When the Internet came into the picture a few decades ago, actors marketing strategies experienced significant changes. The technology was very slow to break into the acting business as most successful casting directors and agents used to be of a very conservative mind, but then it finally arrived. In today’s entertainment industry, Internet is the number one tool for marketing yourself as an actor, director, screenwriter, filmmaker, singer, and comedian.
Imitating the path of Justin Bieber’s popularity rise through YouTube might not be possible for every actor (although, creating your own YouTube web series is never a bad idea), but there are other ways for actors to market themselves using the power of the glorious Internet, of which we’re going to talk about more next week.
Changes dropped down upon actors since the beginning of the millennium are somewhat bittersweet. While the Internet made the submission process easier, it also presented additional requirements for aspiring actors trying to break into the business that are now being demanded by filmmakers, talent agents and casting directors. Let’s take a look at the top 3 actors marketing tools — none of which you’re getting from your drama Universities — that will help you promote yourself in the show business and put your name out there.
Top 3 Actors Marketing Tools
Number #1: Your headshot. This is your biggest fish to fry, the very first thing you have to do once you start pursuing an acting career. The headshot should portray your essence, who you are as a real person and most importantly, it has to be current. Very often, your acting submission is as good as your headshot photographer, so make sure to pick a talented one.
Casting directors and talent agents love when a headshot “speaks to them”; when an actor in it pops-out of the picture so they could visualize him or her in the role. You’re going to be carrying your headshots all over the city when auditioning, meeting agents, filmmakers, directors, casting directors and all other sorts of industry people. Seeing as this should be the very first actors marketing tool, a reasonable investment should be considered for getting yourself a good acting headshot.
Number #2: Your showreel (or demo reel). Showreel/demo reel is a short video montage put together from various clips that portray the best of your acting. This being the second most important actors marketing tool, it has to be professionally made, which means no DIY with Movie Maker. The whole video has to be from 2 to 4 minutes long; 5 minutes is already pushing it.
Your showreel must contain only your magical parts of acting. Never use the material you’re not proud of; better to keep it shorter than show off some poor performance. Keep in mind that most acting agents and casting directors are very busy and they usually don’t watch the whole video till the end (especially when actors make a feature film out of their showreels). In order to have a chance to make an impression, always put all clips with your best acting first and minimize the time of fade ins/outs, titles, etc. Just keep it simple.
Number #3: Your website. Some actors are hesitant about creating websites and consider them a waste of money; others just don’t know how to do it or forget about them altogether. The reality is that websites are a great actors marketing tool, especially when you can put your own ‘www’ address with your personal name on the acting CV/resume, your business cards, your acting profile at Spotlight and other casting websites. Plus, you register yourname.com before any of your fans or other actors do.
Your personal website will simplify the whole process for every industry person interested in you. Whenever they get your resume or you give someone your business card, all they have to do is go to your domain using phone, tablet, laptop or office/home PC (technology is everywhere these days) and learn everything they need. Use your acting website to put up your resume, headshots and picture galleries, multiple showreels (short and long), biography, news about your current availability and other promotions.
These three actors marketing tools should be first on your shopping list. You need to get them done as soon as you can. Obviously, it all requires experience and material, so always remember to gather it along the way.
The good news is that, contrary to a lot of actors’ belief, these tools aren’t that expensive to begin with. You can always find a good deal for headshots, and if it’s your very first set of pictures, then never go too expensive — you need experience first to make a great headshot. Same goes for your showreel/demo reel; when you have all the necessary footage, don’t go to those big firms that do editing for corporations — find a private editor who will do the whole thing for you 10 times cheaper.
As for your website, you can easily accomplish this task yourself. Thanks to the software currently available online, building a website is incredibly simple.
The sooner you understand how extremely competitive a career in acting is, the quicker you’ll start working on acquiring these actors marketing tools. As an actor in one of the top cities — London, Los Angeles or New York — you have to use every little and microscopic chance for a successful marketing strategy. Put yourself out there using these actors marketing tools and watch your star meter grow.