MODELS & ACTORS Is there a limit on how many outfits I should bring? There is not a limit, but it's best to have 5-7 different tops. Ten to twelve differently styled outfits with appropriate shoes are recommended for composite shoots. Are outdoor or indoor shots preferred? Both are great. Many of our shoots include at least some outdoor shots. They're just different styles. When you're at auditions, you'll notice that the quality of outdoor shots tends to be inferior. Thats why a great outdoor shot can really standout. But, both are great when done correctly (see my portfolio). If the photographer is good do I still need a professional to do my makeup and hair? People underestimate the role a good hair and makeup artist plays in the process of getting headshots done. What looks good in person does not always translate on camera. It's for our own protection as well. When people look at a headshot, they can not differentiate between bad makeup vs. a bad photographer. If the makeup is bad, it makes us look bad. Nobody wins. Can I use my own makeup artist? We prefer to work with our own artists or with artists with whom we’ve worked with on past shoots. What amount of time should I set aside for the shoot? Never schedule the shoot after a rough night or right before another important event. Plan to come in, spend 1-2 hours, and have nothing hanging over your head that would distract you from the shoot. The best images can only be gotten after you’ve warmed up and when you’re not feeling any of your normal everyday pressures. Are deposits required? Depending on the shoot, typically a deposit is required. Where are you located? Our studio is located 40 minutes north, northwest of Chicago, just 15 minutes from O’Hare airport. Do you allow time for men to shave or straightening/curling women’s hair? Absolutely. Women, if you're going from straight to curly, it's best to come with your hair straight and then we can curl it half way through. That's faster than trying to straighten curly hair. If we're doing indoor and outdoor shooting in addition to a major change, you'll need to decide which look you want to do indoors and which you want to do outdoors. Whats the best way to get started as an actor? There are a couple of things you should consider when you are starting off. First, it is important to understand that a true acting career is a lifelong commitment. Many people are tempted to get into this industry at the prospect of fame or money. Few people are getting paid large salaries to act, and even less "make it big." For most of your career, your compensation will only be your enjoyment of the craft. Great acting looks effortless, but there are years of experience behind the performances you see on Broadway. Consider local theatre and taking classes with the right instructor can be a huge benefit. I'm having trouble narrowing down photographers. Do you have any advice? Look through portfolios. "Why should I come to you?" The simple answer is, "Because you love our work." Don’t sacrifice on convenience or costs. Choose your photographer because you think they're good, not because they think they're good. Choose them because they are able to represent you with the best images possible. Those are the images that can make the difference between getting the audition/looksee or not. When do I need an agent? Agents and actors usually only go hand in hand in the bigger markets like Chicago, NYC and LA. They may be useful in other regions for print work and commercials. It’s important to understand that agents work for you, yet only make money if you get work. It's a two way street. Are there different kinds of agents? Yes. A commercial agent works on commercials. A legit agent works on theater, film and television. A modeling agency works on print work/runway. A voice-over agency works on voice-overs (radio commercials, animation voices). There are also franchised agents and non-franchised agents. A franchised agency is one that is licensed by a union (Actors Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) to represent its actors. Franchised agents are guided by strict regulations set by the unions. For example, the agent can not take more than 10% of your salary, they can not sell you services (like classes or headshots), they have to be open between certain hours. Many times, franchised agents will work with a non-union actor in hopes that they will book a union job. Non-franchised agents and managers (people who work like agents) are not regulated by the unions and are free to take as much money as they want (assuming that you agree to their terms). Some states have regulations that may offer a little protection. Ideally, you want to work with a franchised agent. If you’re already a member of a union, you’re only allowed to work with franchised agents. How do I get an agent? There are a few ways you can get an agent. The most effective way is by being seen by the agent in a show. This way the agent can get to see your work first hand and (ideally) get excited about what they see. If they like your work, they will want to send you out on auditions. Even if you do not book the first few auditions they send you out on, they will remember your work and hopefully keep trying. If an agent starts working with you without having seen your work, you might be on shaky ground if you do not book work right away. The only thing they have to go on is the feedback that they’re getting from casting directors. The next best way is through a referral by a friend who’s with the agency. If your friend gives a glowing recommendation, you will usually land an interview. Finally, you can submit your photo and resume though the mail. It will probably go in the trash. The volume of mail an agency receives on any given day can be overwhelming. Beware of anyone who asks for money (before you book a job), says that you have to pay for classes. Keep in mind that an agent has every right to suggest that you take a class or suggest you get new photos. You might need it. No legitimate agent or casting director will ever ask you to take of any clothes at an audition. If it happens, leave! Quickly! Make sure that your agent has a way to get in touch with you during the day. At my old agency, a casting director would call at 6:30pm (when technically, we were closed) and ask to see "John Doe" the actor at 10am the next day. If I could not get a hold of the actor right away, they would miss the audition. If this happens with the same actor on a regular basis, the agent will stop working as hard for them. They will not have a problem finding someone else who answers their phone. You might be surprised how many times I got a call a week later from "John Doe" the actor to say how sorry he was because he hadn’t checked his messages. An entire process transpires before your agent calls you. We see a character you would be right for, type up a submission, and send your photo in the mail (or electronically). The ball is rolling. Time and money is being spent on you. Then, not long after, we get the call asking to see you. Up until this point, you are unaware of what's happening. It’s very frustrating to do all this work for you and then have you miss the audition over something as simple as not getting a message. Many agents offer open calls to view new talent. In Chicago, one of the most successful new agencies to contact is http://www.bravotalentmanagement.com/. What's the deal with unions? SAG-AFTRA = Screen Actors Guild / American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (these used to be two different unions but later merged) AEA = Actors Equity Association (aka Equity) SAG covers almost all films and on-camera commercials. AFTRA covers most soaps and voice-overs. AEA covers most things theater related from Broadway to regional theaters. Choosing to join a union can be a difficult decision. On one hand, by joining, you will have the union watching over and protecting you from producers and agents. On the other hand, once you join, you’re not allowed to work on non-union projects. If you’re being offered a role on Broadway or a role in a feature film, opposite Johnny Depp, there’s no question what you should do. Often times, it’s not that obvious. Do you have more competition in the non-union world or the union world? If you’re over 40, chances are there are more union actors your age than not. You might book more jobs by staying non-union. If you’re young, there is a good chance there are more non-union people your age than not. For theater, if you’re a member of Equity, you get scheduling priority at the audition. Being a member of SAG does not really guarantee any auditions (most of those are procured by an agent). However, once you actually book a film or commercial, the differences between a SAG contract and non-union contract can be staggering (money, residuals, hours, etc.). For theater, if you feel like you would be competitive with the actors similar to your type on Broadway, you should join. The same idea can be applied to the other unions. I still have questions... No problem. Were here to answer any questions you have. If you do, please email or ring our studio.