How To Look The Part For A Family Sitcom or Drama
Actors: How To Look The Part For A Family Sitcom or Drama
For actors, landing a role in a series is often the end of a very long process that starts with creating a look for a headshot that can garner enough interest from casting directors to get you an audition. Casting agents can potentially receive thousands of headshots in a single day, so it's important to have several headshots available to send out for the specific type of role you are looking for. If auditions are being held for a family sitcom or drama, then the wardrobe you use in your headshot needs to be reflective of those types of characters.
Think of it like print modeling. If you were pursuing a booking for an Italian fashion designer, you wouldn't fill your book with bikini photos or casual wear. Conversely, however, characters in dramas frequently need to be able to carry off a number of different looks. If you were auditioning for a role in a hospital drama like Chicago Med or Grey's Anatomy, your character might only need to pull off scrubs and casual clothing. If you were auditioning for a show like Quantico, however, you may need to pull off looks ranging from sweats or yoga pants to combat fatigues to cocktail gowns and other evening attire.
While professional actors are trained to stay true to character regardless of what they are wearing, choosing the right wardrobe for headshots is crucial to getting the auditions that ultimately land you the role. For sitcoms in particular, you may choose to develop a specialized look based on the show you are auditioning for. There is an infamous story about Henry Winkler auditioning for Happy Days. When he arrived, casting directors simply saw this skinny kid that looked nothing like what they envisioned Arthur Fonzarelli - or "The Fonz" - looking like. However, Henry bent over, put on a leather jacket and when he stood up, he became exactly what the casting agents were looking for.
Keeping your look "casual" does not mean that you can't or shouldn't still imbue character into your wardrobe choices. Think of the Fonz and his leather jacket, Carlton Banks with his preppie attire or Erkel and his nerdy glasses and striped suspenders.
To get you started, here are a few ideas of some basic staple characters for a family sitcom or drama:
- Sitcom: Khaki pants with an ironic t-shirt under a button-down shirt, Converse tennis shoes, glasses
- Drama: Dark washed boot cut jeans with construction-type boots, collared shirt and tie under a sweater vest, finished off with a black leather bomber jacket
- Mom: Fitted collared shirt, untucked, over slim fit slacks, paired with an unbuttoned plain colored cardigan and ballet flats