Written by Dallas Travers, CEC
Recently, a casting director expressed her frustration on her Facebook wall about actors approaching her through Facebook to request auditions. This post sparked a lively dialogue among some actors and casting directors who all agreed that using Facebook as a marketing tool was rude, amateur, or even desperate.
I have to disagree. Approaching casting directors, producers, agents, filmmakers, directors, and artistic directors is not rude. It’s not amateur. And it’s not desperate. It’s business.
Facebook exists so that people can connect with each other. That’s the whole point. Virtually every business and businessperson today has a Facebook page and uses Facebook for promotional purposes. So, there is nothing wrong – at all- with you doing the same as an actor.
Now, different people have different boundaries on Facebook. If a casting director wishes to keep her Facebook page and her business separate, that is absolutely her prerogative and I support that 100%.
But that doesn’t make an actor wrong when he wants to use Facebook for self-promotion. Approaching your industry target list through social media is not the problem here. HOW you approach them is. Trust me, there is a right way and a wrong way to use Facebook for your acting career. Apparently, the actors who approached this particular casting director did so in the wrong way.
Last year, an actress named Eva used Facebook in a powerful way to build a relationship with a casting director that’s still paying off today. Eva saw a role she was perfect for and after exhaustive and unsuccessful research to find the casting director’s phone number or email address, the only contact information Eva could find was the casting director’s Facebook profile.
So, Eva sent him a direct message through Facebook. Rather than requesting an audition, Eva messaged the casting director to find out how comfortable he was with her using Facebook as a marketing tool. She wanted to respect the casting director’s social media boundaries and the best way to do that was by getting a buy in.
“What’s a buy in,” you ask?
A buy-in occurs when you get the consent of whomever you’re targeting before taking action. This may sound silly, but it’s a very simple step that will make a huge difference in the results you produce and in the relationships you build.
Eva’s buy-in to the casting director probably looked something like this:
“Hi Casting Director. I want to respect your privacy, so I’m writing to find out how open you are to receiving audition requests from actors through Facebook. If you’re not open to it, I understand. Just let me know either way.”
Not only was this casting director open to Eva’s request, but he also called her in for the audition she wanted. Since then, Eva auditions at his office regularly and the two of them have forged a healthy working relationship.
The moral of this story – don’t shy away from Facebook in your marketing just because you might offend someone. Instead, your job is to simply get a buy-in from the casting directors, producers, and agents you want to work with before you pitch yourself on Facebook.
Get the buy-in before you need it. That way, you won’t panic when an opportunity arises because you’ll already know how to reach out.
Your buy-in might look something like this:
“Hi Tom. It’s Jessica. I saw you speak at the SAG Foundation last week. I’m writing to find out if Facebook is the right venue to connect about projects or roles I might be right for. I know everyone uses Facebook for different reasons so I wanted to check in with you first to respect your social media boundaries.
If you’d rather not connect about the business on FB, I totally get it and will be sure not to talk shop with you here. Just let me know either way.”
The truth is that you’ll never know who is open to receiving requests from actors through social media. While some people only use Facebook socially, others rely on it heavily for their business.
The trick is to find out which side of the Facebook fence your target people live on before you pitch yourself online. Doing so will give you the confidence you need to use Facebook in a powerful way without offending anyone.
Respected as one of the entertainment industry’s leading experts, Dallas Travers teaches actors the career and life skills often left out of traditional training programs. Her groundbreaking book, The Tao of Show Business, has won over five awards including first prizes at The Hollywood Book Festival and the London Festival along with the National Indie Excellence Award. She has helped thousands of actors to increase their auditions, produce their own projects, secure representation and book roles in film and television.
If you’re ready to jump-start your acting career, get your FREE Thriving Artist Starter kit now at http://www.dallastravers.com