ACTOR MARKETING TOOLS
One great free idea that many actors miss is to seek out opportunities to build your career through the community. Research local industry-related events, such as film festivals and conferences, where you can volunteer some time and take away potentially important information while making great connections.
The first online avenue is your own personal dedicated business website, which is the best way to continually market your brand. Its domain name should be your name followed by .com. Part of your brand is your name, and name awareness is a crucial component of building a career and a brand.
The items you must show on your website are:
- Contact Information- this includes a business email, your agents/managers info, and how you can be reached at all times. Email separate from personal.
- Embedded reels – Place in an easy to find space on your website. Use the YouTube player. The HD quality is as good as ever, and it loads faster than Vimeo.
- Promotional and/or behind the scenes photos - Posting headshots is boring, and gives people a one-dimensional view of who you are. Include promotional photos, press photos or behind the scenes shots of you on set. You’re a real person, not just an “actor.”
- Social media links - social media has and will continue to have major benefits for your career as an actor. Make sure you include links to your Twitter and Facebook Fan Pages (if you have them) and encourage people to sign up for your email newsletter or blog.
- Bio - A good bio goes a long way. You can include your credits on this page as well. Don’t be afraid to use a little humor. It gives people a glimpse of who you are.
- Ways to get a professional Website: Craigslist, or odesk, (specify exactly what you want, how many pages the website will include, etc., and wait as qualified designers and programmers bid you for the job! Just make sure you request someone who can both design AND code the site or you’ll end up incurring more costs down the line.)
- If you don’t need something built from scratch, pursue WordPress themes, Wix, Weebly
- Hard copy counts. While Agents, casting directors and producers often push the delete button on unsolicited emails, some still open envelopes. I did a random check with 25 agents, casting director and producers and more than half said, they open unsolicited mail especially if it has an open face envelope with a picture they want to see.
- Only send when you have something to announce But take note: Never announce a casting assignment unless you have cleared the way to do so.
- Two of the easiest ways to begin with marketing is social media and blogging. Your blog should be on your personal website and should contain information that helps your readers. You can certainly throw in your accomplishments along the way, but your intent is to provide information which will help you to gain followers.
Put yourself online!
- MUST join acting websites; Casting Networks, Casting Frontier, Actor’s Access. Many agents still pay for those sites.
- Optional is Backstage and all of your local websites.
- Here in Sacramento there is AE, Media Casting Group, Sac Casting, Toni Stan
- SF there is NCTC Conservatory Theater, Beau Bonneau, Nancy Hayes/Parrot, Nina Henninger, Project Casting, CBS San Francisco, CastingCall.us
Facebook Fan Page
Unlike a personal Facebook page, a Fan Page allows you to display and shamelessly promote your marketing materials (photos, reel, etc) to fans/industry folk without it getting mixed into your personal stuff. You can create Facebook event pages and fan pages.
This is a mega promotional tool. With a Twitter account, you can connect with others in the entertainment industry just by following them. The trick to getting someone to notice you is to Retweet stuff posted by those individuals.
A great way of promoting yourself and it is a very good way of judging how you come across to the viewing public. There are many actors on YouTube making funny video blogs, sketches, horror series, or music videos, they’re making names for themselves and earning money while doing it. Start by creating a channel. Make a video. Make three. Collaborate with your friends. Post the video. And repeat. Design your channel landing page so people know where else they can find you. Put the YouTube link on your website.
Instagram gives you a variety of super-stylized looks for FREE. Stylize your photos to create the image you want to convey. The Instagram community is another resource for connecting with other influencers and developing a fan base.
Build connections with clients, employers, and contacts. The more people that see you the more they become familiar and like you. Share your other social media.
Bit.ly is a fantastic link shortening service that shortens, shares, and tracks web links.
An all in one service. It updates your Twitter, fan page, personal page, and website separately, this little app will save your life. You post an update and dictate where and when it posts. Planning your social media posts in advance can save lots of time. Scheduling helps you remain consistent and avoid rushing to figure out what to post under pressure. HootSuite also allows you to monitor the activity in your networks and respond to comments and questions right from the dashboard. Tip: the free version of Hootsuite allows up to five social profiles, which is plenty, but you will still have to post manually on Pinterest.
Get anyone to do anything for just $5. No joke! Need a pop track for a video? A title card for your demo reel? Someone to photoshop your last headshot? The Fiverr community bid to complete the service.
Email Newsletter Service
- Email newsletters are a fantastic way to keep in touch with fans and/or industry folk who sign up for your mailing list via your website.
- For mailing lists, I recommend MailChimp.
- MailChimp has a simple and easy to understand interface and it integrates with WordPress, Facebook, and Square Space. It’s free for up to 2,000 contacts and you can send up to 12,000 emails a month.
Press Releases - Promote yourself with a press release. Landing your own media coverage helps you:
- Gain credibility
- Generate excitement
- Up your visibility
- Get people talking about you
- Create curiosity
In other words – it makes you stand out from the crowd.
