What is Type?

By Webmaster

  • What is Type?

    You have to know exactly what you’re selling in order to consistently make the sale

    (by Tonya Tannenbaum)

    An actor’s “type” generally refers to the category or categories that the actor is loosely placed in for purposes of casting. An actor’s type is useful for narrowing down which actors, among the vast sea of potential actors, might fit the breakdown of a role being cast. Sometimes referred to as an actor’s “niche”, type is also useful for actors in their understanding of where they fit into the market, relative to other actors.

    Breaking down “Type”

    All theatrical presentation is based on an audience’s ability to suspend disbelief. That is, audiences understand that the production they are experiencing is make-believe. They understand the character in The Martian, for example, is not really on the planet, Mars, and that the character, Mark Watney, is actually the famous actor, Matt Damon. But the audience suspends their disbelief in order to accept this imaginary world and enjoy the story.

    However, this suspension of disbelief can only go so far. The imaginary world still must be genuinely believable. Otherwise the audience will reject the imaginary world altogether.

  • What if, for example, the role of Mark Watney in The Martian was cast, not with Matt Damon, but with an actor who looks 18 years of age; too young to realistically be the astronaut, Mark Watney? The audience would, of course, reject the story wholesale, because the 18-year-old astronaut is simply not plausible in that story.

    This is where type comes into play. An actor’s type plays an essential role in the casting process. Because, no matter how talented an actor is, he or she can only, believably, play a limited number of roles.

  • Criteria for “Type”

    As an actor, you probably already know what criteria generally make up an actor’s type. They are the key physical and personality factors that are usually laid out in breakdowns. They include things like:

    Gender – male or female

    Age range – whether an actor appears to fall within the general age range of the character

    Race – whether an actor appears to fit within the racial background of the character

    • Physical build – whether an actor fits the size, height, weight and overall dimensions required for the character

    • Look – whether the audience can immediately identify an actor as fitting with the character’s personality and profession, such as lawyer, doctor, grandfather, geek, affluent, arrogant, etc.

  • Type is important for casting

    Casting must choose actors who can believably fit the roles being cast. While there is lots of room for creativity and deviation, casting, nonetheless, must choose an actor who fits the breakdown well-enough for audiences to take the character, and the overall story, seriously.

    Type is one of the first things casting directors examine when determining from whom to request a self-tape or to bring in for an in-person audition.

    If an actor does not fit the essence of the character as described in the breakdowns, the casting director will likely move on to the next actor.

    While there are always exceptions made during the casting process, actors rarely get cast outside of a small collection of roles.

    Type is also important for casting because it narrows the field of potential actors, making it easier to find and cast the right actor in a role that is right for them and for the story.

  • Type is important for actors, too

    Understanding “type” is important for actors, as well. Since actors can only believably play a limited number of characters, knowing your type is essential to effectively finding and competing for the roles that are right for you.

    Auditioning for roles that you’re not right for is usually a waste of time, since it is very unlikely that you’ll be cast in a role that doesn’t fit your type.

    It is the proverbial fitting of a square peg into a round hole. If you constantly audition for roles that don’t fit your type, your success rate will suffer, no matter how talented you are. There are just some roles an actor cannot do or, at least, cannot do nearly as well as another actor who better fits the type that the role demands.

    It is also a waste of resources. Auditioning for roles that don’t fit your type is a waste of money, effort, and focus. Knowing where you effectively fit into the marketplace – your type – makes it easier to concentrate your resources and to find success. In other words, you have to know exactly what you’re selling in order to consistently make the sale.


  • You Might Also Like:
    What is a “Cold Read”?


     

    Recommended Posts

  • Ad

  • What is Scale?

    Understanding the Scale Decoding Acting Salaries in the Entertainment Industry (By Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Karolina Grabowski | Pexels) In the intricate world of acting, compensation is often discussed in terms of “scale.” This…

    What is a Meal Penalty?

    What is a Meal Penalty? The specifics of meal penalties can vary, but here are some common elements (By Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Lukas | Pexels) A meal penalty in acting refers to a…

    What is the Entertainment Community Fund?

