There are so many talented actors out there, can you honestly say you are doing everything you can to further your career?
Acting is a business.
You are the product.
As with any other business, you need the correct marketing materials.
Imagine being a sales rep for a cosmetics company and not having any photos and testers. What would you say?
“Hey I’ve got a mascara that’s really good. I can’t show you anything but it just needs you to take a chance and you’ll see.”
You wouldn’t sell much mascara, and it’s exactly the same in the acting world.
Casting directors are limited with how many actors they can call in for each role – remember, they will have had hundreds, or even thousands of applicants for one role. People who have been able to show in advance what they are capable of with professional headshots, resumes and demo reels. Why would they take a chance on anyone when there is so much competition to be seen?
Acting is a business.
You are the product.
You need to know how to market yourself.
You need to invest in your future.
Talent alone is not enough.
Do you have a strong online presence?
Firstly, are you on Spotlight? If you are debating whether to pay for Spotlight or not, you need to know that a lot of casting directors in the UK won’t contemplate seeing you if you are not on there. Casting Networks is another great casting site and you can join this one free (there is an option to pay and you gain more benefits). Other popular sites include Casting Call Pro and Star Now – with these you can choose a free profile where people can find you, and access to non-professional work (unpaid), or you can pay to also receive access to the professional jobs.
Do you have a website with a blog that you update regularly? What are you doing to promote it? Hint- ‘Check out my website’ posts on social media don’t work. You’re a creative… Create interesting posts that will make people want to click onto your site and read your blog.
Whilst we are on the subject… Social media.
Are you on social media and if so, what are you sharing? If I am interested in someone for a role, one of the first things I do is look them up on social media to see what sort of person they are.
If their posts are generally moan-y and negative I will take them off my list.
In fact, I shortlisted somebody for a role in a zombie film not long ago, only to look at their profile to see a rant about how much they hate zombie movies. It’s OK not to like them, they are not for everyone, but if you’ve just applied to be in one, it’s probably best not to voice that publicly whilst you are being considered.
I don’t mean that you need to keep it super professional all of the time, just be aware of what can be seen by anyone who clicks on your profile, or anyone who is lurking on your friends list that you might have forgotten is there. It happens!
What is your unique selling point?
What is it about you that makes you different to everybody else? Do you have any distinctive features? Often the things we are self-conscious of are the things that get us cast, so embrace them! What is your casting type? Be honest with yourself here. How you see yourself is often quite different to how you come across to the rest of the world. Don’t waste your time, and the time of the casting directors by applying for roles you are not suitable for. Know your brand!
Continued Professional Development
In every line of work you need to constantly learn to progress further, and acting is no different. There is always more to learn!
Network, network, network!
It is essential for actors to network. In a career that is based on short term contracts, a big part of your job will be looking for work. Meeting new people in the industry will massively increase your chances of working with them, or being recommended by them in the future. Accept invitations. Go to networking events, shows, premieres and anywhere else you are likely to meet others in the industry.
Build a strong reputation
You pay an electrician to come and fix a faulty light. He arrives on time, is professional and friendly, gets on with his job without wasting time, he does a great job with the light.
Another light goes and you book another electrician. He turns up late, moans about how difficult it was to get there, has a rant about the light, spends forever faffing before getting on with the work. He does a great job with the light.
Both electricians did a great job with the light but which would you call back next time? Which would you recommend to other people?
Acting is a business. Reputation is everything.
As with any other business, it won’t work without passion, determination and commitment. Do what others won’t do, to get the outcomes that others won’t get.
Were you born to be ordinary…. Or were you born to shine?
Eirian Cohen is the founder of Northern Star Acting and co-producer of ESG Media, LTD. (If you want to really develop your craft, we are holding auditions now for our acting for film and television courses in Leeds and Sherburn in Elmet)