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Tracy WeisertSynopsis by Tracy Weisert

Casting Director Tolley Casparis, our April 26th Industry guest speaker, is always up front and very candid.  At the beginning, when asked about the “right” or “wrong” way to audition, Tolley said, “Get [ting] rid of that paradigm. There is no right or wrong. This is a creative business. There is doing your best and doing less than your best.”

Over the years, I have always heard casting directors state that just by getting called in for an audition, we (actors) have won the lottery.  Tolley drove home this point very clearly and told us the importance of getting the most terrific headshot possible.  She then recited some staggering headshot submission figures. She was prepping two non-union Target commercials at the time and within 24 hours of the two breakdowns going out on LA Casting/Casting Networks electronically, Tolley had a total of 11,277 headshot submissions!  As an example, on one of the jobs, she had 5,361 submissions to fill only 132 audition slots. She told us “to do the math” and then said, “with those figures, I would not click on a link or go to other photos! That is why your primary headshot on Casting Networks has to pop!” Tolley added, “It’s not a matter of being good or bad, it’s about being appropriate.”

Tolley also told us how she loves doing music videos. She went on to say that any actor can work on an “easy” set. With music videos it’s, “How well you can work in the trenches!”

An actor asked, ‘what shirt color looks best on camera?’  Tolley explained that most cameras “white balance” is set on automatic.  Tolley recommended us to stand in front of a white wall and have test photos taken with a digital camera wearing different colored shirts and we would see the best colors for us to wear.

Also with headshots, Tolley demonstrated a “connection exercise.” She had me reallylook at her from the back of the room and connect with her eyes and asked if I could feel the difference when really connecting with her and I could!  It is the same with the lens of a camera when getting headshots, there has to be a connection!

ALL great advice and information! Thank you Tolley!

Email Tracy, or find her on IMDB