Sunday, February 23, 2014

How to Promote Yourself as an Actor (Series) Step 1.

1. No one is going to promote you.  It's up to you.

There was a time in cinematic history that studios would take an unknown talent, evaluate them, and if they were deemed worthy and had that little "something" extra, they would immediately be groomed by the studio's own star making machine. MGM, 20th Century Fox, and Warner Brother's all had multiple departments that took the fledgling actor through a process that would teach them the skills they needed to become a star.  They would learn how to walk, and how to talk if they had an accent they needed to lose. They would have their hair cut, colored, and surgically altered if need be. They would be given singing, etiquette, and dance lessons. The publicity department would plant stories in the local papers to promote the new starlet or leading man. They would be given a screen test and bit parts in movies to help determine their type. They would be paraded in front of audiences to see what the public's response would be.  All of this and more was used to generate stars. It was an extensive system put in place by the studios. They invested massive amounts of time, money, and skill to make the promising actor into a Hollywood legend.  Today, that system no longer exist.

Today, the actor has to do all of these things for him or herself.  They have to evaluate their own talent or hire someone to help them discern what their talent(s) are and how to develop them further. They have to spend their own money taking lessons, attending workshops, purchasing headshots, promoting themselves on social media websites, and so much more. The work never ends. It can be consuming if you let it. So don't let it. Though it may seem a bit overwhelming, never be discouraged.  You're on a journey. Your own journey. All of this takes time. Don't rush it. Be consistent, continually learning, continually growing in your craft.

In the same tradition as the studio system, you are creating an image that will be seen by fans, friends, family, and potential employers. It is up to you to construct a pleasing public profile. If you don't already have one, create a Facebook page just for your acting persona. I would suggest you only use HD photos. Don't scrounge through and pull together casual snapshots a family member took. This is your career, your image. Think about what you want to portray to that casting director who decided she liked what she saw in the audition, and is curious to find out a little more about you.

Don't try to create something that's not a true representation of who you are.  If you're an average looking individual don't convey yourself as someone glamorous. Seek out an extremely good photographer and pay for professional headshots if you have not done so.  If you don't have the funds, save up until you do. If you have done work as a print model most of the time you can get copies of your work. Post these to your Facebook actor page as well.

On the information page you can post your resume, biography, and other links. You may need to get someone to help you write your biography. Not every actor has a flair for writing. Seek out someone with some real writing experience.  Again, remember who will be seeing this. Don't throw something together just to put something up. Systematically think this through.  Once you have everything in place ask your friends, family, and other actors to "like" your new Facebook page. You will have to see that it is worked often.

Experts say you should work your social media pages thirty minutes to an hour a day. If you don't have time for this, enlist people to help you or hire someone who can spend the time needed. Post something daily.  Most people who will "like" your page will be genuinely interested in what is going on with you. Tell people if you have an audition or a callback. Write a sentence or two about what you are learning in acting class. It doesn't have to be lengthy.  You just want to keep in touch with your supporters. Don't really have much to share one week? Post an inspirational quote or photo. Also look over other professional actor's pages and see what they have included.

In the few weeks ahead we will be talking about, how to create a following and why that is vital to your career, how to write a biography, how to start a blog, and many other topics that will help you develop a strategic plan about your career as an actor. I hope you will continue to follow this series by joining this blog. You can do so by glancing to the right and clicking the button that says, Join this site. I enjoy supporting you, the actor. I hope you will support me and this blog in return.

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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Actors...Need Reel? Create Your Own.

I realize this is elementary for seasoned actors, but for those starting out it may just be the ticket. For those of you unaware, IMDB, has a website for scripts. They are great to use in acting class, in an online audition, or just to re-freshen your skills at home. Look up your favorite script or choose something new and challenging. Always remember the passion for what you do. YOU are unique in every way. Don't be a clone of your favorite actor, be genuinely you. 

I realize many actors starting out are trying to figure out how to get reel on themselves. Well, choose a script, set up a Vimeo account, borrow a friend's camera if you have to, and create a piece that shows your diversity as an actor. Stand in front of a blue background and slate for the camera just as it were a real audition. Upload it now have a reel. 

The first thing I want to see as someone who will be casting, is what you have online. Within the privacy of your own home you can work until you get it right. So take your time to get a variety of roles that will show your skills accurately. Now, this should never take the place of your professional reel, but it is something you can use to begin with when you have little to no video on yourself. 