    What is the Entertainment Community Fund? The Entertainment Community Fund provides help in various forms (By Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Monstera Production | Pexels) The Entertainment Community Fund, for the Actors Fund, is a…

    What is Method Acting?

    What is Method Acting? Exploring the World of Method Acting: Techniques and Principles (By Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Genarlo Servin/Pexels) Method acting is a renowned and influential approach to acting that has produced some…

    What is Craft Service?

    What is Craft Service? Exploring the Role of Craft Services in the Entertainment Industry (By Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Craig Adderley | Pexels) In the fast-paced world of filmmaking and entertainment production, ensuring that…

  • Ad

  • What is a Stand-In?

    What is a Stand-In? The Role of a Stand-In in Filmmaking (By Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Ron Lach | Pexels) A stand-in is a person hired on a film or television production to substitute…

    What is a Booking?

    What is a Booking? Understanding Booking in Acting: What It Means and Why It Matters (By Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Cottonbro Studio | Pexels) In the world of acting, the term “booking” holds significant…

    What is a Dress Rehearsal?

    What is a Dress Rehearsal? The Importance and Purpose of Dress Rehearsals in the Performing Arts (By Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Cottonbro | Pexels) In the world of theater, dance, and other performing arts,…

  • Ad

  • What is a Casting Notice?

    What is a Casting Notice? Casting notices are the initial bridge between casting directors and actors (By Carmichael Phillips) (By AbsolutVision on Unsplash) A casting notice, also known as a casting call or…

    What is a Table Read?

    What is a Table Read? A “table read” is a crucial step in the pre-production process (By Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Alex Green | Pexels) A table read, also known as a script reading…

    What is the Stanislavski System?

    What is the Stanislavski System? A Deep Dive into Acting’s Most Influential Technique (By Tonya Tannenbaum) (Konstantin Stanislavski) The Stanislavski System, also known as Stanislavski’s Method or Stanislavski’s System, is a groundbreaking and…

    What is a Short Film?

    What is a Short Film? Short films are a dynamic component of the filmmaking landscape (By Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Ron Lach | Pexels) A short film is a brief cinematic work that tells…

    What is a Call Time?

    What is a Call Time? Understanding Call Time in the Entertainment Industry (By Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Icons8 Team/Unsplash) In the world of entertainment, whether it’s a film set, a theater production, or a…

  • Ad

  • What is a Monologue?

    What is a Monologue? What are some types of monologues? (By Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Genarlo Servin/Pexels) A monologue is a dramatic or literary form of expression in which a character delivers a speech,…

    What is Actors’ Equity Association?

    What is Actors’ Equity Association? Demystifying the guardian of theater professionals (By Jim Webb) In the world of live theater, actors, stage managers, and performers rely on an organization that champions their rights,…

    The Basics of the Alexander Technique

    The Basics of the Alexander Technique How the Alexander Technique Can Empower Actors (By Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Karolina Grabowska | Pexels) Acting is a demanding craft that requires not only exceptional talent but…

  • Ad

  • What is a Director of Photography?

    What is a Director of Photography? Demystifying the Role of the D.P. (By Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Vanilla Bear Films | Unsplash) In the world of filmmaking, a symphony of creative minds comes together…

    15 Types of Voiceover Acting Work

    15 Types of Voiceover Acting Work Your Guide to a Diverse Industry (By Jim Webb) (Photo: Gianandrea Villa/Unsplash) The world of voiceover acting is a dynamic and diverse field that offers a wide…

    Important Theatre Definitions Every Actor Should Know

    Important Theatre Definitions Every Actor Should Know Familiarize yourself with these key theatre terms (By Javier Guerra) (Photo: Cottonbro | Pexels) As an aspiring actor, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with key theatre…

    What is a Commercial Headshot?

    What is a Commercial Headshot? The importance of a commercial headshot (By Jim Webb) (Photo: Marcelo Chagas | Pexels) A commercial headshot is an 8×10 photo that is designed to help an actor…

    Theatre Acting vs. Film Acting

    Theatre Acting vs. Film Acting What’s the main difference? (By Tonya Tannenbaum) (Photo: Erik Mclean/ Unsplash) The same habits you picked up as a theatre actor may cause you a lot of pain,…

  • Ad