HERE'S WHAT HAPPENED
Acting class is a great place to network and make friends with other actors, especially when you're new to the market. Once I got to know the actors in my class, I did the next logical thing and looked them up on Facebook.
There's was one big fat problem--hardly any of us had Facebook pages. That meant our only option was to add each other as friends on our personal profiles instead of having the option to network on a more professional level via a like page.
I kept staring at that Add Friend button wishing I had another option. Yea, I got along with a lot of people, but we weren't friends yet. It also occurred to me that casting directors and production teams might be looking for me online and were also stuck staring at that button wishing they had a more professional way to research me.
Could I make my personal profile public? Sure, but I had posts that were really only for my friends and family. Plus, making it public meant that any ol' crazy on the internet could see or screenshot my posts. Did you know that if your personal profile is public, your photos could actually show in a Google or Facebook search? No thank you.
While it's true that you can network just by using your private Facebook profile, it's better for actors to have a public Facebook page for a number of reasons:
Your profile should be private, and your fan page should be public. In this post, I want to give you three timeless Facebook tips for actors that will benefit your marketing efforts. Correctly using social media is crucial if you want to be a working actor versus someone who is just doing it as a hobby because it will give you that professional edge that most actors tend to ignore.
If you want to market yourself better, Facebook is a great place to do it. It's free, and it still reigns as the social media king of the world. With around 2 billion users as of 2017, there's no shortage of potential fans and followers.
You also need to understand that people are looking for you there, especially producers! Here's what a reputable industry source has to say about social media:
"I know firsthand that producers, studios, and networks can and do go through your social media." -Casting director Marci Liroff via Backstage | ET, Indiana Jones, Mean Girls
Even if you don't want to use Facebook as your primary platform, you can use these tips to set up a great looking, professional like page for anyone who inevitably Googles your name. Facebook pages are typically a top hit.
FACEBOOK POSTING TIP 1: POSTING TOPICS
So let's dig into these key tips for your fan page! Most actors are confused about what to post on their page that they're not already posting on their profiles. I say avoid double dipping.
There's no reason for people to follow your page if they can see the same info on your profile. Whatever you post on your personal profile should be special for just friends and family, almost as if you're sending them a text.
You need to primarily post on your like page, and rotate 3-5 topics in your posts. The easiest way to get started is to post three times a week, Monday/Wednesday/Friday.
Now assign a different topic to each day, so that you're consistently posting the same type of content like clockwork. Monday could be about your acting. Wednesday could be an inspirational quote. Friday could be an image from your camera roll with behind-the-scenes from your life.
Only one of those topics should be about your actor's life. Notice I said ONE, not all of them. Users go to Facebook to learn about a person, so if you only post about your acting, it feels like there's a giant brick wall between us stopping me from learning more about Y-O-U.
You most likely won't have a new booking to post about every week. Let's follow the example above and say that you decide to post about your actor's life each Monday.
Use this list of ideas for your acting posts:
Use this list of ideas for your personal posts:
The goal of these behind-the-scenes personal posts is to build a relationship with your audience. I wouldn't count sponsored posts as personal posts. Only share products you love that aren't sponsored and don't have affiliate links on your personal post days.
Sponsored posts are promotional, which you can add to the mix once you start doing those. Instead of posting inspirational quotes, you could replace your Wednesday posts with promotional posts.
If you only want to post promotional content once per month, however, then add it to your regular posting schedule, let's say after you've posted your inspirational quote. That way your posting is still consistent and your audience will still get what they expect, plus a little extra.
Do you have more ideas for personal posts? Comment below this post and share! See what I did there? That's a CTA with a question. I still for real want you to comment with ideas, though.
FACEBOOK POSTING TIP 2: POSTING FREQUENCY
Facebook announced some big changes, and they probably will again in the future. They're constantly making changes to push boundaries and stay relevant to the marketplace. Back in the day we were told to post 1-3 times per day.
Now, since Facebook is running out of space in the newsfeed, experts say we should only post 1-3 times per week. Less is more. This creates more "room" in the Facebook feed, which will hopefully translate to more of our audience seeing our posts.
What you post will also impact your posting frequency. Facebook uses algorithms to push their latest feature into the newsfeed. So when live video was launched, anyone using live video would be rewarded by Facebook showing that post to more people, whereas they would squash the reach of a still image. That means it would be better to only post one live video versus three still images.
