Gifts for Your Model or Actor

Gifts for Your Model or ActorYou’re not a photographer. You’re not a director. You can’t offer your model or actor friend the gig they want. Luckily, though, both models and actors do need practical things that you can gift them with to help them get that much closer to touching the stars.

More Makeup

Both actors and models rely on good makeup for stage and film. Even if you can’t afford a full Ben Nye set, most have two or three things they’d like to add to an already large set they’ve amassed over the years. Ask them if they’re in need of a new brush or a special foundation. More importantly, though, be sure to ask them what brand, if any, since makeup can be a very personal choice.


Like makeup, headshots have to be traded out regularly to capture the current look. While a good one might be able to last a maximum of three years, headshots are an investment that can really set an actor or model back financially. If you are a generous gift giver, headshots are a fantastic way to help them curb a big expense.

Better Equipment

Actor or model, professionals always have equipment. For the actor, that could be a camera or microphone used to film auditions. For the model, it could be a camera used to practice poses at home. Either way, there are probably a few things they would enjoy upgrading during the holiday season. Like with the makeup, talk with them about what they use and if they’re hoping to upgrade. In the end, it might be that they aren’t looking for upgrades so much as inexpensive add-ons to make their work easier.

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The First Movie Stars

The First Movie StarsThe film industry is relatively young, really only getting going in the early 1900s. Despite this youth, major movie stars arose almost as soon as there were audiences to fill seats. By the 1910s, Hollywood was already pumping out household names.

Florence Lawrence

Born in Ontario, Lawrence began performing on the vaudeville stage with her mother at the young age of three. In 1906, she was cast in her first movie role because she knew how to ride a horse. From there, the rest is history. She is now recognized as the first movie star and went on to appear in over 300 films during her lifetime.

Mary Pickford

Around this same time emerged Mary Pickford, born Gladys Louise Smith. Awarded the second ever Academy Award in 1929, she did much to set up the Hollywood we know today, including acting as co-founder of United Artists and as one of the founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

King Baggot

King Baggot carries the title of the first male lead America celebrated even though he would evolve to become a popular name across the globe. Like Lawrence, he would appear in over 300 movies, but unlike Lawrence, he dabbled in screenwriting and directing during his time in Hollywood.

Judy Garland

With the influx of sound, many silent film actors felt themselves unable to keep up. It was in this vacuum of power that Garland entered and stole the world’s heart. Trained in the vaudevillian arts like so many early film stars, she was unique in that she had a contralto voice unlike any other. Able to dance, sing and act, Garland remained a prominent Hollywood figure until her death at the young age of 47.

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Learning Lines

Learning LinesMemorization is an essential for every actor, whether you prefer to perform on stage or in front of a camera. Many, however, also find this to be the most challenging part. Luckily, technology is changing all of that with apps designed specifically for line memorization.

Script Rehearser Free – Android

For those in need of a more economical script memorization app, Script Rehearser Free is arguably one of the best on the market. Once a script is loaded, you have access to a text reader that will recite your partner’s lines to you so that you can practice speaking back. You can even skip areas you know very well or repeat scenes that are giving you trouble. Like most free apps, there are a few bugs but nothing that can’t be overcome.

Off Book! – iOS

Another free app, Off Book! is a great option for the iPhone users of the acting world. What makes it unique, however, is its reliance on aural memorization rather than text. To set it up, you simply record the scene you want to practice. Once done, you now can add your own unique edits by either muting your lines, cueing your lines or just letting everything play through to the end. While the set up may take some time, it’s the perfect companion for the actor that learns best by listening.

My Lines – iOS

Costing only $1.99, My Lines is a tool developed specifically for actors. In it, the entire script is shown with your parts highlighted. When ready, these lines can then be turned off so that the script is still there but you see blank space where your lines should be. On top of this, all lines can be recorded to provide you with both a visual and aural means of practice.

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How to Learn Accents

How to Learn AccentsHaving at least one or two accents under your belt increases your marketability. Luckily, there are ways to learn and practice accents without needing to dump money into a language coach. So long as you can master the basics, you’ll have no trouble picking up new accents.

Find a Phrase

Actors enjoy a certain level of mimicry. This is the key to unlocking an accent. In order to put themselves into the mindset of a specific accent, voice actors have single lines they say that help them easily jump into a specific way of speaking. Find a line you like, mimic it and then continue talking for as long as you can hold up the accent for.

