Out of the Office, but still hard at work

Posted May 31, 2011

I hope everyone had a safe and fun holiday weekend!  I hopped a plane and snuck out of town for the week.  I love my job, but it’s always good to take a break occasionally.  It’s been busy still and I’m doing my best to take care of my awesome clients while I’m out of the office.  Thanks goodness for ipads and cabana boys who bring drinks with tiny umbrellas, right?  See you soon!

Picking the perfect shot

Posted May 27, 2011

Last blog we discussed getting ready for your photo shoot and shooting your headshots!  The next step will be to chose the perfect shots to use from the session.

At Azalea, we are looking for a one really awesome photo that you will use when you attend auditions.  This is your signature look and often the first image of you that a client will see.

Headshots are like fashion and the ideal changes and evolves.  When I started in the industry, headshots were always black and white.  A color image headshot at an audition would have been the height of tacky.  However, that was over 10 years ago and now the exact opposite is true!  A good headshot is always in color.  A client wants to see a true representation of your skin tone, hair color and eyes.

Nearly all photographers shoot digitally which means full color.  That makes it easy!  Digital photography can be converted to black and white for artistic reasons, but again, we don’t want that for a headshot.

Your photo shoot will have included shots that are full body, waist up, shoulder up and sometimes just your face.  You will have smiles, grins, smirks and more serious expressions.

Every market is different, but I am going to focus on St Louis and the midwest for today.  You may love the shot of you with a closed mouth, strong jaw, or slight smirk, but it shouldn’t be your headshot.  I can guarantee you that when I send a client a photo of someone with a closed mouth, the immediate response is “What’s wrong with their teeth?”   The assumption being that you must have some serious orthodontia issues if you don’t want to show your pearly whites.

For this reason alone, your headshot needs to be a teeth showing smile.  A smiling shot is also warmer and more approachable, which is another huge selling point in the midwest market.  I love an enigmatic expression more than anyone, but I also know that those shots just don’t book jobs like a smile.

You want the focus of your shot to be your face.  It is, after all, your money maker!  So we need to avoid full body shots as your headshot.  Your headshot may be a waist up look or it may be shoulders up, it simply depends on what image has the best feel.

Speaking of “feel”, this is when headshot selection stops being a precise science and becomes more of an artistic endeavor.  Certain shots have an energy that I just know a client will respond to.  This part of the selection process is where you really need to rely on your agent’s eye and experience.  I have looked at thousands of photos and at this point in my career I don’t even consciously think of the “rules” anymore, I simply recognize the right shot when I see it.

So, what about those full body shots and all the different looks you have?  Those are your supplemental images that are perfect for use on the website!  It’s how you show clients your awesome range.  A few things to keep in mind when choosing these additional shots.

Do you have a good mix of angles and expressions?  It’s not worth it to have the exact same smile and eyes in two different outfits.  It’s better to have different expressions and ambiance in each shot.  Often we can make images feel unique by converting to black and white or cropping.

Are there any odd body angles or missing limbs?  Is your foot bent in such a way that you look like an extra from a medical drama?  Is your arm tucked behind your back so that it looks like maybe you only have one arm?  It may sound silly, but these sorts of things can turn a client off, sometimes without them even realizing why.

If you are looking at the camera, is it a strong look?  Clients don’t want to look at anything that could be a snapshot.  Your photos and your gaze need to look intentional.

Your headshot is your calling card in this industry.  My goal as an agent is to help you have the best representation of you that I can.  Sometimes we may disagree on a favorite shot, but keep in mind that is hard to be objective when looking at yourself or your child.  I’m looking at photos with the client in mind and I don’t have an emotional attachment to your physical traits that you might have about yourself.  Try to be open minded when looking at your shots and keep these ideals in mind!

Preparing for a Great Headshot

Posted May 25, 2011

A picture is worth a 1000 words and when it comes to your headshot, you want those 1000 words to include attractive, interesting, professional and approachable.  I’m going to outline some basics for you on a great plan for headshots.  It’s actually very easy!

Please remember, if you are signed with Azalea, or any agency for that matter, you should always talk to your agent before shooting.  I can tell you what style to aim for, what type you are being marketed as and suggest a great photographer for the job.

