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“Should I have a headshot?”….
This is a question that I wondered about much earlier in my VO career. Unlike camera or theater actors, where showing your face and having a headshot is vital, with VO it’s…up in the air a bit. This is an issue that my VO colleagues are often heard debating about, with some solid arguments on both sides.
As you may have noticed, though, I don’t have a headshot. So, you guessed it, I tend to side with the idea of not having one when it comes to VO.
It’s not an issue that I’m particularly passionate about, though. Like I said, there are some solid arguments to both sides. My fellow SaVoa member, Rick Lance, even wrote this very solid blog post on his own blog…
…arguing in favor of a headshot. In the end, there’s not really a “right” or “wrong” answer as far as I’m concerned. The answer is just to do whatever works.
As far as I’m concerned, though, what works for me is to not show my face to clients in any way, shape, or form. The reason? Because my voice, not my appearance, is the core of my product.
I’ve said before that I don’t sell my voice so much as I sell my services, but it would be fair to say that my services definitely revolve around my voice. So, I’d rather be judged solely on that. If a potential client sees my face and I don’t look like the kind of person that the client saw in their mind when they imagined the voiceover, then there’s no business to be had from that. They’ll simply move on.
Sure, I’ve heard the argument that, “Well, if you can make voices that don’t sound like what you look like, it will be all the more impressive!” Ehh…yeah…but that’s assuming they listen to my demos to begin with. They may very well take a look at my picture, immediately decide that I’m not what they’re looking for, and move on—even if my demo or custom audition may in fact be exactly what they’re looking for.
I’ve also heard the argument that it makes the voice actor seem more personal and less “salesy.” Some people claim that if clients can put a face to the name, it makes them a human being rather than an abstract entity. Ehh…yeah…but this is voiceover. The client may see my face when they decide to hire me, but their customers (or whoever else they’re playing their completed VO project to) will definitely not. As voice actors, we won’t have our faces available to show when the narration piece that we recorded plays over an internet video, or a radio station, or an audio book. Our job as voice actors is to bring our own unique personality through using only our voice. I can’t even count the number of auditions I’ve seen where the instructions read, “Don’t sound like a salesman, sound like a real guy.” The keyword in this case being…“sound.”
Finally, I would also say that symbols and logos have much more power to them than faces. Faces fade into memory, but symbols can leave lasting impressions that will not die with time. For example, take a look at this symbol.
See? I don’t have to tell you what that symbol means. Everybody knows what (or rather, who) this symbol represents. Granted, it means different things to different people, but this one image is enough to evoke so many different thoughts and ideas–all without saying a word.
Now, to be fair, I would never suggest that my logo carries as much iconic weight as the, well…crest of Superman….but hopefully you get what I’m trying to say. That’s just my opinion, though. Opinions change with time, and I may yet get a headshot for myself. Like I said earlier, there are some solid arguments to both sides. But for right now, I’m sticking with a logo. As always, feel free to chip in and say your two cents. Thanks for listening!
PS: Yes, I am indeed a big Superman fan! And the new Superman movie coming out in 2012? I’m gonna be first in line!
PSS: A rough-draft mp3 version of this blog was posted earlier as opposed to the final draft, which is the version you’re hearing now. Sorry for the confusion. 😦