Most actors feel that versatility is their strength and so resist typecasting. While you might be able to play anything from Ace Ventura to Schindler, a talent agent won’t know how to sell you to film directors or producers.
Being typecast is a way to get work. Another way to say it is, you find your niche. Yes, you might miss out on some roles in the beginning, but you will miss out on a whole lot more roles if no one knows what to do with you.
Here are five reasons to typecast yourself immediately:
1. You will stand out from the competition.
Your talent manager has more than just you for a client, so if you market yourself as a certain type, she’ll think of you immediately when that kind of character comes across her desk. If you are a bit of everything, you might not be thought of at all.
2. Hollywood doesn’t like to take chances.
A casting director familiar with your work as a femme fatale will more easily consider you for her own femme fatale casting need than someone who doesn’t have a track record. Your niche needs to appeal to Hollywood and needs to align with how talent agents and casting directors already see you. If you’ve been working the goofy sidekick angle, don’t suddenly market yourself as a villain. Stay consistent.
3. Typecasting improves your interviewing.
If you are getting known around town as a certain type, like an All-American sports guy, then you know how to present yourself when you meet with talent agents and film producers.
You want them to see you as that character, envision you in front of the camera on set, from the moment you walk into the room.
Knowing the kind of type that is expected of you will make presentation decisions much easier.
4. Rather than pay for several different headshots, go with one that typecasts you.
Headshots are expensive and you need one per type you want to play. Sending in a headshot of you with a femme fatale look will not get you cast as the girl-next-door. Again, a casting agent will be able to see you in the role more easily through a photo that connects you to the character.
You could go for a headshot that is somewhat plain but attractive, sending a message that you can mold yourself into any part. Unfortunately, that will put you in the “not sure who he is” category. A headshot that doesn’t have a point of view is a waste of money.
5. Typecast actors get work.
You know how you keep seeing commercials with that same guy or girl in the same kind of role? Sure, they might not be getting the most out of their Juilliard degree right now, but they’re getting paid to act.
Before you can start demanding the kinds of television or film characters you want to play, you need to get hired. By typecasting yourself, you are playing the game the way Hollywood plays it.
If you aren’t sure what your casting is, you might consider a career strategy session with Smart Girls to help identify it for you. Or when you do a cover letter mailing with Smart Girls to help you get a Talent Agent or Manager, in the interview process Smart Girls will discuss your typecasting with you to make sure your headshots reflect it accurately.
The main point here is: Don’t fear being typecast. You are doing your career a favor by making it easier for those who hire actors to hire you. Once you commit, you’ll be surprised by how typecasting opens up your career.