Kwaku Boateng was accepted into the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain (NYT) and performed in plays like “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They” with the NYT in 2000 at the Apollo Theatre in Shaftsbury Avenue, London. He attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London, UK from 2000-2003. His professional acting career has seen him in acclaimed and award-winning theater productions, from world tours to West End productions. He has worked in TV, theater, radio, and films such as ‘Warner Brothers,” ‘Batman Begins’, ‘Beasts of No Nation’, ‘Ultimate Force’, ‘Cargo’, ‘The Cursed Ones,” and more.
He was an acting teacher at the Identity School of Acting in London, the first black drama school in London. At Identity, he taught acting to rising Hollywood stars such as John Boyega (the lead actor in Star Wars, Attack the Block) and more. He also taught Malachi Kirby (the lead actor who played Kunta Kinte in the most recent adaptation of Roots).
Upon moving to Ghana, he set up K. Boateng Academy of Performing Arts, a vocational training center for students 18+ to learn the art of screen and theater acting using a range of acting approaches and techniques. He went on to establish the Aim Higher corporate training program using developmental drama as a tool for solving issues and challenges within corporate institutions and beyond.
Kwaku Boateng also runs a handful of creative companies. A drama academy for children, Helen O’Grady Drama Academy in Accra, now run by Vivian Boateng (no relation) , Kasa Mfoni, a creative arts, networking, and showcasing organization for people who work in film and theater; Academy Talent Management & Casting Agency (the casting agency that discovered Abraham Atta and many other quality actors in Ghana); Kwaku is a private acting coach for film and theater, and now starting to build up experience and training as a producer for stage & screen, radio/audiodrama, and a director for stage and audiodrama in the UK, Ghana, and Europe.
In our interview with key industry professionals who inspire us, we welcome a creatively multifaceted talent, Casting Director Kwaku Boateng Ankomah of Academy Talent Management & Casting Agency, who discovered Abraham Attah and other actors from “Beasts of No Nation” as he shares his experiences and more with DNAcheampong.
DNAcheampong – Let’s Start By Talking About Your Beginnings: How Did You Get Into The Industry As A Casting Director?
Kwaku Boateng – I had been recommending the right actors for productions while I was living in the UK and for some time in Ghana. It really got bigger when I was called by Ama K. Abebrese regarding a project coming to Ghana in which Idris Elba and the director Cary Joji Fukunaga were touted to be on, stating that they needed someone to handle the casting, and she felt I was right for the job..
DNAcheampong – What Goes Into Selecting A Shortlist Of Actors For A Role?
Kwaku Boateng – To answer this, it must be made clear that it all depends on the demands and style of the director and producers. Some might want you to see literally thousands of people for one role, while others want just a handful of people to be seen for a certain role. Each project thus differs in the process slightly. In general, speaking mainly in experiences in Ghana, I would speak with the director to know their vision for what they want for each of the characters, but not necessarily all, especially bit parts, etc. I would then write up a character breakdown for as many of the characters being auditioned as possible. I would include as much information as I am able to on the project itself. This would be sent out via our social media platforms and all other platforms that cater to castings within the region I’m working in. We would then start getting submissions coming in in relation to the breakdown sent out. We will then invite actors in for an audition for specific roles. If we feel an actor suits the character and gives a great performance, they will be shortlisted. Their tapes are sent to the director to be seen, and the director decides whether we should bring them back in for an audition, usually with the director and producer present. If it’s for a lead or supporting role, an actor may come in several times to read from different parts of the script and/or to have a chemistry read with another actor who is being considered as their co-lead actor. Once the director and producers believe they have seen all they need to see after these callbacks, the director will notify us of his or her choice for the roles. We will then notify the actor and make an official offer of the role to their them on behalf of their representative. Sometimes at this step, after sending out breakdowns and inviting actors for auditions, if we feel we haven’t found what we need, we may advertise for an open audition. Of course, sometimes we do not get who we wanted for our first choice for a role because that actor may not be available, so we would then have to look at other choices. All these affect the shortlisting stage. Also, keep in mind that some roles are much harder to cast than others, for whatever reason due to the attributes needed are not present in the region the casting is happening etc, e.g (and this is an extreme example) a white Scottish family, all with ginger hair, playing the lead in a Ghanaian feature film, may prove extremely challenging to cast, not just because they are white and Scottish, but because they are play lead roles and for that experience working in front of the camera may be needed possibly.
