TRUE STORY:Last week my friend needed to hire a female singer for a concert that paid thousands of dollars. Ten women (all with Broadway credits) missed this great opportunity, not because of their height, weight or talent, but because none of them had a website! Each had obviously worked hard for many years building their relationships and maintaining their good reputation because they all came highly recommended. Unfortunately, there was no convenient place for my friend to see their work, learn about or contact them. Whether you're in voiceovers, commercials, theatre, film or TV you must be searchable on the web. In this business, where even working actors don't work consistently, the surest path to job security is to make it easy for people to find, contact and hire you!
Every actor dreams of getting 'discovered'. Stories of actors getting that "lucky break" while eating lunch in LA or standing in line at the bank feed these dreams. Actors forget one important thing: Discover is a verb. It takes action on your part to be discovered.
Here are 3 ways to enable your discoverability as an actor:
1. Create a website!
Just like the store down the street, if you want to attract business, put up a sign! For an actor, that sign is a website! It shows you're a professional and tells the world you're serious about your career. Your website is also your home base for all of your marketing materials: your headshot, r?sum?, reel, media, and social media accounts.
Casting directors have said over and over again if they don't know an actor the first thing they do is Google them. If you don't make it easy for them to find you and see your work, you could be missing opportunities. Ten years ago creating a website was expensive, difficult and time consuming. Nowadays, you don't have to hire an expensive designer. You can create an awesome, easy to use, free (or inexpensive website) super fast with IADB. If you're one of the many actors who don't have one yet, stop reading and go set up your website. Then meet me back here for #2.
2. Set up your social media accounts.
When that casting director, fellow actor or producer Google's you it's not just your website that shows up. Your social media accounts, if they're under your name, do too. Your social media profiles, header/cover photos and profile pictures mustlook professional if you want to be taken seriously..
Sloppy, unprofessional online presence = sloppy, unprofessional actor
To help make you even more discoverable on the web make sure you grab your name (or chosen username) on all social media platforms. When the next Instagram is born grab your name right away (even if you don't know if you're going to use it). Now that you have your actor website don't forget to add the link on all your social media accounts so it's easy for people to find out more about you and contact you.
3. Be Social!
You can have a beautiful website and professional-looking social media accounts but if you're not also checking your email for messages and engaging on social media on a regular basis you will miss opportunities. Spend a few minutes in the morning checking your Twitter lists or Facebook friend lists to see what's happening in the lives of the people you've already formed relationships with as well as the people you want to work with. Reply, retweet, and read other's blogs! Stay in their minds by interacting with their posts. VERY IMPORTANT: Asking for favors or sending someone you don't know a link to your reel or your headshot will not get you discovered, it will get you ignored and possibly even blocked. Remember what Dale Carnegie said "You can make more friends in two months by being interested in other people than in two years of trying to get people interested in you."
The easier you are to find, the easier you are to cast! If you're hard to look up, someone will just give up on you and move onto someone else. Set-up your actor website, create a social media presence you're proud of and start building relationships. Don't wait to be discovered. Makethe big break you've always dreamed of!
Dara T. Great advice, Heidi - especially the part about being engaged, not just present, on social media! And advice people across the industry can use!
Tomasz M. I've known Heidi Dean for a few months now, but before I did I still read her articles over at Backstage.com and closely followed her work on Twitter. When I need advice with social presence Heidi is definitely the person I turn to. I'm very thankful for her contribution to IADB blog, and I couldn't think of a better person to have the first guest blog post on IADB than Heidi Dean.
Mary L. Thanks for the discount. We will check it out.
Heidi D. Thanks for reading Mary and thank you Dara and Tomasz for your kind words!