Study the Face

Speaking is an extremely physical activity. Not only does it require the inner workings of your larynx but also your lips, tongue and jaw. Once you have a few accents you feel you’re decent at, watch native speakers and mimic their facial movements. Do they open their mouths wide? How do they move their lips? Can you see any peculiarities with how they hold their tongues? All of these minute changes only add to how legitimate the accent sounds and looks.

Record Yourself Reading

The key to pulling off a convincing accent is knowing it so well it seems natural. To reach this level, however, you’ll need to actually be that comfortable with the accent. At least once a week, record yourself reading the newspaper or a book in your new accent. Listen to the take and note what you like and what you don’t like. The next time you use it, practice improving the weaker parts of the accent until you reach a level of proficiency you’re happy with.

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Your Acting Type

Your Acting TypeAs an actor, you’re expected to be able to fill virtually any role presented to you. It’s the ultimate game of pretend. Yet even with this requirement, we have all worked with those that can only seem to do one thing. Sure, they do their one thing really, really well, but it doesn’t exactly provide them with a diverse roster to choose from. On the same note, there are those that never seem to get the lead and are forever filling out side parts. That’s because, in the acting world, there are really only two types of actors – the straight actor and the character actor.

Playing it Straight

When you think of a straight actor, you think sought after lead roles like Hamlet or Lady Macbeth. These actors have perfected the art of being able to apply gravitas to any situation regardless of how absurd it might appear to the outside world. They are master wordsmiths that can evoke tears or relief simply by changing the inflection of how they say one word in a line. Of the greats, Sir Ian McKellen and Dame Judy Dench top this list.

Acting the Character

If a straight role isn’t your thing, then you’re no doubt a character actor. Everything you do is big and creative. You can take a single line and craft a role around it so entrancing that the audience goes wild every time you come on stage. It’s a gift as much as it is a curse. Character actors rarely find themselves in leading roles. They become craftsmen of altering their appearance to fit whatever creation they’re currently mastering. In today’s film industry, Gary Oldman stands as one of the best in the business.

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A History of the Supermodel

A History of the SupermodelSupermodels are those women that define a generation’s fashion. They are the face of that era’s haute couture. Originally coined back in 1890, the term as we know it today didn’t take on its modern appearance until the 1940s when the first true supermodel proved just how influential a beautiful face could be.

Lisa Fonssagrives

Born in Sweden, Fonssagrives is credited as the world’s first supermodel. She was paid double the industry’s typical fare and worked with the most influential photographers at the time, including Richard Avedon and Erwin Blumenfeld.


Up next was the world renowned British androgynous model. She was the first to popularize a tiny frame and doll-like features. To speak to her success, there was even a Barbie made in her likeness.

Jean Shrimpton

Even with Twiggy’s tiny figure, though, Shrimpton found no trouble forging on ahead to be referred to as “the face of the Swinging Sixties”. Tall and slim, she popularized the mini skirt and appeared in a British Vogue editorial that still resounds throughout the fashion world to this day.

Margaux Hemingway

The great granddaughter of author Ernest Hemingway, Margaux shattered all financial expectations in the modeling world in 1975 when she landed a million-dollar contract with Faberg, the first ever. She even found partial success as an actress for a brief period of time.

The Big Five – Campbell, Crawford, Evangelista, Schiffer, Turlington

Throughout the late ‘80s and on into the new century, the world stood at the forefront of a perfect storm of fierce feminine beauty that forever redefined the supermodel. Boasting six-figure paychecks, flaunting beauty moles, destroying the race barrier and showing versatility that had never been seen before, these five women took over every aspect of the modeling industry and beyond. Their faces, to this day, remain recognizable the world over.

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Body Types: Dressing the Male Form

Body Types: Dressing the Male FormDressing for your shape is not just a fashion term for women. Much like females store their bulk differently, so do males, and knowing how your shape is the key to finding a look that is impossible to ignore.


The more masculine of the shapes, rhomboids have wide shoulders, a wide chest and hips that are almost as wide. Congratulations, you can pull off pretty much anything. Just make sure that you have your outfits fitted for maximum haute couture.

Inverted Triangle

Inverted triangles are much more extreme than rhomboids with broad shoulders and a broad chest but a noticeably smaller waist. V-neck tops and slim-cut bottoms are the best since one will draw attention to the top while the other will add mass to the bottom. Avoid skinny pants and any tops that over emphasize your already wide shoulders.


A straight line down the side from top to bottom, your shoulders and hips are the same width. Ideally, you’ll want a fashion that widens the shoulders and thins the hips. Layered shirts with circular necklines do a lot to create this illusion. Drop clothes that emphasize rectangular looks, such as double-breasted jackets.


