Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Back in the day, one of the things I did was read original scripts submitted to one of the theater companies I worked with. Without putting too fine a point on it, there isn't a more grim job in all of theater. Sitting down with a work that contains someone's absolute best effort, I used to pray that I could make it to the end. I'd say that I was able to finish about ten percent of the scripts. Out of several hundred, I only directed two.

So, I approach premiere productions of original scripts very cautiously. Last week I was invited to watch the run thrus of The Side Project's next two shows running in rep for February. In both cases, within a matter of minutes my concerns were allayed and I was genuinely surprised to find two accomplished pieces receiving insightful and inspiring productions.

First up is Perfect, by Philip Dawkins and directed by Stephen Cone. It begins much like an after-school special, but quickly becomes complex and then becomes astonishing. There are seven characters, some with more stage time than others, but all fully drawn. Each one of them is a character that any actor would be thrilled to play. I can't discuss it beyond this point because that would be giving too much away, and this is a play you want to see with as little foreknowledge as possible. Cone gets some fine performances from a truly great cast. All I can say is, "See it!"

Next is a coming-of-age story called Slipping by Daniel Talbott and directed by Adam Webster. I'll discuss that and post one of the Archetype publicity stills in my next post.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Kate Teichman

Kate is the first person I've met that could ever be called gamine. When we discussed her headshots, she stressed that her main focus was on theater. While she wasn't really opposed to signing with an agent and making lots of money, she really likes working on experimental or new theater pieces.

So, we decided to really try to express what makes Kate unique as a performer. Her physicality makes her one of the rarest of actresses, giving her a chameleon-like ability to move from delicate, feminine, Audrey-Hepburn roles, to tomboys. In fact she frequently is cast as a teenage boy and is currently working on a two-person project for the Prop Thtr's festival, to be followed with a production of Richard III; while last fall she worked simultaneously on three separate productions, including playing Honey in Virginia Woolf.

There is no doubt Kate will become one of Chicago's staple character actresses and our shoot captured that. Above we used the pose to create an angular composition to communicate an edginess, and a rich color palette to convey the contrasting components of Kate's talents and career goals. Check out our website to see how brighter colors were used for Kate to create a commercial shot.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Putting kids into the business is a scary thing, but if done properly one job could be enough to set him or her up for life. A single national commercial can finance a law degree and possibly launch a career and a lifestyle that is beyond your wildest dreams.

Does your child have what it takes? Probably. Most kids have the raw talent and enthusiasm step in front of a camera or an audience and be charming and entertaining. But there is only one way to find out, and that is to do it.

Most agents will accept a simple snapshot to consider a professional kid. But just as with adult performers, you only get one shot to make a first impression. And even for kids, a home snapshot is the hallmark of an amateur.

But professional headshots are expensive, and up until about adolescence, working professional kids should have them done on average about every six months. After adolescence, boys can probably go every year, but girls should reshoot more often until about the age of sixteen. And that's just for acting. Models will need more shots more frequently.

That's why we're doing what we can to make the process as simple and as painless as possible. It's sometimes best to do kids' shoots in pairs, so we're offering a kids' rate (under the age of 12) of $175 for the first child, and $100 for the second child. Typically we'll get the right headshot in fifty frames. The proof sheets will be sent to you, and you can choose up to two finished headshots.

See our website for me details.
UPDATE: The little girl in the second shot (I don't want to publish children's names) just signed her first modeling contract with BMG Models!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

New Year -- New You

There is nothing more frustrating for a director than spending hours watching monologues, setting his heart on one actor, only to lose that actor in a pile of headshots because the picture looked nothing like the actor. Or to spend a year or eighteen months sending your headshots to agents, get the call, only to have the agent be disappointed because they really needed a twenty-five-year-old brunette, and you're a thirty-year-old blond.

Do you think those are exaggerated examples? Not at all! Many actors think that their audition and talent will land the job, but that's only true some of the time. There are many, many casting directors out there who think that if you don't have enough sense to keep your headshots current, you're not really serious about your career. Is that fair? Maybe not, but when the choice comes down to two actors, both of whom are perfect for the role, do you really want the director staring at a five-year-old shot to help him make up his mind?

Two Archetype clients came back to update their looks. The first was Brian Coleman, a Northwestern student who has been selected for their New York showcase. This was Brian's shot: It's a great shot of Brian, and has gotten a lot of attention from Archetype clients. But, in just a few short months Brian's look had changed.

In the second shot, the lighting and color schemes are almost identical, the pose is similar, but the viewer responds to Brian in a very different way. He's more mature and stronger in the second picture. The same person, pictures only taken months apart, yet each picture is going to get Brian very different calls.

The second Archetype client is Mary Anne Bowman. Mary Anne is a brilliant actor, who for the past few years has been focusing on stage combat, working with Babes with Blades. Being a company member meant that she wasn't submitting her headshots to other companies for work. The Babes kept Mary Anne pretty busy.

While she's anything but a typical talent, Mary Anne is very typical when it comes to having her headshots done. She hates doing it, and because she was working with directors who were familiar with her, she didn't feel the need to keep her headshots up to date. Then one day she looked at her headshots and realized that it had been nearly ten years. Yes, the shots were recognizable as her, but they didn't communicate anything about the depth or complexity of the roles she was now able to to undertake with ten years of experience under her belt. In addition, she'd updated her look so she came back to us for a second session.


It's not about having a headshot that makes you look good, it's about having a headshot that communicates who you are as a person, professional, and artist.
In January, Archetype Images is making it very easy for you to update your marketing materials. The photo session is FREE. You only pay for the shots you like. What could be better than that.