Hey guys! I’m so excited for my first guest on the “From the Source” segment of the blog, where I get the chance to ask different industry professionals questions covering all areas related to a successful actor headshot.
My very first guest is Erica Moran of Avalon Artists Group, based in New York City.
Here’s a little bit of info on Erica’s background in the business:
Erica Moran is the NY Agency Director for Avalon Artists Group & BMG Models, sister companies in New York City, with a focus on Commercials, Film, Television, Theatre and Print Modeling. With 10 years of experience under her belt, she has worked with top agencies from Bella Agency in the role of Director of Commercial Print, to Ford Models as a Children & Teen Agent. Not only has Erica made a major contribution to the entertainment industry as an agent; her passion for teaching and love of original talent has pulled her to attend and lead many showcases and classes. She takes pride in her selectivity which has allowed her to engage with talent she strongly believes in and works hard to develop. That being said, she is always looking for new talent. Her can-do attitude and strong motivation keep her at the top of NYC’s agent pool and thus ensures longevity in such an ever-changing industry. Recent television bookings include Boardwalk Empire, Gossip Girl, Louie, 30 Rock, How to Make it in America and Law & Order. Commercials for Suave, Bank of America, Nintendo, Pfizer, Barnes & Noble, Amazon Kindle, Chuck E Cheese & GE just to name a few. Her models have also graced the pages of Glamour, Seventeen, Vogue, Brides, Elle & Modern Salon. In a cut-throat and rigorous industry, Erica stands out for the individual attention she gives to each of her actors and models. Her dedication to personal relationships marks her as a rare treasure of an agent who can support her talent’s dreams as passionately as she does their careers.
1. What are you looking for in a headshot when an actor submits a hard copy?
I look for personality & engaging eyes. Something that sets the actor apart from everyone else.
2. Does Avalon accept mail submissions?
Yes and we go through all of our mail and submissions. Be sure to include a cover letter and have all of your contact information on there. We need to know what type of representation you are looking for and how to reach you!
3. What are you looking for when your clients are getting new headshots?
Diversity. Something we can use for Commercials, Film, Episodics and Musical Theatre. Each submission we do is unique in its own way and it is advantageous for us to have a variety of “looks’ to choose from. There should be a connection with the photographer and the actors personality
should shine through the camera regardless if that shot is portraying a Disney star or Law & Order killer.
4. Does natural vs. studio light matter for you?
I like to see options for both but if I had to choose, I prefer natural lighting.
5. What are some of the negative elements you’re seeing in the headshot industry right now?
The location where the headshot is taken, the background should not be too distracting (ie: cars, buildings, etc.)
The cost of headshots is skyrocketing and so many actors have a hard time paying for them. I don’t think that if a photographer costs a ridiculous amounts of money it necessarily means they are a good photographer.
There are so many people who consider themselves headshot photographers that it is sometimes hard to choose who to shoot with. Everyone thinks they can take a photo and it is the farthest thing from the truth. That is why I go by referral only.
6. What are some of the positive elements you’re seeing in the headshot industry right now?
Natural Hair & Makeup has finally caught on and that is the best way to be portrayed in your headshot.
Friendly and knowledgeable photographers that know how to treat actors and get the best out of them during the session.
7. Does a hard copy 8×10 still matter?
Yes. Most of theatrical casting directors still request hard copy submissions via messenger service and although we don’t necessarily use them daily in the office, actors should ALWAYS have an 8×10 on them for auditions and appointments.
8. Color vs. black and white
9. What can you tell actors who are looking to get new headshots for possible representation?
Interview photographers and check out websites before making a final decision. You want to mesh well with the person who is going to be capturing your personality through that lens.
Get referrals from agents, casting directors or other actor friends. Do your homework!
I can’t thank Erica enough for taking the time out to give actors some insight into what agents are looking for in a great Actor Headshot!
Check back in over the coming weeks for my next guest!