Male Actors, Give Directors Options with your Facial Hair

This blog is for the male actor out there. That’s right… YOU! You, guy, man, dude, gent, hottie, stud, XY. It’s all about you because I’m a guy and I can talk about guy stuff. What are we talking about today?

What you look like and when.

Stay with me.


When working on a theatrical production it’s easy. Someone says “We need you to grow your hair (head or facial) out for the production. Would that be possible?” to which you reply “Sure, no problem,” and you begin the process.

I should note that not all men can grow facial hair so sometimes the reply is “Actually, I can’t grow facial hair very well,” to which the production gets into gear and finds the needed look in advance.

Whoohoo! Soooo easy. Right? Weeks later everything is in place and the production looks superb.


But, on-set it’s not so easy. And who is to say that what you looked like when you auditioned, met with the director, etc. you look the exact same? Maybe it’s the winter and you grow your beard as long as you can. Maybe you shave once a week because your skin in sensitive to the dreaded blades! Note: That’s me. Actually it’s more like once every 10-14 days.

Of course only a ca-razy person would change their hairstyle at random because of the cost to replace headshots, update websites, business cards, etc. Let’s not dive too deep into the waters. Let’s go back to shore.

Facial hair. It can be your best friend if you’ve grown it out. Use it to your advantage. Here’s how. =)

It’s simple, before the shoot takes place, email the director a picture of what you look like at that present time and a picture of your headshot with the opposite look. You have longer sideburns now? Or maybe a goatee? Who knows, you may have been having fun and grown a mustache.

“But Gar,” you ask “how does this help me?”

Directors, love, options. Love, love, love, love, <3. Give them the option that gives back. Did I just type that? I did and I’m running with it.

Recently, aka about 2 weeks ago, I took part in a 48 Hour Film Project. I sent the director, someone I’d never worked with before (To learn the complete history of my relationship with the director read this blog I posted yesterday),  a picture (using PhotoBooth) of what I looked like saying:

Question for you regarding my look. At the moment I look like this (attached) but when shaved I look like this (also attached).

I’ll hold off on shaving until late Friday/early Saturday morning if you’d like a clean look or I simply won’t shave and you’ll have the non-shaved look. =)

The (shortened) reply:

Nice, thank you Gary for this Email… I would keep the current look and we’ll see what your part will call for on Friday evening when we write the story.

What I learned from the email:

  1. I gave the director two options
  2. I shouldn’t shave
  3. The director appreciated my reaching out to him

All good things.

Did I shave or did you keep the facial hair?

Both. “Both?” Yep, both. In spoiler free order?

Objects of TimeObjects of TimeThese two screenshots from “Objects of Time” (aka the winner of the New Haven 48 HFP for: Best Film, Best Directing, Best Acting, Best Writing, Best Editing, Best Cinematography and Audience Award) will show you how we took opportunity and pwned it. (That’s not a type-o.)

I digressed a teeny bit didn’t I. =) How could I not? Best Film! Best Acting! Boom!!!

As you can see, both options were used.

On-set the order of how things are shot isn’t important but the opportunity to shoot something IS!

I offered to shave my hair even shorter than it is in the screenshots if it would help the film. The offer was welcomed but we didn’t have time..

Looking back

  • What would have been done in place of the facial hair option if it wasn’t available?
  • Would we have found another way to do what we needed?

Unanswerable questions. But questions like these are the things we ask ourselves after shooting. “Ugh, if only blah blah blah.” Hindsight, right?

In summary, a TL; DR, blurb to think about…

When you, good sir, have any type of facial, hair email the director, etc. you’re about to work with a photograph of your present look and ask if you should keep it or remove it.

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