If you are not signed to an agent, but are planning to join an agency DO NOT SHOOT until you are under contract with Azalea!  I often can’t use photos that talent pull together before signing because they are the wrong style or quality.  Don’t blow your money before you even get started!

Headshots are an investment and if you cut corners it usually shows.  Your first step is to find a quality photographer who specializes in talent photography.  There are many great photographers who can rock the camera at a wedding, a senior portrait or with cute kids, but headshots and modeling looks are a totally different style.

Once you have your session booked, it’s prep time.  And trust me, you cannot prep enough!  You need to plan on getting your hair cut, colored, or highlighted.  Make sure you pick a style you can maintain as long as you are using your photos, which is generally about 18 months.  You may also consider a facial, manicure, pedicure, eyebrow shaping and tooth cleaning.

Your headshot should look like you, but the most awesome pulled together version of you available.  Cut the salt in your diet to avoid water weight and try to avoid alcohol for at least 48 hours before your shoot.  This is especially true for men who tend to bloat along the jawline after a few beers.

Dig through your closet or make a shopping trip to find some great wardrobe options.  Remember those suggestions I made for auditions? All those same rules apply for your photo shoot.  Ideally you should try to shoot a look from each of those categories, so a nice casual, an upscale casual and a business look.  The one big difference with your headshot shoot and auditions is that you can absolutely rock jeans in your photos.  It’s a double standard, I know, but I don’t make the rules.

Pick your top two outfits for each look, then prep a few more as back ups.  It’s always better to pack too much for your shoot than to show up with one shirt and a smile.  Sometimes a photographer may like a certain color or style for the background and lighting they have in mind.  Try not to get in the way of your photographer’s artistic instincts.  It’s part of the reason you hired that person.

During the shoot, try to have fun.  It may sound cliche, but if you are uncomfortable or not enjoying yourself, it will be painfully obvious in your shots.  A natural smile and exuberance makes your photos feel three dimensional.  It draws the viewer in and makes you stand out!  A good photographer is going to coach you through a variety of expressions and poses.  Go with it!  Work your angles!  Make love to the camera!  Allow yourself to be silly for at least one shot.  It doesn’t always work, but often that is when your true personality shines through!

Lastly, make plans for the evening of your shoot.  You will have professionally styled hair and makeup and you will feel like a rock star from all that time in front of the camera.  That kind of energy and ego boost is great for a nite on the town or a date with your favorite person.

And when all else fails, take a page from Tyra’s book and smize.

I’ll talk about how to best chose photos from your shoot in my next blog.  Be sure to check back!

What to Wear to your Audition Part 2

Posted May 19, 2011

Let’s go through those different wardrobe groups again, shall we?  If you haven’t taken a look at What to Wear to your Audition Part 1, be sure to read through it for even more tips on putting together the perfect outfit.

Nice Casual

Nice casual wardrobe is usually for roles where the client is casting an everyday person type.  A mom, a neighbor, a friend.  These are lifestyle shoots and you need to look approachable.  Think about what you might wear if you were to have a nice lunch at an outdoor cafe with an old friend.  Stores that sell this style include Banana Republic, J Crew and Gap.

Upscale Casual

The word upscale gets tacked on when the client wants to appeal to a higher income customer.  Usually the product is a little more exclusive or posh and the client wants to bring that energy to the role.  My casino clients always ask for Upscale Casual wardrobe.  Think Michael Kors, Ann Taylor, Kenneth Cole.

Business and Business Casual

Business wardrobe means looking like you mean business.  For the guys, this means a suit, plain and simple.  For business casual you can get by without a sport jacket or suit coat, but you should still aim for a buttoned up shirt and a tie.  Ladies have more flexibility here.  You need to look like an office professional, but you have more options than a suit.  A fitted skirt and cardigan can often get the feel across.  Women need to wear heels for business auditions.  Spokesperson roles are almost always a business wardrobe.


There is rarely wardrobe direction for kids outside of “cute”.  A pop of bright color always adds a youthful vibe.  Kid still need to look pulled together without looking too stuffy.  If your child has an after school audition, it’s usually a good idea to save the audition outfit until it’s time for the audition, rather than letting your child wear it all day.  You can get great wardrobe ideas for kids at Gap, J Crew and Gymboree.


