As the internet continues to change the entertainment industry, more actors are starting to utilize all the opportunities the online world has to offer. Even Hollywood’s A-listers are working hard on maintaining their personal actors websites and growing social media following. But do actors who are just starting their acting career need a website?
Anyone who’s been trying to become a working actor in any of the larger cities – London, Los Angeles, New York City – knows that the secret to getting more auditions is networking. Casting directors that know you are more likely to bring you in rather than simply call you from a casting submission.
This is called presence. The more time you spend in a city, the more people you meet, the more connections you make – the more memorable you become. This eventually leads to more phone calls or emails, invites to auditioning for parts and hopefully booking those parts.
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Just make sure that your presence in the industry is associated with the positive things: easy to work with and solid acting skills; not the other way around.
The old adage used to be “It’s all about who you know.” Sadly, it’s not really true. Knowing people doesn’t
always usually help. Instead, it’s more about…
[tweetthis]”It’s not about who you know. It’s about WHO knows YOU.”[/tweetthis]
Internet has a similar structure in terms of having people to get to know you. There’s a term for that – web presence (or online presence).
So how important online presence is for actors, and how building your personal acting website can help?
Why Do Actors Need Web Presence?
Online world is like a city, and you need to be hanging around there, making connections just like you would in a real world.
If you want to optimize your web presence so that when someone enters your name in Google they are able to get all the necessary information about you without having to spend a long time researching, you need a platform for that.
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The best platform is the one that you can control – your website. Results from establishing that web presence through your own platform will eventually translate into the real world: more connections, more people that are aware of you, more phone calls, more auditions, more jobs.
Not only that, but building online presence isn’t as difficult as it is in the real world.
In a big city, networking is one of the best ways to make people around that place aware of you. However, it’s by no means an easy job. Thankfully, online world is much easier, because you can do this with the comfort of planting your butt on the chair in front of a computer.
What is web presence made out of? Anything where you can put your name in: your website, blog, social media profiles, reviews, comments, photos and videos. Everything with you and/or your name out there can contribute more or less to your overall web presence, raising your rank, so to speak.
The more stuff you have out there, the more PRESENT you are online. Ultimately, everything does (or should) stem from your personal website which is the foundation of your web presence.
Why? Because you’re in control of it. You can put out there anything and everything you want people to consume. You’ll be in charge of how your audience and anybody else sees you.
Bottom Line: The more present you are on the web, the more likely you’ll make connections, meet casting directors and talent agents, get more auditions and increase your chance of booking jobs.
Building Your Online Audience
Nowadays, your online audience is one of the key factors to book a job. If you go through casting websites searching for potential auditions, often you’ll notice casting directors mentioning web presence and social media following.
The bigger your audience, the better chance you have of booking a job (even if someone was better at their audition than you).
Why? Because if you get the part, then your audience may become an additional set of eyes and support for the project. You come in with your own army of followers to whom you can promote this film or web series you’re working on, regularly. They will be the ones who will come and see it.
Remember Kevin Kelly’s theory of 1,000 true fans? Yes, it especially applies to actors. This is extremely important in 2016.
It’s never too late to start or continue building your web presence and expanding your online audience.
Building and utilizing your own acting website is the best way to present your followers with what you want them to see. It’s going to become your actor’s online business card, sort of. Plus, it’s really not that difficult to make a website.
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Why isn’t it difficult? Because of all the available tools. There are people out there charging a pretty penny for creating a site, but in my opinion, it’s not really worth it.
Honestly, creating your own acting website focused on your acting career doesn’t have to take longer than half a day, even if you’re completely new to this. With today’s content management platforms like WordPress, or services like SquareSpace, it’s never been easier.
In the end, I’d say as you work on your craft and become a better actor, do spend a day or two on working out a plan on how you’ll start building your following with online presence. It’s all about who knows you, remember?
Bottom Line: Building your personal website can help with expanding your audience, which you can then utilize to get more auditions and promote your projects.
Social Media vs Personal Acting Website
Many actors are too confused, lacking in time or are simply too lazy to build a website that’ll benefit their acting career. Instead, they opt for social media presence: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, Instagram and so on.
There’s nothing wrong with social media. In fact, you NEED to utilize social media as well, because it’s part of your web presence. But every one of those social media platforms will have a field called “Your website.”
Why? Because some part of your audience, even if very small one, may want to know more about you: see your photos, your bio, your resume, your headshots, find news about what you’re currently working on, and how to get in touch with you. Casting directors and talent agents in particular would love all this stuff to be in one place.
Unfortunately, most social media platforms do not offer as extensive profile as a personal website can, nor are you in complete control of how that information is displayed.
In the future article, if you feel like this would be helpful to you (let me know in the comments!) I will talk more about how actors can and should use social media in order to market themselves successfully, and how I have done that as well. But for now, I’d like to focus on the foundation of your web presence, and that’s building your acting website.
Bottom Line: Social media is very useful for actors, but the need for having your own acting website cannot be overlooked. Build your foundation first (site), and then extend further (social media).
Marketing Yourself Through Your Website
I’ve talked to many casting directors, agents and other industry people. Nobody ever disagrees with this:
As an actor, YOU are the product and you are in the sales team to sell yourself. It’s the reality of the entertainment business.
Many actors shy away from this, thinking that it diminishes their “artistic” presence, but it’s simply not true. Acting has been over-romanticized, but as someone who’s just starting, there’s almost no chance for you to become a working actor if you will not work on marketing and promoting yourself.
When you’re a young actor with little experience and fame, marketing and networking is just as important as being good at your craft. That’s the nature of this business. Accept it, and move on.
Your website is of course one of the best tools for marketing yourself.
The site can be as big or as small as you want it to be. After a few years of researching, testing and trying different methods and websites, I found a sweet spot that works for me and for many other actors whom I helped to build their sites, or fixed their existing ones.
What do you want to show people?
- Your headshots: put up old and/or new ones, and have as many as you want on there!
- Your showreel: make sure you have several, including your comedic and dramatic scenes;
- Personality: many love seeing/reading non-acting related things to get an idea of who you are;
- Special skills: mention or show everything you can do – singing, dancing, magic, acrobatics and whatnot;
- Landing page: the first page with photos, videos and info someone sees when they visit your site;
- Your news: what have you been doing and what are you about to do – show that you’re a working actor;
- Personal blog: this can increase your presence immensely, and I’ll talk about how in the future.
All of these things and more can and should be on your website, and you’ll be able to control it all by yourself, unlike with social media. This helps with creating an impression, as well as building people’s perception of who you are both as a person, as an actor and as an artist.
“Old Newtonian physics claimed that things have an objective reality separate from our perception of them. Quantum physics, and particularly Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, reveal that, as our perception of an object changes, the object itself literally changes.” – Marianne Williamson
Perception is reality. Put out into the universe whatever you want the universe to see. There’s nothing wrong with that when you’re an actor – this is part of your JOB. Fake it until you make it, remember?
Look at most of the currently successful A-list actors, and how they managed to build people’s perception of them to what they wanted it to be, thus attracting a bigger following.
[tweetthis]”There is no reality, only perception.” – Phil McGraw[/tweetthis]
As an actor, a little narcissism will go a long way in building your career. You want to be seen, so you have to work at it. Having a website is just a first yet big step in the right direction.
Bottom Line: Having your own website allows you full control of letting people to see what you want them to see about you. Perception is reality.