Your type and why it matters
Equally as important for an actor as knowing yourself is knowing your type.
You may hate this phrase as you can play many types and it places you in a limited and limiting box and you may especially despise the concept of typecasting. But surely the casting part of the word is the most important for you?
It is essential that you pinpoint your type and market yourself towards it as this will get you farther faster. What is the logic behind this? It is not simply about whether you can play professionals or blue collar individuals. It is deeper than that. Quite simply, knowing your type will help the people tasked to cast the project to find you. It helps you market yourself efficiently with head shots, reels and websites honed on who you are. If you are an action type then show this but if you are not then don't falsely flatter yourself. If you play nerdy, overweight, insecure, balding geeks there are plenty of roles for you so let people know you exist and that is your type. It's not as if you are still at school when those things mattered (or at least they felt like they did at the time). Now it will earn you money! If you are not a leading man/woman then please help yourself by not promoting yourself as such. Glamorous head shots will only disappoint casting people if they don't represent the true you when you walk in the room.
Look for your unique selling points and what makes you stand out. Wielding an axe is not as important if you are targeting sitcoms as it is for Game of Thrones.
Your age is as old as you look so if you are really 30 but look 40 then that is what you will be considered for. Ask people how old they think you look.
Self-awareness is key but it is worth checking in with other people as to how they see you. Are you funny, serious, shy, neurotic, energetic, frustrated, elegant, complex, condescending, cynical, charming, chatty, adventurous and so on and so forth?
In her book Self-Management for Actors, Bonnie Gillespie provides a comprehensive list of characteristics which you can use to pinpoint what she calls your bull's-eye. Whatever makes you you.
Your type may be the opposite of who you really are as a person but if it gets you work and draws the casting process towards you then who really cares!
It's not about all you can do, it's about what you do best. It's what makes you stand out from the crowd. If you are targeting a new agent and are specific and sure of the characters you will be called in for, it will make it easier for them to identify whether you will fit in to their list. Knowing your type is often referred to as knowing your brand. You may feel that as an artist this is way too corporate but it will benefit you to recognise and enjoy this mindset. It will set you up for the right parts and increase your booking to audition ratio. It will help you spend your time efficiently as well as show the industry that you are self-aware, serious and that you understand the business side of show business. You will not waste their time trying to squeeze yourself into roles which simply do not fit.