There are free places to submit press releases to. Top 5:
- Newswire Today
- Write it in the third person as would a journalist. Describe what is newsworthy “just been picked to star in a production,” or “just been added to the cast of a popular web series, film or Independent film project.”
- Make sure to put the link to your press release on all social media and your website.
- The press release should also advertise your website.
- For larger distribution into newspaper, television and radio across North America, you will need to pay a little bit and get distribution services such as Business Wire or Market Wire
- But you do need to write something that looks like interesting news.
- If you have a little money to purchase advertising, I would highly recommend Google Ads.
- You can set your budget for a dollar day a day promoting yourself.
- The ads that you would use for promoting yourself would not cost very much,
- The benefit is great.
- The advantage of advertising with Google is that they are the dominant search engine so Hundreds of thousands of people, even millions will see your ad.
Headshots (how to use for marketing)
- There are many ways to market your headshot at low or now cost.
- The four looks you could use are:
- a)Personality Shot: Show who you really are.
- b)Commercial Shot: Smile with teeth, bright, warm colors. (No black!)
- c)Film/TV Shot: Realistic to the character full of character and your personality.
- d)Theater Shot: a serious headshot or three-quarter length.
- To market your headshot, Put photos all social media.
- Attach a link with the headshot as an example of your work. (Commercial headshot attach a link to the commercial)
- Put headshots on your website.
- Add a small picture with an embedded signature on your emails.
- Always Carry in a folder or briefcase pictures with a stapled resume everywhere you go (car) just in case.
- When it comes to marketing your resume, your resume needs to reflect you at your current stage of development.
- Beginners can have resumes too but you would focus more on your other skills that would make you hireable.
- Skills like multiple languages, dance, dialects are things that can set you apart from the other actors.
- Along with a resume, you should have a great introduction letter.
- This is a great item to have when you are seeking agent representation, Want to change agents, Moving to a new market, Want to introduce yourself to a director or producer?
- Start with wow em information. That is something amazing that someone ELSE said about you and your skills, looks, experience or talent, Newspaper reviews, acting awards, even a comment from an acting coach.
- Keep the letter short, simple, friendly but not over-the-top. Be professional and make it a small advertisement about your talent! Include an 8 x10 photo.
Demo Reel (A great marketing tool-Speak better than words)
- Shows how you really look better pictures.
- Shows your ability better resumes.
- All agents and casting directors want to see a fully professional edited demo reel with you in great scenes from your films and TV series.
- If you don’t have credits, there are many acting schools and production companies that will write scenes especially for you, film and edit them to pull together a great reel.
- If you have a great or unusual voice do an audio-demo CD.
- If you hear about a local film, you can always submit a short letter with a link to your demo reel for consideration of an audition or part.
Thank You Notes
Using your audition log, write a thank you note when you get home to the people who were in the room. Most of the time you will not be able to get the contact information; however, you ask the receptionist or just send it to the casting agency.
Have one designed with a photo on one or both sides. Have your name, phone, e-mail, and website listed. Don’t add your stats or the words "actor," "performer," or "singer." Add your union affiliations.
Composite card (Comp card).
If you want to work in commercial print, this is essential. Put four body shots on one side and a great headshot on the reverse with all your stats: height, weight, hair color, eye color, dress/suit size, shoe size, glove size, hat size. This tool is more about your body/image than about your acting ability.
Your bio should be four paragraphs listing your major credits, training, recent roles, and personal interests. You don’t need this on a daily basis nor do you send it out often. You need to have one on hand for when you do get cast so it is ready to be put in a Playbill. Make sure it is in your press kit. (Discuss at the end).
Without a plan, you are going nowhere. You need to have definite goals, the right mindset, and a timeline—what you want to achieve within a reasonable schedule.
When you have someone in your corner, your career moves a lot faster. A mentor can keep you accountable, advise on everything from marketing tools to acting an agent interview and ca pick up the phone to refer you to top industry professionals!
Press kit for Actors-
- Images (a red carpet, a headshot, or production shot),
- blog posts or articles,
- Current Projects (If you display your press kit on your website, it also may help with search engine optimization if you're attached to highly publicized and upcoming project.
- Charity Work (Charity work is impressive because it showcases your ability to perform the “balancing act” of rushing to auditions, attending red carpets and giving back to the community.)
- Website (You need people to find you and contact you.)
- Social Media (social media section is meant to display that you are communicative on all types of outlets. Agencies and publicists will ask for your social media account. Remove junk. Start making it strong by using it to progress your career, not damage it.)
- Biography. This should include a brief summary of your career and life, fill it with big moments and paint a picture of how you got to where you are and what you aspire to be.
- Endorsements/Sponsorships. Even if it’s just from a friend's new clothing brand, include that information here. Agents and publicists work to enhance your brand, whether it's by booking your work or making you more appealing to the public, so this information will show that you're marketable without a publicist or agent.
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