DNAcheampong – What Are The Qualities You Look For When Auditioning Actors And Something Actors Knew In The Audition?
Kwaku Boateng – When auditioning actors, there are basic procedures that need to be adhered to by the actor. For example, it is standard that actors have a professional headshot and acting CV (resume) to submit either via their agent or manager, via an online talent directory representing them, such as Casting Africa in Ghana, or by themselves. They should really endeavor to have a show reel made of only material from their onscreen work that is quality and the latest work they have worked on. It doesn’t matter if it’s one piece of work, as long as it’s quality work and possibly the latest work you have done. Obviously, pick quality work over your latest work. After this, when you walk into the room, chat with us, and perform, we are looking at your physicality, your visible personality, and your performance skills. Do your traits lend themselves to the characters? The qualities we look out for when auditioning are how well actors take direction from the person conducting the audition. Do they listen to instructions, follow them, and put them into practice, or do they listen without truly understanding and act the scene the exact same way again? We look out for prepared actors. If you are an actor who has been fortunate enough to be given the full screenplay or playtext, we expect you to fully read the script, really understand it, and the themes within the script. They understand their characters journeys throughout the screenplay and have grasped a real sense of other characters and their journeys too. They have really imbibed the whole screenplay and have their own views of what they think their character is about and what they think the screenplay is trying to say. We look for actors with qualities that show they are versatile and up for a challenge. They can give us a view of the character from about three different perspectives. They are willing to try a whole new shift psychologically, emotionally, and physically in the audition room. They are bold and daring in their choices. Actors who say ‘yes’ and Offcourse, you must have qualities to be a very good communicator and expressive tools, both physically and emotionally. Actors who make themselves available and present themselves fully during auditions are usually more invested in their scenes. Learning the sides given to you before an audition, especially if it’s 24 hours or more before the audition, can be helpful though not mandatory unless stated in the casting info. Some casting directors and directors like you to be off-book; others like you to familiarize yourself well enough with the lines for the read to be organic. Sight-reading is a great quality to have and arguably one of the most important qualities for auditions.
For this part of the world specifically, I believe actors need to really research how to really succeed in the audition room. I will be organizing a 2-week workshop in December 2023 in Accra that is going to be both theory and practical based, covering a range of subjects for actors and directors in terms of directing the actor. Included in these workshops will be Conquering the Audition. It would include everything related to the audition itself and also the actor as a business. We will look at your headshots, CV, Showreels, acting coaching classes, sightreading, and much more. Please watch out for dates soon.
DNAcheampong – In General, How Long Should You Give Yourself To Cast A Film?
Kwaku Boateng – The casting director does not choose the amount of time they give themselves to cast a project. The casting of a project differs for many reasons. A lot of factors may be involved. It depends on when you got the job from the client and where they are in the production stage, e.g., has initial casting begun? Have they found the main leads? Are you filling up supporting, bit parts, and extras? Is the project international in scope, meaning you would have to potentially travel to another country to cast or hand the casting to another team in a host country? Are you working in an environment where there are systems in place to efficiently find actors for auditions, through their agent’s details online, on a website directory like Casting Africa, with actor’s info, pictures, CV, and showreel readily available to view at a click of a mouse? Is the pool of talent in general trained to a proficient level? Which will make it more efficient in finding quality actors, or are you dealing with a large pool of untrained talent? There are a lot of variables that will determine how long castings may take. A client might have a very short space of time to shoot and will need casting completed as fast as possible, whereas for other projects, you may well have the script a year or so before or at least be aware of the project before hand and have a good idea of the type of artists you will need to bring in. These will all determine how long you take. In general, casting directors like meeting talent, especially new and excitingly talented ones. They are also trying to find the perfect actors to cast ASAP, as they understand how much time and patience it takes to get through all the rounds of casting. They may have other projects looming and would not want the expected deadlines to be missed. Also, the medium you are working in will dictate the time spent on casting. If you are working on a short film as opposed to an epic feature franchise like Lord of the Rings, etc., the amount of time given and needed for casting will be different. Casting TV in general, such as serials and episodic shows, will have a different turnaround time than casting a feature. There isn’t really a set time.
