Skip a good head shot..Get a GREAT head shot!

On June 7, 2011, in Blog, by admin
I have had all sorts of head shots during my 17 years in the business (Yikes!).  Sexy (so it thought) looking, sultry, conservative looking, mommy…You name it!  All of them were good pictures of me, but only a few were GREAT.

What makes a Great head shot?
Let me Count the Ways
The picture actually looks like you!
This may sound silly, but you would be surprised at how many people have their features “erased magically”, taking away that which is uniquely theirs.  No I don’t like having crow’s feet around my eyes, but they are mine!  Matter of fact, I was hired for a beauty product that netted me six figures for an 8 hour day of work.  I LOVE MY CROW’S FEET.
Your eyes tell a story
Have you ever seen someone staring off into space?  Their eyes have a vacant look. Since the camera captures everything, it will also capture the fact that you are not thinking of “your story”.  What’s my story? I generally book work as a mom or someone of authority ( trust me people, I know a lot about lactose Basilius), so when I have my head shots taken, I am ALWAYS thinking about how I look at my children.  Soft, smiley, warm and inviting.
An agent once told me that the reason Theatrical head shots are without smiles, is because they do not want the casting director, director or producers to have a preconceived notion about an actor.  An uber-bubbly child can still handle playing a character that is scared, but if the picture shows lil’ Mister Bubbly….. You get my drift.
Shoot head shots with the intention of capturing ONE great image NOT six good images!
It took me a long time to realize, like children, we adults fatigue quickly in front of the camera.  All of the pent up emotional energy we’re holding onto during the shoot is down right tiring.  Parents standing behind the photographer yelling, “Smile Johnny”.  Adults feeling insecure about not being able to see our images while we are shooting.  It’s enough to throw anyone off their game.
TAKE THE PRESSURE OFF and go for ONE GREAT SHOT.
Shoot one or two looks per photo shoot, not 5 +!
Photographers make their money by offering their skills and abilities. Many of them will offer 3,4 or 5 or more looks for a steal of a price because they are reserving their time for you, and once you are shooting and in a “groove”, a couple more looks doesn’t take very long.  When you order medium french fries, aren’t you always tempted to super size them?  The same psychology holds true for head shots.

I tested my theory at the beginning of the year.  I shot with a photographer that offered my SIX looks for $500 + $175 for make up.  Way out of my price comfort zone ( remember, I am married to a photographer!) and my ability to stay focused.  But I took one for the Commercial Mommy Team and shot with her.  End result?  I spent a total of $800 (proof book, 4×6 prints) and did not use ONE of the images!  To add insult to injury, the photographer dropped her price in half 2 weeks later!
For the past few years I’ve only done one look photo shoots to give my agent a new shot or two every few months.
It has worked like a charm!

TO BE CONTINUED!


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PHOTO SHOOT WINNER! COLIE!!!

On June 3, 2011, in Blog, by admin

After assigning everyone a number and pulling from a hat…..WE HAVE A WINNER!!!!


COLIE is the commercialmommy.com WINNER! I will have another drawing soon, giving away my *soon not to be so secret* audition tips!  Stay tuned, everyone will have another chance to win!



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A few weeks ago, one of my children had a multi-day booking. Yay was my first reaction. She was hired by a cool new director who is represented by a huge production company. Why is that important? Because producers remember good talent, and will invariably bring you back for other directors.

Anyway, I learned something profound about myself during these shoot days. I realized that when I arrive to set, I have a mindset that all things will go according to “plan”. Hmm, what plan? Whose plan? From the moment of the wardrobe fitting, I felt uncomfortable. My child was not given one of the “main”costumes to try on, rather,they gave the all black outfit for the “behind the scenes action”. I could feel myself winding up, feeling neurotic. Is it possible that my child had an audition, callback and a fitting, all to be downgraded to an extra?!?!? My emotions were all over the place. If that were to happen, my child would only earn about $600/day! That, in my mind, was not enough to occupy 3 of her days AND 3 of mine!

Fast forward to the end of day 1. I had worked myself into a tizzy, looking at the shot list to see where my child landed. I even saw that mine was slated to wear the outfit where the face was hidden!

I couldn’t get any more wound up when I realized three things:

1. We are where we are supposed to be
2. It’s not that deep
3. I am surrounded by wonderful people that I could get to know

So, at that moment, I shifted my paradigm, grabbed a popsicle and relaxed. I visibly eased up and began to have a great time. On my way to craft services, (yes…I snacked my way thru the day) I bumped into the director and had a chance to chat with him about his work. VERY COOL. And when it was all said and done, I met some very cool parents, my child made new friends, AND ended up wearing a cool costume to shoot the closing scene of the commercial!

Funny how the universe works! After feeling all of those emotions, I realized that I needed to reconfigure the “plan”, flip what I expect.

The next shoot, which was right around the corner gave me an opportunity to do differently…And I did!

I decided to EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED…….
and I was pleasantly surprised!

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It’s common knowledge that my children and I make our living as commercial actors (my children also like to remind me that they have evolved me by moving into television and film), so it makes sense that I receive emails…daily, from current and former clients asking me: “How much will my son make on the commercial he booked today?”.  Let me give you the short answer:  As little as $0 as much as six figures.  
I swear I am not trying to be a smart Alec!  
The truth is that the industry has changed…in a major way!  
“Back in the day” (even 3 years ago), you could easily count on a commercial running on cable and having a healthy national network run (NBC, CBS, ABC).  Cable runs pay about $3,000 for a 13 week cycle (unlimited use), and National network pays every time the commercial airs…the first 20 runs could easily add up to $1,500-$2,000.
Fast forward to 2011. Booking a commercial means just that…
you have booked a commercial.  Nothing more, nothing less.
What I am trying to say is that we can no longer count our eggs before they hatch.  Of course, there are a few trade secrets that help increase your chance of getting your face on film, but the biggest take away is to recognize the lottery and hope to be on the winning side.  If you land in a spot that you get cut out of or downgraded (flat one-time fee), 

remember that no one can take the experience away!


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