There are so many great places to shop no matter your budget.  Check out catalogs and websites for some of the higher end options and then see if you can find a great deal on something similar at TJ Maxx or even Target.

Also, if you are ever unsure of a look, snap a quick picture and send me an email!  That’s what I am here for!

What to Wear for your Audition Part 1

Posted May 18, 2011

Your phone beeps!  It’s a text from Azalea!  You have an audition!  Once the excitement of the opportunity calms down comes the dreaded thought, “What should I wear!?!”

Many things play a role (no pun intended) in a client’s impression of you, not the least of which is your outfit.  As an agent, I always try to get feedback from the casting director or client about the part they are casting and see if I can get a sense for the style you should wear.  Usually the feedback is pretty general.  I hear “business casual” and “nice casual” more often than not, but sometimes I get “business”, “upscale casual” and “farmer”.

I’m not kidding about that last one.  I went back through my notes and these were the top five wardrobe descriptions given by clients in the past year.  I guess we can’t fight the Midwest, huh?

I’ll break down what each of these looks means for you, but before I do here are a few general wardrobe guidelines.

  • Always dress to impress.  The client is casting an ideal version of a person or type.  Polished and a little bit nicer than what you first think is always the right path.  A client can visualize dressing your more casually, but it’s harder for them to see you more pulled together than what you present.
  • Don’t wear a costume.  Your clothes need to support you and your acting skills, not steal the spotlight.  If you can’t make leather pants look like a natural choice, head back to the closet and try again.  Keep it simple.  Your outfit does not need extra bling, buttons, zippers, ruffles, or bows.  Sleek and simple always looks more sophisticated.
  • Splurge on the right shirt.  Find a shirt with the perfect cut in the perfect color and save it for castings.  Make it your go-to audition look and save yourself the headache of wondering “what should I wear?”  Wear it to every audition.  I promise that casting directors will praise your professional thought behind this and the variety of clients you see only occasionally won’t mind.  In fact, it can help a client remember you from one casting to another if they always see you in that sunshiny yellow color.
  • Stay away from blue.  The major casting directors in town shoot against a blue backdrop.  If you are wearing the same color, you’ll blend right in.  This always seems to be harder for my guys than it is for the ladies.  Every man I know has that blue oxford shirt that they default to when pressed.  Don’t do it.  Be bold.  Try something new.
  • Jeans and sneakers are for weekends.  Put your best foot forward in a good pair of shoes.  Make sure the leg attached to the foot is wearing nice khakis, slacks or a cute skirt.  Your clothes should always look freshly pressed and fit well.  Unless you are specifically told that the client wants jeans and sneakers NEVER show up in an outfit that could also be worn for gardening.
  • Solids are best.  Stripes and prints don’t read as well on camera and words or large logos are never acceptable.
  • Keep notes.  If you do switch up your look, keep track of what you wore to which audition.  A talent who dresses well for the casting will nearly always be asked to bring their audition look to the final job.  You may also be asked to do a second or callback audition.  You should always wear the same outfit to a followup casting so the client can keep a clear vision of you in their mind.  If you don’t know what you wore to that audition from a week ago last Tuesday, you are going to have a hard time keeping your continuity.

Tomorrow I’ll give you examples of each of the most requested looks.  Check back for Part 2 of What to Wear for your Audition!

Camera Ready for Summer

Posted May 12, 2011

It happens every year, usually in late June or early July.  I get a phone call from a client explaining that one of the actors they just auditioned  is orange.  Or red.  Or five skin tones darker than their headshot.  Basically, someone showed up for a casting looking like this:

Trust me when I tell you that while George Hamilton has made a living off this look, it’s not exactly a great selling point in St Louis.

I’m sure you know that too much sun is bad for your skin.  You know it can cause wrinkles and increase your risk of skin cancer.  Too much sun for an actor also means you have committed the number one mistake a talent can make,  not looking like your headshot.  We can stage a comeback from a large number of casting faux pas, but if you arrive to meet a client and you don’t look like your pictures, you are not getting the job.

