Professional Acting Resources


Acting Tips: Is A Unique Face An Advantage In Hollywood?

Answers to various acting questions I get from aspiring actors and actresses.

Q: Dear Mr. White, I really enjoyed your website and I know you're not an agent or casting director, but I just had one question.

Do the people with unique faces have better luck in the industry?

A: Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed the site.  As to whether or not unique faces help in choosing actors, I think that almost anything truly unique is helpful in this industry.  However, having said that, I think what passes for "unique" in most circles is probably more commonplace than one might think.  So, if you are asking about those facial types that are extremely unique, then they definitely can have an advantage in very specific circumstances.  Generally speaking though, I think those types of roles are pretty limited for the most part.  Figure, if a role calls for something so out of the norm, makeup can come in and provide whatever is needed.

So, for the most part, I think that those "unique" face roles end up being things like "Vampire #3" or "Biker #2" and things like that...stuff that looks good in a crowd for reactions and the like.  You have to bear in mind as well that there are hundreds of thousands of actors floating around Los Angeles.  Even with a pretty unique "look", it's really hard to pick an actor out of the crowd.  As an example, I was casting a film ages back and a friend told me that she was going to submit her headshot for the role.  For that particular job, we had something like 500 actresses to look through and after my friend submitted, I scanned through trying to find her.  It took me three or four tries before I could locate her picture and I was specifically looking for her!  Imagine what it's like when the casting people have no idea who you are.

That being said, the best headshots, what clothes you wear in the shot, how the makeup is done (if they wear makeup), whatever young actors all spend ages fretting about...all that stuff gets glanced over in about 2 seconds.  In a way, it's just kind of a crap shoot in the beginning.  I always say though, that if an actor keeps submitting, sooner or later they'll get called for something.  I think the more important thing to focus on, rather than what sort of look nature may or may not have given you, is to focus on being memorable to the casting people.  And that part is fully under your on time, know the material really well and be able to interpret that material and bring it to life.

That will trump the unique face almost every time.

As always, if you have any questions or thoughts, or would just like to share some of your successes, please feel free to drop me a line.  I actually answer them.

Best of Luck out there and remember, you can't fail if you don't quit.

D.L. White