When you stop for a second and think about how much time people spend online, it’s hard to believe that the internet has really only been in widespread commercial use for a little over 20 years. Imagine if you were transported back to the 1980s and you were suddenly not able to access your Facebook or Instagram accounts, or use Google Maps to find your way around, or message your friends instantly using Whatsapp or Messenger.
We are very lucky to have access to all the world’s information in the palm of our hands–so why are so many actors not taking full advantage of it?
You have the ability to put your face in front of thousands or even potentially tens of thousands of industry professionals–and the best opportunities for self-submitting are to be found right here at NYCastings, by the way–and connect with people all over the world. So use that power to maximize your footprint and promote your unique brand! Here’s a few ways to upgrade your internet impact.
1. Did You Get That Thing I Sent You?
Let’s start with a basic ingredient to creating a viable and powerful online presence, one that is so basic it’s often overlooked: email. If you aren’t spending a good chunk of time every day connecting with other people in the industry, going over the daily email list of auditions you can sign up for from NYCastings, and maintaining your network, then you aren’t working your game up to its full potential. Develop a professional “form letter” –one that doesn’t sound too form-y–and hit up casting directors, agencies, producers, directors, everyone you know in the industry. Don’t harass people, but there’s no harm in sending a short note inquiring as to whether an agent or casting director does general interviews or if you can send them a headshot and resume. You might be surprised at the responses you get!
2. Just Google It (Yourself, That Is)
With the crazy interconnectedness we all enjoy (and suffer under?) it’s vital that you know what comes up when someone Googles you. Take a moment to read a primer on SEO or search engine optimization, or watch a tutorial on it, and then think about how you can ensure that the best photos, videos, news articles, reviews and blog posts by you and about you are the first thing people see when they check you out online. Because newsflash: they are checking you out! If your name comes up on a casting director’s short list for a role, you can bet that your name is going into a search engine. It’s on you to control the message. And that idea leads to…
3. Create Yourself
No matter what stage of your career you’re in, if you don’t have your own website you’re not doing yourself any favors. Lots of people get nervous about the idea of creating a site for themselves, but these days the tools are so user-friendly that they are downright idiot-proof. Another misconception that holds back a lot of people when it comes to making themselves a stand-alone website is that they think of it as a static page they can never alter. But a website is a fully malleable piece of art and artistry that you can mold and tweak to your heart’s content over time. Don’t feel like what you put up there is what you’re going to be stuck with the rest of your life. Everyone has a Facebook account and Instagram. But with a personal website you can really make yourself stand out from the herd.
4. Industry Profiles
Until you get to the stage where you have a manager who can help guide you with things like this, you’re going to have to take charge of your profile on professional sites too, sites like IMDb. They have a great and informative section on how to take control of your profile. It’s good to make sure you’re on top of it too, adding links to your personal website–which is chock-full of awesome video and photos of your smiling face by now–and your social media. When those industry professionals go to look you up, make sure they’re seeing a professional profile and that they have easy access to your best material available. And on that note…
5. Pro Materials
When you’re posting video on your site and social media, make sure you’re using the best, cleanest, and most professional material you can get hold of. The splash page of your website should probably not start with a goofy video short you made with your little brother when you were 12, not if you want to present a professional image that will make people want to work with you. Get yourself a reel that is as close to studio quality as you can make it, using professional equipment and shot by a professional team. You wouldn’t roll in to an audition and plunk down a blown-up selfie on the casting director’s table, and neither should you present your public face as one seen on a shaky-cam shot with your buddy’s cell phone over Spring Break.
6. Get Social
Finally, pay some attention to your social media–not as a user connecting with friends, but as an industry professional. Take a look at what comes up on your profiles and ask yourself if those pictures, shares, memes, posts and videos are something you would want to see posted by an actor if you were a casting agent looking to hire someone. This isn’t to say you need to censor yourself, or turn your profiles into antiseptic, boring places. However you should at least give some thought to what professional industry people who don’t know you are going to see when you friend them.
There are always more ways to connect with people on the internet, and we are very lucky to live in an age where self-promotion for the actor is so easy to do! You can start today by taking advantage of NYCasting’s Holiday Special and save 44 percent!