I've signed up for a membership to a certain website for actors... I was contemplating for a while whether I should name the website, and figured, heck... why not? So let me start this article over.

I signed up for a $29 monthly subscription to working.actor and I was really excited to see what it is about. The landing page was a little vague, but if there's anything new I can learn about the business of acting, then I surely want in.

The portal itself lists a lot of topics such as "fundamentals", "branding", "marketing materials", "product / craft", "booking work", "social media", "reps & team" and "resources". Fantastic. Each topic is broken down further into subtopics and then you have an article about that sub-topic. So it is sort of like my blog, but much more on topic and you have to pay for it. ;)

Still, I wanted to learn more, and so I clicked "marketing materials" -> "website" (for obvious reasons) and... I was a little disappointed. The first question was "should I even have a website?" and the answer was "Yes, but..." (woah, what's happening?) "... a website has become less important [...] Instagram is replacing the job websites used to serve" What? Really? I mean, I understand that the point of this article was to plug TSMA services, but if the goal of your website is to provide instructions, your opinions SHOULD NOT be biased. 

I figured, well at least they said it's just an opinion, but then they said "Don't use actor-specific website builder services... generally they are over-priced and under-deliver" Umm... have we met?! Not only did you just charge me $29 a month to gain access to your blog articles where you offer biased information and try to upsell products that charge as much as $2,550 a month, but actor-specific website builder services charge too much? Our cheapest plan is $29 per year! But hey, let's break it down:

Actor website on Web For Actors
Web For Actors
Premium Monthly: $15
Premium Yearly: $99
Actor website on Squarespace

Business Monthly: $26
Business Yearly: $216
Actor website on Web For Actors

Professional Monthly: $16
Professional Yearly: $144
Actor website on Web For Actors

Pro Monthly: $22
Pro Yearly: $244

Okay, now that we got the pricing issue out of the way, let's tackle the "under-deliver" statement:

Is your actor website Built for Actors?
Building ACTOR Websites is our MAIN focus!
Is your actor website Very Affordable?
You can get a premium actor website for as low as $1 a month.
Is your actor website Hosted at No Extra Cost?
We host hundreds of actor websites allowing us to keep the price down.
Is your actor website Connected to a Domain Name?
Actor website without a domain is a profile page on some other website.
Is your actor website Offering a Custom Email?
Don't be a YAHOO. Connect your custom email to stand out.
Is your actor website Nominated for Awards?
IADB has been chosen for a startup competition of a year. Twice!
Is your actor website Offering a Guided Setup?
If you have to google how to set up your website, that ain't right.
Is your actor website Design Hot Swappable?
If you're stuck with a single design, you're bound to go out of style.
Is your actor website Fully Responsive?
If your actor website does not look good on a phone, it ain't no good.
Is your actor website Ranking High in Search?
Web For Actors actor websites are fully optimized for all the right keywords.
Is your actor website Fully Maintained?
Can you name the person who does upkeep of your actor website?
Is your actor website Connected to the Cloud?
If your actor website is not connected, it may be out of date.
Is your actor website Connected to Your IMDb?
You're an actor, your website should have what's on IMDb or more.
Is your actor website Connected to Your Casting Profiles?
We have a link-up to the main casting sites in US, UK, Canada and Australia.
Is your actor website Ultra Fast Loading?
All of our actor websites are built and tested with speed in mind.
Is your actor website Easy to Customize?
Our control panel is so easy you can TEACH it in minutes.
Is your actor website Offering Advanced Customization?
For those who know coding, we've got options for you as well.
Is your actor website Listing All Your Credits
Most actor websites were not intended to list your projects.
Is your actor website Listing All Your Awards?
You've worked hard to get those acting awards. Show those laurels!
Is your actor website Listing Your Agents and Managers?
Showing your own contact information may not be enough.
Is your actor website Offering Photo Galleries?
It's one thing to show photos, it's another to have a photo showcase.
Is your actor website Embedding Your Videos?
Did you know that most casting directors hate external video links?
Is your actor website Optimized for Audio Playback?
Actor Website, Voiceover Actor Websites, can you spot similarities?
Is your actor website Prebuilt With a Contact Form?
Not all websites need a contact form. Actor Websites do.
Is your actor website Print Ready?
Have you ever tried to print your actor website?
Is your actor website Showing Your Reviews?
Not only do we have that option, we built a tool for that.
Is your actor website Auto-Generating Your Acting Resume?
It's a rhetorical question. We know that only we do that.
Is your actor website Linked Up for Social Promotion?
We offer social media shoutouts and spotlight articles.
Is your actor website Customized for Actor Headshots?
Most web developers don't understand what 8 by 10 means.
Is your actor website Collecting and Maintaining a Contact List?
Industry Contacts is a tool we're quite proud of it, read on to learn why.
Is your actor website Well Documented?
We try to write up documentations for each and every knob, toggle and button.
Is your actor website Announcing Your Events?
Keep your visitors informed with event notification slide-outs and headers.
Is your actor website Collecting Visitor Stats?
Web For Actors offers basic analytic tools as well as easy link-up to Google Analytics.
Is your actor website Integrated with Twitter?
Are you active on Twitter? Flaunt your follower numbers to your visitors.
Is your actor website Integrated with Facebook?
Facebook may not be great for this industry, but a fan page is a fan page.
Is your actor website Integrated with YouTube?
Unlimited storage for your videos showcased on your website.
Is your actor website Integrated with Vimeo?
Vimeo allows naturally elegant videos embedded to your actor website.
Is your actor website Integrated with Medium?
The prettiest blogging interface on the internet connected to your website.
Is your actor website Integrated with WordPress?
WordPress may be tough for building websites, but easy for blogging.
Is your actor website Integrated with Blogger?
Write your blog articles on Blogger and display them on your website.

