Do headshots and reels affect an acting career?

Headshots!!! I almost wish the camera had never been invented because without it actors would have to go meet people rather than sending their inanimate 2D version of themselves around to do it.

Since so many of you are so focused on this ‘tool’ (think of it in the pejorative sense), I would ask that you let this one sink in a little rather than just going off your pre-programmed response. If you adopt a deeper approach to your careers, it will yield deeper results.

Hacktor Question:

Do headshots and reels affect an acting career? I found it interesting to see that me bearded (currently) seems to be generating more interest than me not-bearded.

David’s Answer:

As far as whether reels and headshots have any effect on your career, it’s really a question of how you choose to focus. If you want to focus on headshots then you are going to notice whether things change when you change headshots… but they are still just random pictures being sent to strangers and no matter how amazing they are they still amount to very little.

Time spent getting new pictures or submitting could be spent in an actual office interacting with the people that sign checks and make hiring and audition decisions.

Even if they do get you more auditions, they don’t necessarily get you more jobs because the person calling you in really has no idea what you are like as a person and so it is really just an opportunity for them to see you face to face but you are leaving it to them to make that decision rather than being in charge of that yourself.

There is just so much randomness involved in submitting headshots and casting roles using head shots.

That’s why a casting director’s real asset is in the actors they know. The vast majority of roles go to people who they already know so that is what we all need to focus on.

If we depend on something as random as picture selection for our careers, it is possible to never have a career. If we focus on letting people see us as we are and see our skills and natural talents then at least we will get a fair and representative opportunity.

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