Clients assume that actors and models who don’t look like their photos are not professional and lazy about their work.  If you don’t care to keep your materials up to date, why should a client trust you to take care of and represent their product, brand or vision?

Luckily, a little prevention goes a long way towards keeping yourself camera ready all summer long.

First, use your sunscreen.  A little sunkissed glow can be nice during the warm months, but be conscientious to stay true to your natural coloring.  If you can pass for a cast member of the Jersey Shore, you’ve gone too far.

Secondly, protect your hair from pool chemicals.  Blonds need to avoid the green tint that pools can cause, but everyone can suffer from the drying effects of chlorine.  A leave conditioner before and after a dip is the perfect solution to protect your lovely locks.

Lastly, consider a self tanner if you find yourself with awkward tan lines or a sunburn from time spent outdoors.  Trying to even those spots out at the tanning salon or in the sun can cause them to get worse while making you darker.  A self tanner will help you camouflage the lines until they have a chance to fade.

And, if you do overindulge the sunshine, make sure you confess before you attend a casting!

Azalea & MOMMA support MO Film!

Posted May 6, 2011

MOMMA (Missouri Motion Media Association) is asking for help in encouraging MO Governor Jay Nixon to continue to support the Missouri Film Industry and the Missouri Film Office.  As a member of MOMMA, Azalea encourages you to help out as well!  It will take a few moments of your time, but if you care about the great film work in Missouri, it’s worth it.  See below for details and be sure to take action before May 13th.


We need everyone with any connection to filmmaking to send a letter or an email to Missouri Governor Jay Nixon.  The House and Senate have approved a budget which continues funding for the Missouri Film Office.   Now the budget will go to the governor to be signed into law.
It is ESSENTIAL that the governor hear from all as many people as possible
before May 13!

We do not want form letters.  Start out with one or two sentences telling the governor how you are connected to the film community (even if you just love to watch locally produced films).  Then urge the governor to support the Missouri film industry and to sign House Bill 7.  Tell him that it is very important to you that he NOT veto the legislation or withhold the funds approved by the legislature.  We can save the Missouri Film Office, but it’s now or never.


Send email by going to:

Send letters to:
Office of Governor Jay Nixon
P.O. Box 72
Jefferson City, MO 65102

Azalea Faces Everywhere

Posted May 5, 2011

Hopefully you’ve had a chance to wander around the new website a bit and see how great it is!  (And isn’t it just!?!)  I hope you’ve noticed that this new site uses the individual talent pages to link to commercials and videos that feature Azalea talent.  Check out Colleen Malone’s page for a good example!

There are many spots airing right now that don’t feature just one or two great Azalea faces, but MANY Azalea faces.  Check out this one:

Or maybe this one:

Practically too many awesome actors to count, huh?

Spring, the Busy Season

Posted April 20, 2011

Spring tends to be one of the busiest seasons for Azalea Agency and this year has been the rule, not the exception.  My phones have been ringing nonstop with castings and bookings (like the former, LOVE the latter!).

The good news is that means most of Azalea’s talent have had ringing phones lately too!  The bad news is many of you have been listening to my voicemail when you call back because I am already on the phone again.

This week has been slammed and a few folks even had 4-5 auditions in ONE day earlier this week.  How great is that?  Now, we just need to sit back, catch our breaths and wait for those booking calls to come.

Azalea Agency’s New Website

Posted April 10, 2011

Azalea’s new web page has finally launched!  I know the entertainment industry, clients and talent alike, have been waiting in antici– (wait for it)–pation for a couple of months while all the details were worked out and the new site was built.  It’s here now though and you must admit it’s all shiny and new.

Look around and see all the great new tools the talent have for showing off their skills!  Photos?  Check.  Resumes?  Check.  Voice Demos?  Check.  Video Reels?  Check.  Examples of great work?  Check.  The kitchen sink?  Check, er, we are still working on the logistics for that, but we’ve got everything else.

If you are used to the old Azalea site, you may learn something new about your favorite Azalea actor.  If you are new to Azalea, I’m sure you will be impressed by the amazing faces we have.

As with all new things, we may be tweaking for a little bit to make sure everything is perfect, so don’t be surprised to see lots of updates to content, but I promise it won’t interfere with your azaleaagency.com web surfing.


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