Thursday, February 26, 2009

Promotion on a Budget For Actors

In these tough economic times it seems it can be hard to chase after our dreams.

And yet, ultimately, dreams are the only thing that will keep us all going, right? Think of Kennedy and his Space Program. At the time, just a dream, and a dream that kept us focused on exploration, not exploitation. Dr. Martin Luther King and his dream of a colorless America. He had a dream didn’t he?

I was shopping at the outlet malls in Palm Springs yesterday and wouldn’t you know it there was Scarlett Johansen and her husband, Ryan Reynolds (two of the nicest people by the way).

I thought to myself, now there is someone who GETS it, a big movie star who is shopping at an outlet mall, she has one of the hottest films out right now, and is IN TOUCH with the people – buying discount! It made me think of another big star who was quoted as saying she wouldn’t “dress down” for the Oscars, regardless of the economic times (I won’t mention her name but I am sure you could Google her) and to do what “makes you happy”! Can you imagine? To say that with the highest unemployment rate in decades? Do what makes you happy???? How about paying rent?

What does this have to do with promotion? Simple, these ladies are both huge stars, and one of them knows the importance of being real with the times. The other – bad promotion! I have seen Scarlett Johansen’s representation kit and let me tell you her team of agents are marketing geniuses! Not to say that the other isn’t a marketing guru, but in times like these one better get with the rest of us if you want us to see your movies, buy your clothes or listen to your music.

Take advantage of these economic times and get creative on your promotion. Promote yourself through paperless means, come up with a catchy phrase like “Join my Email list and receive updates through my Eco friendly waste –free website!” Take business cards from anyone and everyone that might know someone who knows someone and add their email to your email list so they get regular updates.

Make sure you keep your email list updated and send to it with some regularity. Not so much that people are annoyed with you, just enough that people feel in touch with you.

As an actor utilizing your website rather than mailing to the industry right now helps the environment, saves you cash and recognizes that these are tough and we need to do all we can to save money!

Of course, as an actor, you should ALWAYS keep some form of mailing card for follow up to auditions or meetings when you want to have a really personal touch.

Actors Resume

The all important resume.  Its funny that it can be so different from one coast to another, but it is... On the East Coast everyone wants to see Theater Credits as the first thing.  On the West Coast everyone wants to see Television Credits as the first thing.  

Here is a properly done example of a West Coast Resume  Click here

And here is a great example of an East Coast Resume Click here

Hopefully these examples will help you see what you need to do, and what your resume needs to look like, depending on what coast you are on.

Take care, and remember a properly done resume, makes you look more professional, and you need to be a professional in this business for sure!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Do I need my own Domain Name as an Actor?

Yes, 100% yes!  The "Vampire" effect is utterly eliminated by having your own domain name.  It is crucial to have your own domain name.  The "Vampire" effect goes like this: (its so common, its ridiculous).

Ok here it is: You have been working hard at your craft, going to classes, doing what you need to in order to get out there and be a star.  You land an agent, you book a really good role!  Excellent.  But while you are celebrating you first big break, the cyber-vampires of the world are searching the trades and online sources to find such actors and entertainers, like you, who are on their way up to stardom and they will register your name as a domain name.

Take a look at almost ANY top actor and you'll see they don't even own their own name!!!  These cyber-vampires (sometimes called cyber-squatters, or typo-squatters) do this in hopes that you make it big and then they call sell you back your domain name for the big bucks and quite often will put up porn or something else you don't want associated with your name to make you more interested in coming up with the big bucks.  

Recently, over $10,000.00 for a minor celebrity domain name.  Can you imagine paying $10,000.00 or more for your own name so you can put up a website and control what is being seen about you?

The worst part of all of this is its 100% legal.  Get your own Domain name fast if you are in this business. If you do not have a web site now  you should get one, but if not at least protect your name!  Its your name after all!!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Good Acting Resources on the Interent

I have found a few great web sites for actors in my searching of the internet to further expand my career.  I figured it only appropriate to share them with everyone else.

Here you go, in no specific order of importance whatsoever:

Actors Access - A great place to be able to find out what is going on with auditions, and you can even submit yourself for a small fee.  Some may be free, I am not sure.  However if you are a serious actor you should be all over this web site. 

Casting Networks - (also known as LA Casting) Another great place that you need to be a part of.  These guys basically own the commercial casting side of the business.  You need to have your picture and resume on this site for sure.

SAG - If you are not a member, you can learn how to become one here.  Also, there are a ton of great perks for members, like discounts on things you buy all of the time.

AFTRA - Same as the SAG site, if you are not a member go learn how and why you must become one as soon as possible.

Headshots101 - An amazing site, with everything you  need to know about one of the most important tools in getting work... your head shot.

My Acting Site - A place to not only get your very own web site, but also a ton of resources in their resource center.  You can sign up to get into the resource center for free, and trust me its worth it.

New York Film Academy - Lets face it, they are the leaders of some great education, and the summer program they have is just excellent!  They even have a class in Los Angeles.

Actors Connection - A great site for education, and great seminars.  They are in NYC, but do things in LA as well.  Great people!

Backstage - A great publication, with a casting notice board on the site.  You should really be in touch with this site on a regular basis.

There are a few more for sure, but this will get you started.  I will post more from time to time.  From my experience, even though some of these sites mentioned charge a fee... they are for sure legitimate.  There are a ton out there, that I will also mention at some later point... that may be free or may change you, but for every good site out there... there are 50 or more that are nothing more than a scam.  So be weary, and remember "if it looks too good to be true, it probably is"

Hope this helps!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

What are the key points to making it as an actor?

1 - Knowing how to Act!  Thats right, learning the craft of acting, and then be able to apply that understanding in front of others.  This does mean going to a class on a regular basis

2 - Getting yourself an Agent that wants to help you, that pushes you to everyone, and helps to make sure you are getting out on auditions on a regular basis

3 - Understanding and knowing how to deal with the Business of Acting, do you need a SAG Card / AFTRA Card, etc...  What you should do with your money, etc...

4 - Being a professional at all times, and really knowing the concept "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is".  There are literally 1000's of scammers in this business, and you need to know how to avoid them.

5 - Really understanding how to promote yourself, and helping to augment the work your agent does for you, or really knowing how to promote yourself if you do not have an agent yet.

I will discuss all of these points in great detail in future posts.  I am seeking to help the actors of the world by offering some advice that has worked for me, my family, and friends over many many years in this business.  There is no charge for this advice, but hey if you click on one of the links... a few pennies may come my way!

Take Care, and make your dream a reality!