DNAcheampong – How Much Does Personality Play Into Casting?
Kwaku Boateng – If I get you right, you are talking about the attitude the person brings into the audition room, rather than their general persona. If so, then offcourse, you should NEVER go into an audition room with a negative attitude. This will be the quickest way to never being seen again by a casting director, and coincidentally, they may talk and warn off others from you. You have no reason to go into a casting with an attitude. You should leave all your negative energy outside the room until you need to – if necessary, inject it into your performance. Even if you are playing a Negative, rude character, do not come into the room with that energy. The casting director and whoever else that is in the room need to know that you are someone who is actually nice enough to be around on set regardless of the role you are playing. Acting is a collaborative effort, so is stage and screen work. No matter how talented you are, if you have a negative energy, no director or producer would want to have you near their set, let alone on it. You may have heard of exceptions to this rule, but exceptions don’t make the rule. You need to go into an audition with positive energy when you are meeting the casting directors. You greet them and thank them after the audition for them inviting you in the first place.
DNAcheampong – Long Casting Sessions To Find Right Actors
Kwaku Boateng – Yes there are renowned films that have taken forever to find the right actor. One of the most challenging yet also rewarding casting experiences I have had, was working on ‘Beasts of No Nation’ as the initial main Casting Director. I met with Cary Fukunaga the Director, and the American and Ghanaian producers in 2013, months before production began, to discuss the vision Cary had for the script, the characters in the story and the type of actors they were looking for. At this stage Idris Elba was already attached. I was responsible, along with my team to cast all the other parts in the film. Cary’s main concern at the time was finding the young actors to be able to play ‘Agu’ and ‘Striker’, whilst offcourse populating the cast list of all the other characters needed to be cast. We discussed with Cary the type of places we may find such young actors with the sensibilities of the characters written in the script. Though we had nailed a few establishments to look at, nothing and nowhere was out of bounds, to a certain extent. We started casting late August/early September 2013, and full casting duties was taken over by Harrison Nesbitt (who flew in from the US), in April 2014.
Our journey began with going into international schools, and private schools and auditioning as many children as possible. We would then set up a vimeo account with Cary and send him the videos of the casting sessions for him to view in LA. This continued this way till Cary flew into Ghana during pre-production. We searched tirelessly for the right actor to play Agu. The team would initially consist of myself, Gifty Norbert my casting Assistant at the time, and the camera man for our auditions, Richard Cosmos. We had other interns and team members help us as time went on. We searched on streets, we attempted to search orphanages and later realized it would be very difficult to get a child from an orphanage to act in the films due to whatever legal complications there were and also possibly emotional and psychological trauma associated with acting in a story like this. We decided to search in government schools, and had to get an approved letter from GES (Ghana Education Service) to allow us to go into as many government schools. Altogether we auditioned over 4,000 children across all these areas.
