Know Your Acting Niche

By Darryl Green

  • Know Your  Niche!
    Understanding Your Niche As An Actor…

    The giant casting machine is a conservative piece of equipment.  The cautious selections it frequently makes are based not on talent alone, but on prevailing, or popular notions.

    For instance, your appearance, from the way you dress and speak to the way you carry yourself, is what’s called your “type” or niche–how the people who run the machine instantly classify you and your acting style.  More often than not, your niche coincides with someone currently in the mainstream.  For example, they use popular presumptions like the following to identify you: An impulsive, passionate Anne Heche type.  Or, the opposite: a reflective Meryl Streep type.  As a male, you may be viewed as a low-key, nearly self-effacing type like Tobey Maguire or a rebellious, edgy Matt Dillon.  What this boils down to, is they wouldn’t normally cast Matt Dillon as a country boy because his mannerisms wouldn’t plausibly fit.  Likewise, it would be difficult to accept Tobey Maguire as an inner city gang leader.

    In a manner of speaking, you might say this is safe, uncreative image casting, not acting casting.  Be that as it may, it’s the way it works.  Knowing your niche therefore, is essential to landing more parts.

    Up to now, you may have thought of yourself as a leading man, but your quirkiness may put you in the niche of a comic relief player.  If you’re a female, you might think you’ve been perceived as a professional career woman but your soft, wholesome features make you look more like a young mother.  Playing to ways that oppose how you’re viewed hampers your chances.  The conservative machine can’t get a “fix” on just who you are and consequently, what role you’re truly appropriate for.

    If you’re not absolutely sure about your niche, ask other actors and especially your agent about how you “come across.”  If you can obtain a clear picture of this, you can enhance your performances by gracefully playing with that picture, not undermining your efforts by struggling against it.  And just as important, you can arrange for your headshots to play into this whole niche aspect by dressing in an appropriate style of wardrobe for your photo shoot.

    Winning Auditions is a systematic guide that helps actors immediately increase their callbacks and booking rates. Hollywood Producer Bob Fraser wrote, “This baby belongs in every portfolio or knapsack of every actor on the planet!” 

    For further tips and tools to build your career, visit

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