Book Review: The New Business of Acting - Brad Lemack
Jan 14, 2019 | By: Beth Kukucka
Headshot Photography for Actors - The New Business of Acting - Brad Lemack
A few months ago I had the pleasure of meeting Brad Lemack at an event in LA that I was attending with a client of his. It was an unexpected surprise that he would be at the same event, and I'm so glad he was. He felt familiar to me right away - so much so that it almost seemed unnecessary to be formally introduced. He has the kind of smile that makes you feel at home, and I did.
As we chatted before the event, and during the breaks, I came to realize that Brad is like the Forrest Gump of actors. Not only has he been a radio and television personality, an acting coach, an agent (Lemack & Company), a publicity executive, a professor at Emerson College, and an author - he is a THREE time author, with The New Business of Acting being his latest publication.
Fascinated by his expertise in an industry I'm just learning about, I wanted to write a short review on the chapter that interested me the most; Chapter 6: The Art of the Headshot.
As I read Brad's perspective on the changing requirements for submitting a headshot, I found myself feeling that my hybrid technique of combining still images with video is right on time. Although this isn't how headshots are submitted by an agent, my This Is Me technique can be used as an online branding tool for social network sites such as Instagram and Facebook. Some of my clients are using their videos as a homepage "reel" for their acting websites - something that Brad encourages actors to do. Now that social networking has changed the playing field of a profession that used to be limited to the restrictions of a black and white glossy submitted by an agent on your behalf, having a website can help an actor to stand out, have an online following and presence, and, on a personal level, make the actor feel more like they have their own hands in the clay.
Beyond these details, I love the way Brad encourages actors to "embrace" (my word) their flaws when it comes to headshots. He discourages actors from hiding anything beyond a passing blemish. Don't get rid of the double chin, unless you don't plan on having it tomorrow. Keep the scar above the lip. It's part of you, and something that might work to your advantage with the right role. Speaking as someone on the other side of the lens, I can't tell you how many times I'm asked to retouch identifying "flaws", or to "use the lens that takes ten pounds off". Of course I can do these things in post processing - but Brad encourages an actor to not cover these characteristics up with make-up, spray tans, or extensive retouching. In true Brad fashion, he does so in a kind voice - the Mister Rogers of acting - and by the time I finished the chapter, I had a new respect for my own flaws, and liked myself just the way I am.
I strongly recommend reading Brad's book (You can purchase it HERE.) And if you would like to look into personal websites for actors, I highly recommend David Cosgrove Website Design.
For more information about Brad Lemack, please visit his website HERE.