As we sent children in and got feedback from Cary Fukunaga, in regards to suitability etc., we slowly managed to all come to a clearer understanding of the type of character we were looking for and where the sensibilities of such young actors would be based. We were limited, as there were no real training schools for children to learn acting apart from the one, I had just started operating, called Helen O’Grady Drama Academy (Now run by Vivian Boateng). We decided to look far and wide and ended up going to Kokumba, ‘Sodom and Gomorah’, Old Fadamah, Agbogbloshie. We had to get an ‘area guy’ to show us around and guide us after we convinced them we were not journalists from a local TV network but we were in fact casting for an independent Hollywood film. We explained that we needed certain types of young actors to try out for the lead. As they rounded up the boys and I saw Emmanuel Nii Adom, who is known in his area as ‘King Kong’, I had a strong gut feeling that he would be perfect for the character striker. I explained to them what they had to do, and they were to act out a scenario. In the scenario set them, I believe he may have had to confront a friend for something he had done. I remember that Emmanuel went straight ahead to try and punch the other boy, his local friend, and we stopped it immediately before this happened and explained that there would be no physical contact such as that and he was to expressively show us through his mannerisms, gestures, facial expressions, emotions. He did the scene again, and there was an authentic danger and rawness to his performance. I realized from that moment that he really could have a great chance of getting the role. I remember being extremely excited and couldn’t wait to send the tape to Cary. After all these kids we had seen, at least there looked like there was progress. We then sent the tapes to Cary, and I remember saying to Cary that, I think this could be our Striker. He replied optimistically and loved what he saw. He believed the young actor had a lot of the qualities for striker, and he asked us to carry on looking. We ended up going to the school that Emmanuel Nii Adom attended, and we conducted many auditions there for weeks. This was a very thorough process and proved extremely beneficial in the end, as a few of the kids who were also initially shortlisted for Strika and Agu from his school, ended up included in the film as part of the Small Boys Unit (SBU).
Whilst we went to schools and searched in areas such as ‘Sodom and Gommorah’ in the day, in the night we would be at the office uploading vimeo tapes to send to Cary. Due to the sheer load of people, we auditioned, it was an extremely tasking job; nonetheless we were glad we were making progress. On the days we were not auditioning in schools and other areas, we would be auditioning in our office, then in Adjiringanor, East Legon, and we could start auditions at 9am and finish at ridiculous times as 12am. There were actors who literally refused to leave the vicinity until they were seen as they travelled from the Northern region, Central, Volta region or Ashanti region, and they were not going to go back until they had been auditioned. This happened for weeks. A lot of people turned up as we had to open the auditions up to get a wide range of what we wanted.
As time went past, we were still not finding the character of Agu for the film. It was getting towards late February and early march and I remember one of the producers from America getting slightly worried that we had not found Agu still. For Strika, Cary shortlisted Emmanuel Nii Adom and some other kids whom I had to work with in more depth in terms of different scenes from the script acted out and we sending it to Cary. So we were more assured that Cary at least was settling on Emmanuel for Strika. We had Harrison Nesbit fly in from USA to help assist the casting. When he came, he asked if I know any other person that can help assist with the Extras department of casting as there was a lot to do in the casting department. I recommended Mawuko Kuadzi to Harrison Nesbit to be someone who would be able to help in that area. Myself and Harrison met Mawuko and some of the kids he works with and Mawuko came onboard to help with that.
We still hadn’t found Agu. Early one morning sitting in the office sending in tapes to Cary in LA, my Camera man for the auditions, Cosmos said, ‘Boss, why don’t we go to Ashaiman? It also has a lot of government schools.” I could not argue with him and we really wanted to make sure we had given a chance to as many places for the search of Agu. It must have been mid to late march that we went to Ashaiman cluster of schools and auditioned kids from the school. They would come out of their class; we would briefly interview them and then ask them to do something for the camera. It was amongst these kids that we interviewed Abraham Attah. He performed for us a rap. We sent all videos to Cary for it to be reviewed. At the start of April Harrison Nessbit took over casting for the project.
So, the casting process took around 7 months to complete. Undoubtedly, the most challenging thing is organizing castings for young children especially dealing with highly complex emotional content like the script ‘Beasts of no nation’ did, but again our systems not having a database to find such suitable actors, made the casting of the kids alone extremely strenuous though well worth it, and it was a lot of going out there in the hot sun and going into areas you may not necessarily think you would go into to cast, to get the job done. Sometimes we felt like location scouts! But in the end, it was well worth it.
