The business and marketing side of acting doesn't need to be complicated. A lot of actors I work with tell me, "You're good at the business and marketing side of acting. I need to work on it." Are you going to be an actor that just talks about it, or will you take action this year?
I think you'll agree with me when I say actors hate the words business and marketing. The good news is that you don't need an MBA to market yourself as an actor. In this post, I'll give you a few super easy ways to better market yourself that you can take action on today.
Consider what leadership expert John C. Maxwell has to say about taking action: "Dreams don't work unless you do."
1. BRAND YOUR SOCIAL BANNERS
How many social media platforms are you using? Comment and let me know. I suggest having at least one but no more than three that you actively use. Otherwise, your entire life will be consumed with posting.
One of the easiest ways to make yourself look more professional online is to brand your social banners. In other words, make them all look the same or very, very similar. I'll teach you how to do that for free in this post.
Branding your banners will be a lot easier if you create separate personal profiles and business profiles. Facebook makes this the easiest. I suggest having a private personal profile and a public like page. If you want to know why, or need help knowing what to post on which page, read this post.
Human brains love consistency, so if your social banners look the same, it creates a sense of trust that they're in the right place. It will also give you a professional, polished online presence if someone searches your name.
2. USE A NEW HEADSHOT STRATEGY
I have a sad story to tell. I spent $300 on my last headshot session, only for my agent to reject them. In fairness, we had a few technical difficulties at the shoot, especially with the wind, and I tried a new foundation that did not work (Smashbox 15 Hour). I also had a freaking stye in my eye.
Your agent expects new headshots every so often of various looks, but you don't have money to waste if they're not going to use them. To learn more about rotating your photos, read this post.
Side note: I did not realize that agents and casting directors expect to see a full body shot in your casting profiles, so make sure you dress according to your body type so your clothes look flattering. Google what's my body type to find yours. I am a pear, so skinny jeans do not look cute on me in photos, which I learned the hard way. Now I know I need to wear wide leg dress pants or bootcut jeans for my full body photos.
The silver lining to my rejected headshots is that I created a new headshot strategy. Now I'm booking various photographers for just one outfit per session, which is a lot cheaper and will give me a more diverse portfolio throughout the year.
The focus of my next shoot will be a full body shot. While we're at it, I'll see if we can get one good commercial and one good theatrical photo. The next session will be a little more gritty. I'll probably listen to music that makes me cry, work through a good sense memory beforehand, and be ok with my eye makeup looking a little rough.
In summary, I suggest booking various photographers for just one outfit per session, focus on getting one type of shot (see list below), and then ask for a few closeups at each shoot to see if you can get a new commercial or theatrical headshot while you're at it.
Here are a few ideas on how to focus your one-look sessions:
Casting directors love special skills photos, by the way. You may need to hire a very specific photographer if one of your special skills involves action, such as sports, to make sure they know how to capture movement correctly.
Again, only hiring them for one outfit will make the session cheaper. You'll also get better photos because you won't be worried about pulling off various looks. You can just focus on looking awesome at playing sports or looking professional, not both.
3. WRITE THANK YOU CARDS
Please for the love of God stop wasting your money printing and mailing resumes or postcards. I know for a fact that the casting directors you want to get your headshot and resume in front of don't have legitimate addresses listed.
I let an actor friend of mine use my P.O. Box as her return address, and all of her mail to the most popular casting directors was returned because, well, they like their privacy.
Writing thank you cards is always a good idea because you'll be writing to people that you've actually worked with, and you'll have a call sheet or email containing a legitimate address.
Word travels fast in this business, and everyone likes an actor that expresses gratitude. Gratitude also increases your confidence according to a study cited by Forbes.
Please don't assume you know how to write thank you cards correctly. I had a steep learning curve, but now I can write cards that get a response, even from directors. Learn more about how to get started here.
I had a director email me after receiving my thank you card saying he planned to work with me again. That has never happened from me sending out snail mail, assuming it even gets to where I hope it's going (see the first part of this section!).
A lot of actors only ever communicate about themselves. Imagine how tiring that is for casting directors and directors. Now imagine how refreshing it must be for them to have an actor not only say thank you but personalize their card in a meaningful way. I'll teach you how to do it here.
Remember, dreams don't work unless you do.
Here's your marketing checklist for today:
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Writing thank you cards is actually in Stage 2 of your Actor Boss Workflow. Find out if you still need Stage 1 here.
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HEY ACTOR BOSS,
I'll teach you how to become a screen actor even if you have no experience or if you want to transition from another performance genre. First, what is Actor Boss? Learn more here.