Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Typecasting: Who are YOU?

Last weekend I went to a workshop given by two of Chicago's premier casting directors (CDs). They were willing to take questions about almost anything. So I asked about my look. I have a mass of very curly, frizzy, black hair that falls past my shoulders (longer than in my headshots) and is hard to tame no matter how many defrizzer gels, conditioners, shampoos etc. I try.

One of the CDs, Claire Simon, who casts many commercials, films and TV shows, said I needed a more sophisticated haircut so I didn't fall through the casting cracks. She also didn't like the color...too black. Or my bangs. The other CD agreed.

Some people might have thought: Screw you, I look fine the way I am. An actress who wants to get called in by Claire Simon thinks: What can I do to make myself more marketable in this business? How can I fit my type? Especially in commercials, and also in film & TV, everyone has a type. You don't get to choose, you just are what you look like.

One man in the class commented that he wanted to be seen as more than a Chicago cop type. Which he actually was, looks, and sounds exactly like. The verdict: because of his look and Chicago accent, chances of him getting cast as a doctor or something along those lines were very slim. Another woman wanted to get sent out for more than "young mother." Which, of course, she looks and sounds like.

Actors may be able to adapt somewhat, by being a lawyer one day or a doctor another. But we can't choose to be "the person next door" if we are perceived by those who do the casting as "upscale attractive." So we might as well be the best of our type we can be.

Fortunately I already had a hair appointment scheduled for yesterday. I brought in a couple of pictures and talked to my stylist. She hacked at least 4 inches off the back (I couldn't look at the piles of hair on the floor), reshaped the front and my bangs are now off to the side, so I have sort of a slightly longer than Julie Christie at the Oscars look. I am pleased to report that I like it.

I shall send Claire a picture (before I invest in new headshots; my new cut is sort of similar to my current headshots and I have TONS of copies). We'll see if my attempt at sophistication yields any results.

As to the color, I have a lot of gray...and though I've tried many brands, only black covers it. Even the darkest brown shades fade on the first day. My hair grows so fast that if I got highlights I'd have to take time and fork over more $ for new ones every three weeks. I talked to a colorist who suggested either internal highlights that would show off my curls but not be impacted as much by growout. And/or a two shade color correction requiring some bleaching to lighten my hair just enough it wouldn't look blackest black. Lots of $$$$$ involved. I will think on these options.

What type are you?

1 comment:

Eileen said...

I can say, having seen the results, that you are smokin.