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How to Get Started in Acting

I typically get the same questions over and over from new actors just starting out or from the parents of child actors wanting to get their child going in the world of acting and on the road to Hollywood. Only problem is — where do you start? I decided to just ask some local actors here in Atlanta and just repost their advice here. So read below and take whatever information is useful.

From Ann Lukens:

Here is a few words of advice I’ve learned the hard way regarding head shots. Feel free to use this.

I have found that head shots run the range from $100 to $500 and up, with or without makeup and hair.Look for specials online, Facebook is a great resource. Ask around. I once did the $400+ head shots thinking I would get a great one, but wasn’t that happy. I don’t think many new actors do this, but an actor (especially newer ones who may not be too comfortable in front of the lens) should try to meet a few photographers and see who they like and feel really comfortable with, that way they are more likely to get good shots. Check photog’s out online, look at multiple clients they have shot. I never take word of mouth, not even from an acting instructor. You have to understand that many photographers give folks a free photo session when they have sent enough referrals the photographer’s way.

From there, the next choice is careful wardrobe picks, simple, one color tops, no patterns- just like for video/film- simple or no jewelry, and hair and makeup are best not overdone. Many young actors or those without sufficient funds try to do their own makeup and hair. Be careful about this unless you really are good at it. Be objective. It’s cheaper to get a MUA and hair person than to reshoot completely if your shots aren’t good.

Try to pull some example shots together that you like and want to replicate. Practice the poses/looks at home. You should be comfortable and ready by the time your session happens. Also, you should decide if you need a commercial shot, theatrical shot or both. If you don’t know the difference, you aren’t ready for your shoot.

Iron your clothing choices and hang them up the night before. Bring a few options just in case the photographer’s backdrops happen to be the same color as the wardrobe you selected. Don’t leave all the control and decisions up to the photographers, you should know what you want and have prepared/researched before you schedule. Some photog’s are very good with new talent and can direct you, but none of them are mind readers. Some are not as good with new talent and are not as good at directing your poses, etc. The more prepared you are, the better result you should get. Don’t be afraid to ask the photographer these questions.

Very good samples to look at and research (based on price OR quality) are Dwayne Boyd, Lisa Northern English, Darla Clarkson, Barbara Beneville and Anthony Lloyd, John Ridings, Jackie Goldston and Paul Amodio. Photographers who are also actors and/or directors have a very good idea of what a good head shot should deliver. Best example of this is Dwayne Boyd. (Not a referral, I have not ever used Dwayne, but I see great results on his FB page again and again.)

For disclosure purposes, I have used Anthony Lloyd, Barbara Beneville and Richard Mellinger who has now left Atlanta.

~ Ann

From Shawn Bard:

Hands down Tracy Bosworth Page for headshots. She’s really talented. We love our agency (Barbara Garvey) East Coast Talent. I can’t say enough positive things about how hard she works for all her clients to get them professional experience (safe and valuable experience) and learning opportunities to sharpen skills. Good taping is also so important. (Julie Still, Get Taped). And making good friends in Atlanta/surrounding who are also in the business and support each other.

~ Shawn

Jay Carver

Jay Carver is a screenwriter, director and producer. Through his production company J-Style Films, he has done work for companies such as Turner Broadcasting. In the past, he has worked with Hollywood actor Omari Hardwick and won several film festivals including "Best Director".

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