Now, let's go back to the first statement about "Instagram is replacing the job websites used to serve" - this should be rather easy to debunk with facts (not opinions):

Actor Websites provide S.E.O. value to your name and allow for customization and personalization. 

You can't build S.E.O. with your Instagram account. While you have no control over Instagram life-cycle (you never know if it's still going to be around in a year), you do have control over your own domain name. The S.E.O. work we've put into our website focuses on your name, your location, your craft and skills. There's not a chance that someone will research "actress in Los angeles who can swim and juggle" and find you on your Instagram, unless this is exactly what you've put into your short bio, but even then you are limited to 150 characters of bio... how does that replace the job of a website?

Actor Websites show what's important to you... NOW.

    One thing that Instagram does well are photos, so yes, it can offer the insight into your #actorslife, and an option to share your headshots, BUT, if someone wants your most up-to-date headshot, they're not going to go to Instagram mainly because you can't easily download the photos off of Instagram. The bigger picture here is (no pun intended), your photos on Instagram may not necessarily reflect your current look. So if someone scrolls on your profile and sees you as a blonde, and you're now a redhead, there's a chance you've just shot yourself in the foot. An actor website shows up-to-date and relevant information only. So if your headshot changes, the website should reflect it.

    Actor Websites are your go-to place for all information about you.

    Instagram cannot be used to showcase your demo reel, or to upload your acting resume. You can't link other social media accounts from it (well, you can with the use of https://link.actor, but not by default). You can't collect visitor information or analyze the traffic. You can't sign up for newsletters or obtain a press-kit. You can't get agent's or manager's information. You can't showcase your skills, press, awards and testimonials, and most importantly, you can't list all of the film and TV projects you worked on.

    Instagram is not for everyone.

    And let's face it. Instagram is not for everyone. Some of us are extroverts, we go out, we connect, we chat, we interact, we comment, we question, we post, we like. Being on Instagram requires work. It's not a once a month kind of a thing, but hey, if you can grow following by popping in just once a month, then I want to know your secret. Actor websites don't require this level of constant care. If you're writing a blog, perhaps you want to post a new article every week or two, but other than that, most times you won't have to change anything unless there's a major change in your life: new headshots, new agent, new reel, new film credit, new award... etc. For most it's a once-a-month kind of a deal. 

    So, is Instagram a total waste of time?

    No, that'sabsolutely not what I'm saying at all. My point here is that comparing Instagram and Actor Websites is like comparing apples and Volkswagens! Anyone who gives you a definitive answer either way doesn't know what they're talking about. You will see a lot of naysayers online, let's take a look at reddit for instance. In this post, a user says Instagram is not necessary, but as a source he provides links to other reddit conversations that just list other opinions. Just because it's on the internet, it doesn't make it true. 

    Can you have fun with Instagram as an actor? YES. Can you grow audience of fans who have seen you in films and interact with them? YES. Can you get them to go and see your next movie at a film premiere? YES. Can producers try to take advantage of your following for that very reason? YES. So unless you know every single producer and casting director and they all told you unanimously and truthfully that they will never ever look at someone's Instagram following as "pros" towards casting someone for their projects, then you'll never know. 

    Is there any guarantee it will help? NO. There are no guarantees in life, so if you want my opinion (yes, just an opinion) - if you enjoy being on Instagram, keep on keeping on. But, if you are miserable there, don't like posting on regular schedule and hate reading comments from trolls, hey, you don't have to do it. It's just another tool in your shed, you can spend that time and effort on something else acting related.