We want to thank Elizabeth A. Zimmerman for taking the time to write a recap of our last Actors Happy Hour.
Damon Jones said,
MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE BEST POSSIBLE HEADSHOT YOU CAN GET.
This is the Number One tool you have to market yourself. Besides needing it to submit for roles, it goes on your website, your IMDB page, your business cards, your emails. This is where you do not scrimp on quality or price! And it must look like you!
Create a professional Facebook page for your fans. Get lots of Friends.
Be sure you have a business email. Link it to your personal email if need be, but make sure it sounds professional. No one ever booked a role from firstname.lastname@example.org !
Purchase a domain name. https://www.godaddy.com will walk you through this. It is inexpensive and easy. If the name you want is unavailable, it will suggest alternatives. Then create a website. A good website lets the industry know you are serious about your career. Here you can control your own content with on- set photos, clippings, reviews, etc.
Have a YouTube channel. Post some submission or audition videos if the script is not DND.
Have a Twitter account. So much inside information is sent from the set this way!
Consider having Periscope and LinkedIn accounts as well.
Keep in touch with the various casting houses in town by emailing them periodically with updates. Do not use bulk email or ‘email all’. It will go into their SPAM. No emails more often than every other month. Do not send snail mail. Do not phone. Don’t be a nag. Do not pitch yourself. No hype. Keep it simple. Let them know of any training you are doing, a part you nailed in a TV show[tell them when it airs and what time you’re on]. If you are doing a workshop or play, let them know there are free tickets at the box-office for them if they RSVP you. Do NOT ask them to come see your show. Send a SHORT message and attach your headshot in the body of the email.
How to: I opened my headshot jpg, made a copy of it, put it in a Word doc, then copied that and emailed it to myself with both Outlook and Gmail to test the size. It ended up about 2”.Say anything in the email. Hi, it was nice to talk to you at the ____event last night. Keep it short. They will not remember the message, but they will remember your photo when they need a specific look.
There are only four casting agents in town. How many production companies are there? Use the Source Oregon directory. Find them. Tell them you loved their last commercial, short film. Still reluctant? Take a marketing class at a community college.
Harold Phillips said that this is not about the next job. It is about the next year-decade-lifetime. You are creating a body of work. Not sure of your brand? Take smaller roles until you know. Do you consistently play the same kind of character(Geek, Mom, Bad Guy)? Work in the same genre (Sci-Fi, Horror, Comedy)? You are creating a brand. Make your materials consistent. Brand needs to be who you are. Do not try to be someone you are not. And consider the actor who got caught in a back-alley scandal. We the audience are stunned and disappointed. We thought we knew who that actor was. We knew his brand. Your brand will come in handy when your films are released. Distributors need a recognizable product.
Volunteer, volunteer, volunteer. Film festivals. Industry events. Meetups. It makes schmoozing much more comfortable, plus you have all that “Hi, I met you at the last event” material.
Lyla Foggia spoke at length about PR, as that is her job. See www.foggiapr.com It may be premature for some of us, but nonetheless useful information. She said to be sure you have a terrific bio on your webpage. Don’t just list the parts you’ve played or the films you were in. She said she has had people simply list the films they were in. Not even the part. Useless! People want to know about you. Where did you grow up? How did you get your training? Who are your idols? Try to have someone else write it, for objectivity. Have a long version and a short version. Think about it being in People Magazine. When you go forward in your career, it will be!
Make sure the photos on your site are magazine quality-no smaller than 5 mg. These can then be pulled and blown up by newspapers or magazines. You may see one on the cover someday! Be sure the photo link is your site. Extra traffic that way.
Make friends with the Still Photographer on the set. He’s just standing around waiting for a good photo opportunity. He will be delighted to send you shots that you can then post. Find out who the Unit Publicist is. You have created a media pack, right? It has your headshot and bio. She would be delighted to have it! You’ve just done her job for her! Is the show set in Montana? She would be glad to find out you’re from Montana. It would be a great hook. And you get publicity.
Is your film in a local film festival? Mount your own PR campaign. Take out ads. For Your Consideration. Congratulations to.. You will need to get the studio’s permission, but they rarely turn you down. You’re doing them a big favor! Everyone sees those ads! When you do get your big break ( a small role in a major picture), consider hiring a publicist. Remember the actors who were nominated for Emmys and Oscars for a ten minute performance? They had a publicist.
Brian Gotts of Serenity Studios http://www.serenitystudiosvideo.com/ spoke on self-submitting. He said if any of us need to have a taped audition, he can help. No mention of prices, though.
Elizabeth A. Zimmerman.