Knowing your “type” is a crucial tool for any actor. While actors frequently book roles outside of or against type, having an understanding of what kind of first impression you make on casting professionals can help you streamline your auditioning process. Many introductory acting courses discuss how to figure out what your type is. Less talked about is the fact that it changes.
So what then? You’ve gotten used to marketing yourself one way, what happens when you realize you’re being seen in a new light? Here are some tips to ease the transition.
Know the signs.
For better or worse, type is based heavily on physical appearance. This means that whenever you go through a distinct change of appearance (changing hair length or style, gaining or losing significant weight, altering the tone of your personal style) your type may change with it. Age is another big factor. As you get older, you will naturally cycle through many different types. A good way to know your type is changing is the type of auditions you’re getting. If you’re accustomed to getting roles like student, assistant, intern, etc., and are suddenly seeing a lot more parents, teachers, and bosses, you may be growing into a new type.
Keeping headshots up to date is always important, but never more so than when you’re rebranding. If you don’t want to ditch your current headshots completely, consider adding a couple of shots to your roster that suggest your new type.
If you’re reading for dad roles but still dressing like a college frat boy, it may be helpful to consider switching up your style (at least professionally). A haircut and a slight outfit tweak can do wonders to suggest a character consistent with the types you’re reading for.
Revamp your online presence.
Remember that your marketing doesn’t start and end with headshots. If you’re moving into a new type, you’ll want to update your résumé, website, reel, etc. to reflect that as well.
It’s an easy thing to want to fight your type. But remember, a new type is not a life sentence. It doesn’t mean you’ll never play a role outside that type. It just means that your bread-and-butter auditions, your commercials and day player roles, might look different. Instead of mourning and clinging to your “old type,” try to remember that a new type means new opportunities. New ways to book, new ways to earn money and fund your passion projects. If you enter into it with a joyful spirit, you don’t have to feel limited by your new type. Rather, it will work for you.