Engagement is the true king on Facebook, though. Even if Facebook is squashing still image posts, but you get likes, comments, or shares on one, then Facebook will say, "Hey, people seem to like this post. Let's push it out into the newsfeed more."
That means that you can really post anything you want whenever you want, but only if it gets engagement, specifically in the form of comments or shares. Just be sure to avoid engagement bait. This is a surefire way to get your posts or entire page demoted.
It's important that you drive engagement with strangers on your Facebook Page, not just with friends and family on your personal profile, or else you will never expand your reach outside of your social circle. That means you may need to tweak your posting frequency based on your analytics, which is only available via a page, not a profile.
Don't let the word analytics scare you. You're primarily looking to see what days and times your audience is active on Facebook, which they show you in easy-to-understand visual charts. I noticed, for example, that not a lot of actors are active on Facebook Thursday or Friday, so I started posting on M/Tu/Wed.
I also noticed that my audience was active starting at 3pm each day and increased activity throughout the evening. It made more sense for me to record live videos around 3pm rather than 10am. Start your posting frequency with a few days a week, then tweak it based on your audience's activity.
For example, if your audience is only active on Mondays for some reason, then it would only make sense to post 3-5 times every Monday rotating your different topics throughout the day.
You can engage with your audience the rest of the week, but it would make zero sense for you to post to your page any other day if no one is there to engage with your posts. Facebook will demote your page if you post and get crickets.
FACEBOOK POSTING TIP 3: POSTING ATTRIBUTION
It's suuuuper awkward when you think you've been interacting as your page, but realize you've been interacting as your personal profile. It's easy to confuse the two if you're using the same name for both. You definitely want to use two different default photos.
Be sure to post as your page and not your profile. There's a difference! This is especially true when you comment on, like, or share posts from another like page.
Unless you need to interact inside of an acting or film group with your personal profile for work purposes, then use a different username for your personal profile as well. Nowadays, a lot of groups will let you join as your page, though. My vote is to separate them as much as possible, which I plan to do now that pages are allowed inside of groups.
In the past, I could only network in groups with my personal profile, so unless the username was the same, it wasn't obvious who I was. If a group doesn't allow you to join as your page, then you need to make a tough choice about using your work name on your personal profile or just not interacting in that group.
When interacting on another page, make sure to change your post attribution from your personal profile to your page so it looks as if your like page is commenting on a post.
You don't want to drive a bunch of strangers from another like page to your personal profile. The goal is to have them hover over your name to see your like page preview and follow you there.
Here are the top reasons to interact as your page instead of your personal profile:
IMPORTANT NOTE: You should download the Pages app to make sure you're always posting and commenting as your like page via mobile. The pages app kinda sucks, but it is great for keeping you focused on only your page. I seriously didn't get distracted by my personal newsfeed for months while using the pages app. It's great for staying focused.
Have you created your Facebook like page yet? If not, do that today. No one will really see it or know it's there before you finish it, and they now offer the labels Public Figure/Actor to make it easy for you to get started.
Once you have your Facebook like page started:
Before you start posting on social, it's important to build your personal brand so your voice and image stays consistent, which will allow you to attract crazy loyal fans and followers.
Remember, you are attracting strangers as followers online, and they do not know you personally. It's hard for them to decide if they can trust you. Think about your own habits. What makes you follow someone or a brand? You feel like you know, like, and trust them.
You need to tap into the research results that companies have spent billions of dollars to learn: consistency builds trust. Whenever you interact with a company, you need to know that you're doing business with the right company. Your fans feel the same way about you.
What if you saw the Pepsi logo but it was purple and green? You would think it's a knockoff, right? You need to create a consistent image online so that people know they're interacting with you and not a knockoff or spam account.
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Personal branding isn't until Stage 3 of your Actor Boss Workflow. See if you need to start with Stage 1 here.
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HERE'S WHAT HAPPENED
When you first become a professional actor, you go through the grind of doing commercials and industrials. Most actors complain about this because it's not "scene work," but it can teach you a lot about being on set before you start running with the big boys and girls.
I had an interesting experience on one of my first industrial photo shoots for a major bank. My mother has worked in the banking industry my entire life, so even though I hadn't seen a shot list, I knew what to expect.
I was probably (most definitely) going to play a bank teller with a big smile handing a customer money across the counter. I would probably (most definitely) play an employee sharing my two cents at a meeting.