DNAcheampong – When Are Actors Ready To Get Agents Etc.?
Kwaku Boateng – I believe in most cases more on the international circuit where systems are in place, the traditional way for actors to get agents would be after they have attended a drama school, which usually lasts 3 years, where they picked a vocational course of study which would be acting. In their 3rd year of studies, the students will put on shows for the public to come and watch. The shows could be as many as 8 shows in the year. Invited to these shows are agents, casting directors, producers, Studio executives, Head of drama and comedy etc. at various TV networks in the country. They are all there to find out who is the next big talent, and offcourse everyone wants to discover them first. As a student actor, you can take the initiative to write to all these people if you so wish, and invite them to your production. This is a huge step in the right direction. For agents specifically, again I cannot really relate it to our terrain here yet; I will come back to that; I want you to understand standard practice internationally, which would then put in perspective what is happening in Ghana. If you seek an agent outside let’s, say in the UK and you have gone to an accredited drama school, there are a list of top accredited agents/agencies (in the PMA – personal managers association) one can look at possibly joining. Please note – agents that are not in the PMA may also be quality.
The best thing to do is look at actors you really like and admire their work, actors you wish to emulate the type of work they do. Find out which agencies they are from, and then go to the website of the agency if they have one and look through the actors they have on their books? Are they similar to you? If they are not, send the agency an introductory letter, telling them why you want to be represented by them. It could be because of the quality of projects their clients do, the quality of clients on their books, and the influence their agency has nationally and internationally. You must be specific. You will be having a relationship with your agents based on them really knowing you and your work and capabilities and you need to be able to trust them. Once they attend your show, you meet them after the show to chat if they can stay, or follow up with a letter asking if you can come into their office for a chat after they saw you in the play. If an agent really likes your performance and you as a human being, they will send you a letter after your show asking to meet with them in their office. This is a gift and the result all graduating actors want.
That is the traditional approach. For people that did not manage to go to drama school for a variety of reasons, but have managed to keep up with their acting, through casting in professional plays and finding work through advertised stage and screen jobs and built up a portfolio of work for themselves, they can also send off a letter to such agents, though the response sometimes would be lacking due to the fact that they do not know your acting capability. The drama schools that agents go to watch plays are usually accredited, so they know the quality of the actors coming from there, in general. But you mustn’t let this stop you! You can definitely invite an agent to come and see your theatre play when you are playing a substantial enough part for them to judge your performance on. Then have a chat with them after. Actors have been signed up this way after inviting agents to watch them in theatre. Or if you have screen work, send them a showreel and they can watch it and decide if you are an actor suited for their agency. Sometimes some actors know they have to work on themselves first a lot more before getting an agent. An agent is business minded. They are looking for their percentage commission. You must be a viable asset as an actor to them so both you and your agent can eat. It may sound very ruthless but the basis is that if you are not making money for them on their books, you are useless to them. So, you need to work on yourself to have something of worth to sell as an actor. How many different faculties of your talent have you mastered? Radio play, TV commercials, Theatre, Comedy, Presenting, Shakespeare, Voice Overs. They need you to be versatile. These are the really important questions that will answer if you are ready. When you really have a load of skills in your toolkit, then you can confidently approach a quality agent and ask them if they would be interested in representing you, because you actually have something to offer them. If we look at Ghana, in terms of systems, there are no real systems in place for the agent-actor relationship to work. Most actors are not ready to be represented as serious actors. Most actors do not understand the real meaning of being an artist in the industry. They have very little, sincere, understanding of their craft, nor a hunger to discover and learn. Their justification for being in the industry is ultimately wrong and in the long term will be their downfall.
