An actor on the Backstage West Boards asked this:
“I’m getting my headshots updated and am having a difficult time narrowing down my type. I’ve got 1 look figured out and just need 2 more. Do any of you have a list of all the “generic” character types that exist in dramas and sitcoms? Or do you know where I can find this information somewhere online”
Here was my honest response, I hope it helps you too:
I shake my finger at you… if you don’t know who you are yet or what you can and really want to do yet that’s ok BUT it’s not someone else’s job to do your homework for your headshots. I recommend that you watch TV and look at the roles that fit you and then write down some adjectives that your friends would use to describe you and that you would use to describe the characters you see on tv. Then look at what kinds of jobs those characters have, what their financial status is, their luck or unluck in love and their relationships, how their clothing fits their role (sexy? homely? matronly? plain jane? eccentric? earthy?) and you will have a good start. It’s not brain surgery, but it’s your homework, as an actor, every day. You need to watch movies, and tv and film and pick scenes for yourself and see what those characters you gravitate towards are like… then how do they dress on TV.. in commercials. This is your job. If you want to be on tv then you need to know what you are selling. If you don’t know what you are selling then how is anyone else (an agent or manager) supposed to sell for you. Ask strangers if you want some unbiased opinions but do the homework. It’s worth it. It will save you time in your career going for roles that you are not right for. Then, when you become a big star you can play whatever roles you can imagine for yourself and use whatever publicity picture you like because everyone will already know who you are.
Hope that helps,