Eventually you will phase this out as you acquire more professional reel. It will be a good start the next time someone ask if you have anything online they can see regarding your acting ability.

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Thought For The Day...

Don't burn your bridges. I realize people can rub you the wrong way or get on your nerves, but don't be so quick to write them off. You never know when you will need that relationship and it may be sooner then you think. That one person could be the door to the role/job you are looking for. Always show people respect even when they don't deserve it. You never know when that lowly PA will turn out to be the next big producer or director and they will always remember how you treated them.

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Are You Serious About Acting? Really? (Facebook, Websites, & Social Media)

Are you serious about acting? Really? Very often as I network with those in the entertainment field I come across a couple of things that they are lacking. One is, they don't have any of their links posted in the contact section on their "about" page on Facebook. Second, if they do have links, they are out-of-date, or not valid. This looks unprofessional and will likely tell others you are not serious about your acting career. As your own product you have to sell your image. One of the first things that's going to happen after you audition is that someone is going to look you up on Facebook.  If you are serious about getting the part then you need to look professional. That means if you have a website, a blog, a resume, reel of yourself online, or a IMDB page, you should have those links posted under contact. Make it easy for people to find out about you.  We all lead very busy lives. When a perspective employer wants to know more about you, everything they need should be at their fingertips. Don't make them go searching...because they won't. If they can't easily find what they need, they will move on to the next actor. It's in your best interest to take a few moments and get your Facebook page in order. May I suggest your IMDB page go first. That's the first thing I'm going to look at, because it tells me what you have done and who you have worked with. Next, I'm going to check out your reel if you have one, then your website. All of these should be linked together so that the person looking to hire you can move from one to the other with ease (Again, I should be able to find all of these links on your Facebook page).  Have a Twitter account?  List it too. In fact great for extremely busy people.  Link your Twitter account with your Facebook page then you can manage both at the same time. Not sure how? Google it...or ask a friend, your child, or a niece, or nephew. Kids are pretty tech savvy even if adults aren't.  Don't have a website? Well maybe you should. Wix and Vistaprint both have dashboards that are fairly easily to use, and Wix' basic package is free. For this reason many actors use them (I do as well).  Not sure what to include on a website? Look up other actors and see what they include on their websites. Another suggestion is to create an actor page for yourself on Facebook. Once you have it established, list all of your links on it as well. Make sure to ask all your friends to stop by and "like" it. Do the same with your IMDB page. Ask your friends and other actors to "like" your IMDB profile. Be sure to provide the link for them. Karmalicity is another place you can go to up your rating and support for your IMDB page. Basically it works by trading off with like their pages, they like yours. It only takes a short while to get your cyber life organized, so set a couple hours aside and get that done. You will not regret it. After all it's to your advantage. Check back again soon for more ideas on being the consummate "acting" professional.

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Self-respecting Actor

Get as much screen time as you can no matter what size the role. John Wayne played an extra for four years among bit parts and he was in the studio system. It would be a full ten years before he got the break that would eventually turn him into a legend.  Don't be impatient. You are on a're own path. You can't compare yourself to others. Take your time and study. Don't be so anxious to get ahead you sell your soul or your conscience. It's not worth it. You are a human being. You feel, you think, you have compassion. When you forget these things it affects who you are, and that affects your craft. Now is the time to decide what you will and will not do.  Draw a line in the sand and be determined not to cross it.  Don't defile your conscience.  If you do, at some point and time you will look back and regret it. It's the same as selling yourself.  Why is it we are so appalled when we hear of men buying and selling women, but we sell ourselves so short? I can't give you self respect.  That is something you have to have for yourself and exercise it. Don't let anyone push you into doing anything you are not comfortable with.  Many actresses and actors keep their self-respect. If your motivation is fame you will likely do anything to achieve it. If your motivation is to be the best actor you can be, you will recognize that it is a process that culminates over many years of hard work. Surround yourself with people who uplift you. That's one reason why it's important for you to have a support group, because sometimes the people around you are not so kind when it comes to your dreams.  They don't realize how important they are to you. Maybe it's because they don't have dreams of their own. So seek out people who value you...and recognize your own self worth. 

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