There is tremendous discipline needed to be an actor, and introspection with the mindset of improving oneself, that if an actor is not really willing to go there, they will be lost. We do not posses real vocationally lead training centers whose main aim is to produce international standard artists who will be on the same level as their counterparts around the world. On the other side we have Business people masquerading as acting agents. They do not have the time, patience, knowledge or care to really analyze you as an actor and see your worth and go to work in getting you great work. Also, our industry is not full of great work. Great work is hard to find, so the agent is left with getting artists what they feel may be the most lucrative deal on the table for them, but not something that is improving the longevity of the artist. I believe actors need to seriously learn their craft so when they approach the right agencies, their worth is easily on display to see and can be launched into the right projects.
DNAcheampong – Common Misconceptions About Casting Directors, And Auditions
Kwaku Boateng – I believe main misconceptions actors have about casting directors is that, the casting director is the be all and end all; the casting director will decide if they are in the film or not. This is not correct. The casting director is very important, a gatekeeper if you like onto getting a foot into the door of the project, but he or she will report to the Director and Producer. The last word for whether an actor is cast in a project does not usually lie on the casting director. Saying this, some casting directors wield great power and influence and their every word will be trusted by directors and producers, especially if they have gone to prove themselves constantly in projects.
If this is the case, the director is very likely to listen to their input much more when it’s crucial, though still the final word is from the director. Casting directors don’t hate you; they are not there to make you feel uncomfortable. They really want you to get the job. They really want the casting to be done so they can get on with other projects. They desperately want you to be The One! So do not let fear and worry take over your being when you walk into a casting, thinking that they are there to look for faults etc. Offcourse you must absolutely prepare. Misconceptions amongst actors within the industry here in Ghana about auditions not being necessary is one of the most illogical statements I’ve heard. I have heard countless times “oh as for me I don’t like auditions” also “you don’t need to see me audition as I know I will deliver on the day onset”.
An audition is the only way for directors and producers to make sure that their hard acquired funding of tens of millions of dollars or hundreds of millions, will not be gambled on someone they are not sure of. They must have absolute surety of the fact that you are the right person to be in their film and that you will be perfect working with everyone else. Due to this fact, the best way till now that they have implemented, is for you to be physically in the room with them, or self-tape and send and later be in the room to perform, and chat to them so they know who they are dealing with. To say auditions are pointless then does not make sense, is illogical and counterproductive. I will go as far as saying its career suicide. Offcourse if you are going to auditions where the production is not professional, that’s a different matter, but legitimate auditions are extremely essential for actors.
DNAcheampong – Are Casting Directors Approachable Outside The Casting Room?
Kwaku Boateng – It depends how you approach them. They are approachable. You can write to a CD and ask them to come and watch a production you are doing if it’s stage and give them a complimentary ticket. This is after you have sent your CV and Photo and showreel if you have it. If they like your work from your CV and are interested, they may well come and watch you. You can also send in a letter with your CV and headshots, asking them to consider you for any upcoming projects. You do not call casting directors up out of the blue unless you have been asked to call them. You do not call them in the evenings asking what projects they have got coming, or that you sent your CV in the morning and have they received it. Or after an audition with them you call them and ask how you did.
These are the quickest way of never being seen by them again. Other misconceptions – you can just turn up for an audition announced without finding out about the production or being prepared as an actor. You must call whatever number was attached and ask what the requirements are. Are there sides attached to the audition? What’s the age range? You may hear an audition from a friend and rush there only to be told they are looking for people that you are not fit for in terms of casting bracket. Trying to be overly friendly with a casting director during an audition or at a public place when you do not know the person will land you in possibly never auditioning for them again. You meet a casting director that cast you in a project, and you approach them as if they are your old high school friend and you ask for their number…. This is totally unprofessional and it will definitely make the casting director feel uncomfortable. You may well never hear from them again.
DNAcheampong – What Makes A Great Acting Headshot?
