• TWC Weather
  • CNN News
  • Kathryn
  • Contact Kathryn
  • Kathryn's Korner

    Head Shots and Casting Calls

    Well, I’ve always had a hard time making up my mind. This happens here as well, as you’ve noticed by my double photograph change. I was the same way when I was pursuing an acting career. The only difference then was that I had many more photographs to choose from. Well, I still have all those photos to choose from, trouble is, they are all 15 to 20 years old.

    Then, I had what is called a “contact sheet” where all the photographs from a particular photo shoot were in miniature on one sheet of photo paper. From there, I would select what I thought would be the best shots to have blown up into “head shots.” That’s an 8X10 inch photograph complete with my name imprinted at the bottom. I would also attach a resume of past acting credits on the back.

    This would make the head shot complete as a presentation package for casting. My agent would submit probably a dozen a day for any given parts coming up as being available. Or at least that’s what he said he did. The busiest time was what’s called “pilot season” when all the new shows are being cast for possible airing on television.

    I was in a pilot called “Return to Beverly Hillbillies.” I was cast as the Ellie Mae character. Unfortunately, it was never picked up. However, it was lots of fun making it and I had high hopes for fame and fortune back then. I was also in a pilot for a series to be called “Sibs” which never saw the light of day.

    I can’t tell you the countless number of shows and parts I went up for. It was a very hopeful time and there were thousands of us looking for parts. I remember my agent, Tom Jennings, always trying to be hopeful right along with me. But he’d been doing it long enough that he knew what the odds were. He had a few old time soap opera stars that were on his list and that’s where I think he made most of his money.

    He did get me a few walk-ons and bit parts on soaps, but nothing really special. He tried to always give me the true deal. He didn’t make any false promises or get my hopes up too high. I could do that all by myself.

    I got Tom as an agent when I first came to L.A. in 1987. I considered it quite a coup that I actually got an agent so quickly, because a lot of aspiring actors can’t even do that. And you don’t have a chance without an agent. The problem is you are only as good as your last job, and when you are first starting out, there is no “last job.”

    So now I’m pursuing freelance writing. I get the same amount of rejections from different newspapers and magazines. The difference here is I use the photo and my column, not just the photo. So I’m not getting a complex, I just know how fierce the competition is. And of course, I have this column, which had appeared over the past ten years, to keep me busy.


    Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com