I was speaking to a prominent casting director the other day (let's call her Betty.) Betty mentioned that she was going to her first showcase of the year in a few weeks time. It seems that showcase season is upon us once again, for the next five months it's feeding time at a theatre near you.
It got me thinking about what role headshots play in showcase and so I got in touch with a director (let's call him Billy.) Over Whatsapp Billy, Betty and I sat down (sort of) and talked about the role of the headshot in showcase. Both agreed that within the first 10 seconds of an actor walking on stage they decide whether they buy it, or whether they don't (Agents take about 0.5 seconds to do this!) Perhaps this isn't a big surprise every drama school worth its salt will try and teach how important walking into an audition is, and what is a showcase? A massive audition in fronts of hundreds of people.
What is perhaps surprising is what happens next. Both Betty and Billy (they'd make a nice couple) said that if they're buying they then look at the respective actors headshot in the programme. So perhaps the second impression you make on someone who may potentially have an impact on your career is all about your 10x8. I then asked Betty and Billy what their impression would be if the headshot was 'a bit ropey.' They both just went a bit quiet. Weird.
Silence speaks volumes.