Kwaku Boateng – An actor’s first meeting with a casting director is the casting director seeing the actors’ headshot. For this reason, make sure you look like your headshot. Do not go and photoshop your headshot to make you look like a glamour version of you. Your pictures will look overly retouched. This will go against you in auditions, as you will walk in and the casting director will be disappointed you don’t look like your picture. Obviously, it means you will not be picked for the job and may possibly not be called in to any future castings with that casting director.
Use headshots that look like you when you walk into the space. When we say looks like you, it means not forcing a facial expression, or having objects worn on your face like sunglasses, hats, etc. For ladies especially a natural look with as little make up as possible the better. Definitely no bright red lipstick. This said we are talking about you looking like you would look on a good day. It doesn’t help the casting director if you send a pic of yourself with long hair and walk in with a shaved head or shorter hair, or you have blonde hair in the photo and walk in with dark hair; your skin tone in the photo is considerably darker or lighter than when you appear in person.
All these things will not help you, but rather go against you. Go to a professional Headshot Photographer. It’s worth it to invest in strong headshots; they will speak volumes for you. There are not that many specific headshot photographers in Ghana, but there is one that can be recommended called Dacious Nfoni. He makes professional headshots at a reasonable rate. Please check out others you know as well but make sure they are professional. Please note that depending on the country you are acting in, sometimes headshots differ a little. Its only in the last 15 years in the UK that actors have really embraced the use of coloured photos as headshots, before that, it seemed industry standards were black and white photos and also the actor usually facing directly at camera with the composition of the shot starting from shoulder up to just a little space between the crown of the head and where the photo finishes at the top. Whereas in America it seemed that coloured photos were much more acceptable and Americans liked just a slight of touching up the photos than the UK so there was slightly more glamour in the photo, but understated. UK headshots seemed very much about as real as you look in real life.
I remember actresses from drama school in the UK who actually wore no make-up at all in their shoots and looked exactly like their pictures. Also, there was a penchant for black t shirts or shirts and or dress for males/females in the UK. Also, the requirements for the headshot might be different depending where you are. In the UK 10×8 inch photos are needed as hardcopies, whereas in Australia its 6×8 portrait. So, make sure you are adhering to the country’s general requirements such as image sizing, composition, lighting, editing, and colouring. It is important to be aware of these things, and realise that there are no exact rules in regards to headshots when it comes to some parts of it, whereas in others, you must totally observe certain rules when it comes to headshots. You must also make sure your picture stands out as a headshot.
Something that engages the viewer with a relaxed natural feel to you when your picture is looked at. Standing out is not about wearing bright colours, or a revealing dress or shirt. Make sure we see your full face, and both eyeballs in the picture. Your skin colour needs to look like that of your picture when you walk into the room. There should be no shadows cast on the face. Your image should be in colour though you can have some black and white added to your profile pics online. Do not compromise on quality. You are making an investment. Do you need to save up for 3 months to afford that great photographer? Then do it. If you are a sincere artist, serious about your career, it should be standard for you to want the best headshot. Never try to imitate another actor’s headshot. It doesn’t work.
Be you, find your natural confident pose where you are at ease with yourself. There is a lot of info online about getting the best headshots done. Go online and read up in much more detail. It may surprise you how much great tips are out there to help you. I got a lot of inspiration to answer this very question from www.stagemilk.com. Go there and find the article headed, ‘Complete Guide to a Great Headshot’. All the best.
DNAcheampong – Life After “Beasts Of No Nation” Film With The Other Kids
Kwaku Boateng – Yes after ‘Beasts of No Nation’. We all saw Abraham Attah soar and leave Ghana. He seems to be doing well in America. I am extremely glad that the casting team, namely Cosmos Richard, my camera man, was instrumental in us finding Abraham Attah. It’s great to see him thriving. For Emmanuel Nii Adom, I lost contact with him after I believe it was alleged, he was signed to MK Talent. I wish Emmanuel all the best for the future. After the film, I decided to sign up and manage 3 of the young actors from the film, Emmanuel Affedzi (who is currently signed to a UK agent) who played Dike in the film, whose memorable display of mock kungfu fighting and mime was beautifully played out in the earlier part of the film where they try to sell an old TV to soldiers.
