybe it's time for a new look too. Read our exclusive article on better marketing yourself as an actor by finding your type and adjusting your look.

1) Article of the Month - Getting a Look that Markets your Type

Working on a new look for my website has reminded me of how important first impressions are. Any actor knows how crucial it is to make a good impression when they first walk in the audition room. In a few seconds, a casting director will form an opinion about an actor. They will notice if you look like your headshot or not, if you seem confident or nervous, and even more importantly… if you look like the role they have called you in for… which comes down to deciding what your type is.

That's when looks come in. Although studying your craft is the number one thing you should focus on when starting an acting career, if you're just not booking as many jobs as you think you should, maybe it's time to think about how your are marketing yourself as an actor.

Marketing for actors is a little different than traditional marketing. As a performer, you are both the product and the marketer, which can make things difficult. It's not easy to take a step back and really assess objectively what your strengths are and how you fit into the acting market. Performers can see themselves in a very different light than how others perceive them. For example, a character actor who only goes after leading roles is missing opportunities to book acting work by not understanding his type.

So how do you know your type?

Finding your type

First, browse casting notices, especially castings for paying film and television work, and read the character breakdowns. Write down all the different types of roles you come across that you think could possibly be right for you. Here's a quick overview of the most popular categories to get you started:

  • leading man / leading lady: usually very good-looking or has a lot of charm and charisma.
  • Villain: the typical antagonist, often with an edge. Has interesting, unique features.
  • Best friend types: cute, pretty, commercial look.
  • Character types: quirky, different.

This is not an extensive list of course. Depending on your age, there are many other types you can add (young mom, wise old man, etc.) There's also many types within each category. Think about genres. Maybe you're more of a romantic comedy lead type than a dramatic lead. Write down a short description for every type. It may help to pick a well-known actor or actress to represent each.

Once you're done with your list, go through it again asking these questions for each type you outlined:

- Do I look like this? (3 points for YES)

- Is my personality close to this type? (2 points for YES)

- Do I excel at this type of role? (1 point for YES)

See which type gets the most points. Ask the same questions from family and friends and see if you come up with the same answers. Also ask people who know you to describe you in one short sentence. It can really help you see what people think is unique about you.

Once you decide what actor type you are, you can design a very clear image of how to market yourself as an actor. Below are a few tips that can help.

Defining your Type

If you regularly browse through audition notices, you should be getting the hang of how casting people write character descriptions. This will help you write your own breakdown as if you were a character in a movie. Write your name down, followed by your age range and a brief description of your physical attributes, personality, drive and unique characteristics.

Now write a logline from your description – a brief sentence describing your exact type. For example, "I'm the lovable overweight best friend type in rom-coms" or "I'm the neurotic next door neighbor type in indies". You don't need to share your logline with anyone but it will help you target auditions and know what you want when you get headshots. More importantly, you will have a marketing angle when you meet acting agents and casting directors.

Working on your Look

Once you've defined your type as an actor, become pro-active about being the best possible choice for these types of roles. That means working on your acting, of course, but also on your look. It's not about changing who you are. It's about finding your type and committing to it fully so you can give yourself the best chances of success.

If you decide you're a leading man type, you will have to focus on getting your body in tip top shape for film and television roles. That's what successful actors do (if you've been working out consistently and want to take things to the next level, click Click Here! to learn training programs used by movie stars to transform their bodies.*)

If you're a leading lady type and feel you're not booking as much film and TV roles as you should, consider taking a class on applying makeup for the screen. Film and TV auditions are usually taped to see how you look on screen. The director is often not in the room for initial auditions and will only see what you look like on the tape, so applying your makeup to look your best on screen is important. When you get new headshots, do your makeup the same way you will at auditions, so you look the same on tape as you do on your acting picture.

If you think you'll be auditioning for a lot of villains, you may want to invest in a few wardrobe items that you feel fit the look, whether it's a leather jacket or suit or whatever fits your particular type of "bad guy". If you play a lot of tough guys, you'll definitely want to get at least one unshaven headshot look.

If you're a character actor not getting enough roles, maybe it's time for a change too. A new haircut or color can help you get just a little more quirky look you need to get more auditions (of course, don't make any big changes until you get new headshots!)

These are just a few examples of changes you can make to fit a type better. Have fun… and don't typecast yourself so much that you can't keep expanding your repertoire. Understanding type to market yourself as an actor shouldn't limit you - you should continue to expand your range in acting class and go to as many auditions as you can – but it's a great tool to build your resume and break into acting. As you get more recognition as a talented actor, the range of roles you are seriously considered for will grow!

(*ADP Action Star is one of our new affiliate partners. If you purchase this program, Acting School Stop will receive a small commission to help pay for the cost of maintaining this website and offering free information to actors. Our goal is to recommend only quality products and services that really help actors' careers.)

2) What's new on

We got a brand new look!

Please visit our new home page at

… and tell us what you think.

We're still working on it, so please forgive our appearance as we transition to a new cool 3 column look where you can find the information you're looking for faster and hopefully have a more fun and pleasant site-browsing experience.

3) A word of inspiration

"I'm not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be outworked. You may be more talented than me. You might be smarter than me. And you may be better looking than me. But if we get on a treadmill together you are going to get off first or I'm going to die. It's really that simple. I'm not going to be outworked." - Will Smith, actor.

If you enjoyed this newsletter and found its information valuable, feel free to forward it to a friend. If a friend forwarded this to you and you like what you read, please subscribe by by clicking here.

Comments? I'd love to hear from you. Just reply to this newsletter with your feedback and thoughts.

Good luck with your acting career!

Alex Swenson

Acting School

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