Narrow at the shoulders but wide at the hips, triangles can feel challenged when trying to find a fashion that fits. In this case, your goal is to slim the bottom and widen the top for a more classically masculine profile. Step one is to always have good fitting clothes. Make sure you have a trusted tailor for this. Next, structured tops, like certain blazers, add a lot of strength to the upper body. Avoid horizontal stripes and do not invest in skinny jeans since these will only emphasize your larger waist.

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Body Types: Dressing the Female Form

Body Types: Dressing the Female FormBodies are different from person to person. Some of us were blessed with large breasts, a small waist and large hips while others merely got the large hips. Luckily, fashion is on your side. So long as you understand the shape category your body fits, you can use clothes to accentuate your assets and hide your hang ups.


As an apple, you are wider up top with a bust that runs bigger than the hips. To make the most of this distribution, wear clothes that pull attention away from your stomach. V-necks are a must as are flared pants since both add attention to the top and bottom. If you want to cover up curves you don’t like, avoid anything tight at the waist in favor of tops that drape.


The opposite of the apple, pears are thin at the bust but wide at the hips. To make this look work, clothes that add to the chest and upper body will be your goal. Avoid pants that draw attention to the hips (such as those that flare) and definitely invest in a bra that enhances the bust.


As the most common body type, shopping is not very challenging. With this shape, your bust, waist and hips are all about the same size. Because you lack a waist, anything that pinches there is a great option since it creates the illusion of curves. Avoid boy clothes. Ruffles and frills are your friends.


The rarest of them all, hourglass bodies have busts large enough to match the hips complimented by a narrow waist. Embrace these curves by avoiding anything that would hide them. Wear form fitting clothes and invest in a good bra to keep the girls from appearing to sag.

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Decoding Acting

Decoding ActingOf all the artistic industries, acting is one of the most prolific when it comes to inventing terms to describe oddities only found on the stage. This is hardly surprising, however, since so much of their livelihood revolves around playing with language.

Agent – Most professional actors have an agent. This handler is the person responsible for getting the actor in contact with film or theater companies for auditions. Should the actor be hired, the agent negotiates the financial aspect of the contract.

Blocking – On stage or film, actors are told where to stand, what to do at certain moments and when to enter and exit. All of these directions are called blocking.

Booking – In short, a booking is a job. When an actor is booked, they are hired.

Cold Reading – When an actor is asked to read from a script with little to no preparation, as is common in film, they are asked to do a cold read.

Downstage/Upstage/Stage Right/Stage Left – In theater, stage directions are reversed. Downstage means closer to the front of the stage. Upstage means further to the back. Stage right means the left of the stage from the audience’s perspective. Stage left means the right.

Headshot – An actor’s business card, the headshot is typically an 8×10 close up of their face that should always be a current reflection of how they look. Sometimes their resume is printed on the back.

Off Book – This refers to having all of the performance’s lines memorized so that the actor can recite everything without holding the book of the script.

Projection – When asked to project more, an actor is being told to speak louder.

Strike – The strike is what happens following the final performance or final scene when everything is dismantled and packed away.

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Decoding Modeling

Decoding ModelingTo understand an industry, one must first understand its language. Though most newcomers are slowly introduced to these terms as they work longer in the field, there is still a beginner’s hump to overcome where everything you read or hear sounds like it’s in an entirely different language.

Agency – This is a company that represents you as a model. Model Agencies more specifically represent models for the fashion industry while Casting Agencies represent talent for numerous fields and tend to get models other types of jobs.

Buyout – Occasionally negotiated before a shoot or occasionally already included in the contract, this is payment given to the model for the use of their photographs.

Composite Card – This is your business card in the modeling world. It is a piece of thick card that has at least two photos of you printed on it as well as your and your agency’s information.

Head Sheet – Basically a head shot (as is used in the acting world), this is a small poster with a close-up shot of the model’s face printed alongside the model’s and their agency’s information.

Model Release – Arguably one of the most important aspects of the job to understand, this release is the legal document that allows the photographer to use the photographs taken during a specific shoot.

Prints – These are the printed negatives of a photo or series of photos.

Tearsheet – Often required by media buying agencies, a tearsheet is a page torn from a publication used to prove that a specific advertisement was published.

Usage – Another legal term, usage denotes the fact that models are paid each time and for each medium their photograph is used. From magazines to billboards, the longer and more widespread the photo, the more the model is paid.

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