FratPack Productions teamed up with Hughes Fioretti Photography for their third biannual Headshots for Charity event on April 7th at FratPack Productions’ Scottdale location.
The event first started last year when Gary Hughes and his wife, Julie Fioretti, joined forces with Rowan Bousaid , Robert Walker-Branchaud, Daryn Kahn , J. Benedict Laramore, and John Raimondi, Jr. of FratPack Productions.
FratPack is a fast-growing taping and actor education service based in the Atlanta area. The company is operated by a team of local actors who moved up from Florida to work in the film/tv industry. When the idea for Headshots for Charity came up, FratPack was looking for more ways to give back to the local community as a way of showing gratitude for all of the opportunities they have been afforded since moving to Atlanta.
“We moved here four years ago and in those four years, all of us have gone from having no resumes as actors, to all being working actors in the industry,” Walker-Branchaud said. “We see the value in that and we’re grateful that Atlanta has provided that industry for us to be successful.”
At the same time, Hughes, an Orlando-based photographer focused primarily on headshots, was looking for a way to market his services in Atlanta while also raising money for Operation Smile. As a member of the Board of Trustees for PPA Charities, Hughes had worked with Operation Smile in the past. “If you have any success at all, then some of that should be used to bless other people, if you can,” Hughes said.
Operation Smile is a not-for-profit dedicated to funding and performing surgeries for children with cleft lips and cleft palates around the world. “Some of these children can’t even eat solid food, so they send a plastic surgeon to do a series of surgeries,” Hughes explained. Each reconstructive surgery costs an average of $240.
“What we really wanted to do was co-market with another business that had a similar demographic and a similar group of people that they reach so that we could work together to reach twice as many people,” Hughes said.
FratPack turned out to be the partner he was looking for.
The group’s relationship began in Florida where Hughes used to take headshots for the actors who would eventually form FratPack. In particular, Walker-Branchaud has been working with Hughes since 2009 and has never taken headshots with another photographer.
“He’s been successful largely because he’s very driven and talented, but I think we’re like his lucky socks,” Hughes laughed.
After working out the logistics, the group kicked off their first event last year and managed to bring in about 50 actors and members of the local film/tv community.
“We set up an event where people don’t just get headshots, but it’s also a networking event,” Hughes said. “We’ve had a couple of casting directors come out, talent agents come out, and lots of actors.”
At the events, each donor is given a five-minute slot to work with Hughes. Typically, he shoots with roughly 40 people back-to-back for the duration of the event.
“The plight of the actor right now is that it’s so expensive to be in this industry,” Walker-Branchaud said. “Headshots themselves are expensive, so we thought this would be a good way to get actors to come out, give a little bit of money, and then they get something good out of it.”
For the second event, attendance grew to roughly 70 attendees. Between the two events last year, they managed to raise enough money to pay for 13 smiles. “Some people think that if they do charity in their business, then they shouldn’t benefit from it,” Hughes said. “If an actor can meet someone who can refer them for something down the road, then that’s huge!”
FratPack has noticed a significant growth in the popularity of the event. “It’s definitely caught a little fire there because this one was the third event and we sold out prior to the event for the first time,” Walker-Branchaud said.
At the event earlier this month, Hughes Fioretti and FratPack managed to raise over $2,000, with the potential to earn more through edits on the headshots taken that night. “This is an event that you donate this money, they have the operation, and they’re impacted for the rest of their life,” Walker-Branchaud said. “That’s pretty amazing. And I think that’s the reason a lot of people come out for this.”
FratPack’s goal is to grow to at least 50 smiles per year. The hosts have even discussed the possibility of expanding the event to include another photographer, a larger event space, or bringing in other local businesses with a similar client bases.
At the end of the day, FratPack is just anxious to do their part for the community. “Atlanta has done a lot for us and, in turn, we believe that we need to do a lot for Atlanta,” Walker-Branchaud said. “Hopefully we can inspire some people to come out, have a good time and meet like minded individuals.”