I also signed Francis Weddey, who was the older brother of Agu in the film, and Ebenezer Annanfo, who was one of the actors in the Small Boys Unit, in the film. I offered them all a scholarship for the past 5 years to be enrolled into the Helen O’ Grady Drama Academy Accra. Their tuition fee and transportation and food were covered for the duration they were enrolled at the academy. They studied acting and TV presenting, and dance, amongst other performance arts disciplines. Emmanuel and Ebenezer have been acting in a few TV series such as Solutions, whilst Emmanuel celebrated the success of the new film, he was in called ‘Borga’ (at the recent AMAA in Nigeria). ‘Borga’ is a German Production filmed partly in Ghana. Emmanuel plays the lead character ‘Kojo’ younger self in the story. Francis has worked on a short film with an international production company. They are slowly getting better with experience and training. It’s great to finally see Emmanuel Affedzi signed to a UK agent and registered on the UK talent platform ‘actors’ spotlight’. His journey from the film to where is currently has been immense and inspiring to witness.
DNAcheampong – Achievements Or Projects Coming Up?
Kwaku Boateng – One of my main achievements is working on ‘Beasts of no nation; to discover Abraham Attah and Emmanuel Nii Adom AKA Strika, was a phenomenal feat. We have a few projects in the pipeline as they say, but cannot really talk about them due to the stage that they are in but the future is looking bright for quality films coming into Ghana. To keep up with us in regards to casting, kindly check our Facebook page academy talent management & casting agency or email us at email@example.com if you want to submit your cv, headshot and showreel for future castings. We now and then call out for general meetings too, please do look out for that. Offcourse you can always email us and invite us to your film premiere or stage performance to watch your work.
Look Out For Our 2 Week Workshop In Ghana In December 2023
To Conclude; Here Are Some Rapid Fire Questions.
DNAcheampong – All-Time Favorite Ghanaian Movie?
Kwaku Boateng – There are a few, but I watched a beautiful romantic story called “No time to Die” with David Dontoh as the lead. It was refreshing to see a simple love story told in a natural authentic way. There certainly could have been improvements on the film, but on the whole I loved what it represented and what the filmmakers’ vision was. For Modern storytelling I will have to say Blitz Bawazule’s The “Burial of Kojo” with the African themed traditional storytelling and magical realism. It really stood out to me. Sorry I gave two!
DNAcheampong – A True African Story You Would Love To See As A Movie
Kwaku Boateng – So many. But it would probably be something like Mansa Musa or the amazing enslaved people who did the most courageous things to free their people. Or the story of Nkrumah or Yaa Asantewaa.
DNAcheampong – Ghana Movie Awards And Ghana Film Criticism
Kwaku Boateng – We hear about the way the awards show is organized, that it is substandard and that it should not be in the hands of one person to run when the name carries such weight across the shores of the country. The awarding system, judging system and the collecting of the awards itself, let alone the extreme tardiness of the show are the main issues we hear about as industry people. For the Ghana Film Industry, the main complaint is people are not united and are not taken seriously by government and that production values and processes and etiquette needs to be improved. There are no systems in place to protect the industry players.
DNAcheampong – Ghana Missing As An Industry?
Kwaku Boateng – Regulatory bodies that actively enforce and do their job; A true understanding of each sector being worked in; Sincerity and seriousness for the craft; World-class top-quality training institutions, who can teach all the technical, performance and creative know how on an international level.
Training to use state of the art latest equipment; Researchers to conduct real accurate research on all areas of the industry; Government funding Grants, investors, charities etc.; The mindset of the people to change to really see the industry as holistic; Policies, regulations, rules, laws all adhered by; More cinemas built; Distributing outlets, sales agents, and marketing.
DNAcheampong – Thank You Kwaku Boateng, Really Appreciate Your Time!