A Big Life: Encouragement for People in the Arts –
She told me there was a new casting director on the show and that I should call ABC. I shook in my shoes at the idea, but because I did so, I was called in to meet a dynamic newcomer who would later turn producer and win an Emmy.
Stacey Raider was her name and she liked me but she was appalled at my headshot, which she explained did not capture me or reflect the extent of my prettiness.
She hired me anyway. After all, it’s getting in the room that matters, right?
But of course, we all want to get into lots of rooms. Through the years with Stacey’s voice in my ear, I kept trying to get the right headshot. Most professional photographers of that era tended to take their photos in stylized ways so that agents and directors would know they took them. As a result, nothing ever really looked like me. At least not me at my best.
In addition, Black & White was the standard at the time. That might work for a raven haired porcelain-skinned beauty, but there was no way B&W could capture my peachy cheeks and freckles, strawberry-colored hair or the glints of green in my brown eyes. So I decided to defy the formal convention of the time: I blasted the industry with a candid color shot by an amateur.
Everybody called me in.
My bold choice in the B&W era got me noticed but it wasn’t the only thing that got that informal photo a second glance. I looked adorable because the photographer liked me and took his time with me. Since then I have learned that it helps if the photographer knows you or at least gets you out of the studio and talks to you a lot between shots so he or she can see the real you.
My family, friends and boyfriends always have taken my best photos. Don’t get me wrong, these were photographers who were very good with faces. My father’s favorite hobby was capturing people all over the world at their most authentic. He constantly talked with famed landscape photographer Christopher Burkett, who mentored him in using Cibachrome.
If you have a photographer in your life who knows you reasonably well–or best of all is in love with you–you have a better chance to get a photo which makes people give you a call. There will be something about it that people like. And once you get a good shot (I’ve had three in my life) for heaven’s sake use it for as long you reasonably can–and by that I mean a few years. A nice little side perk to all of this is that you don’t need to spend a lot of money.
The inglorious photo I took to All My Children that day didn’t stop Stacey from hiring me over and over again.
I did lots of little speaking parts on the show and worked several times a month as background.
I also worked as a reader for actors who came in to audition.
Eventually I auditioned for a contract role and ultimately, nailed a small recurring U5 part in several episodes.
Guess what part I played?
A photographer named Sally!