While I was sorting through my twelve million outfit options, someone from production started running through the waiting area to assign roles to all of the talent. He quickly walked past me and said, "You will be showing everyone what not to do by sexually harassing all of the employees."
Wait, what the heck?
I am a modest is hottest kinda girl, and it's not because I'm insecure about how I look. It's just nobody else's business except for my husband's. I immediately started (carefully) Googling stock photos depicting harassment in the workplace to see what this meant for me.
Oh God, no.
Kill me now.
Someone else made an assumption just previous to this shoot about what I was willing to do in a scene solely based on my headshot.
I looked over at my actor friend, Tracie, and said, "What do my headshots look like? Do I look like I'm a scandalous woman?"
"No, you don't," she said.
She was right. I wasn't showing that much skin. I wasn't wearing anything super revealing. I wasn't making any suggestive faces. (Although, I have had a photographer manipulate a shoot to "catch" a few faces that looked suggestive between poses that I'll tell you about in the future. Total nightmare.)
I realized then that you won't always be able to control how people see you, but you can do your best to portray who you are as a person because that uniqueness is what will get you cast. (Sometimes, though, the lens through which people see the world will dictate what they think of you no matter what.)
Before you dig into this blog post, I want you to understand that it's ultimately up to the casting directors, directors, and producers to decide if you're the right "type" for the role.
My goal in this post is to give you criteria on how to find your actor type that will help you better understand the primary impression you're making on others, which you can then utilize in a very specific way to increase your opportunities.
Ideally, you should portray how you'd like to be cast (assuming you have a preference). If not, then I still think niching yourself is the best way to push forward, and then you can show everyone that you have range later once the opportunity presents itself.
THE TRUTH ABOUT YOUR "TYPE"
We need to place parameters on this concept of type so that it doesn't control your world. While I am going to have you ask for feedback from people you know, it has a specific purpose that we'll discuss in a minute.
It is very eye-opening to understand how you come across to other people versus how you *think* you come across to other people because that's how you're coming across to casting directors, directors, and producers that don't know you very well.
However, I hate the idea of you standing in a room full of people that aren't casting directors to ask them how they would cast you. For starters, that's not their job. Also, if you don't utilize that information correctly, it's going to plant very negative seeds into your brain that will grow and fester into your death as an actor by limiting your beliefs about your talent.
Understanding how people see you is not what's important; how you use this information is what's important. Here's the specific way to use your type: I think finding your type is best used to pick comp card looks for commercial modeling photos or to market yourself for co-star roles for tv shows, not for the entirety of your career.
Those roles don't typically require a ton of range and aren't going to be what wins you the Oscar. They're also usually niched into one-word descriptions such as doctor, waiter, or gangster making them easy to book from a simple photo or vibe you give. Can you see why asking a bunch of other actors how they would cast you doesn't make sense for your long-term career now?
Your abilities as an actor could never be summed up into the initial vibe you give. You can, however, use that vibe to book a lot of these "stepping stone" roles for bit parts that are actually booked from first impressions.
Please understand that ultimately I think you should read for any and all roles you're comfortable reading for. I don't believe any actor just getting started is "above" a role, which is different than feeling like it's not a good fit for you. The goal of this post is to give you a strategy for using your type in the most beneficial way possible.
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3 UNIQUE QUESTIONS TO FIND YOUR ACTOR TYPE
I learned this as a student during a summer workshop at the New York Film Academy. I have no idea who created it, but I'm fairly sure the teacher's name that taught it to me was Abbie.
3 Unique Criteria to Find Your Actor Type:
If you have any copyright information about this, or know of its existence elsewhere online, please comment to let me know! To my knowledge, this is not proprietary information.
WHAT'S YOUR VIBE?
Your vibe is best described in temperatures: Hot, Warm, Cool, and Cold. These have nothing to do with how you look, so don't let the "hot" label trick you. Let's look at short descriptions and celebrity examples for each of these to give you more clarity.
WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
This question should be taken as straight forward as it sounds. Pick from Urban, Suburban, Rural, and Royal. Where were you born in the world? What part of the country? What part of your city? The hard truth for Hollywood is that your answers should be based on the USA.
Production companies see an actor's potential through the lens of why people are going to pay cold hard cash to see them. That means you are literally selling one of the following items listed, which don't need much explanation. You need to understand as an actor that production companies are worried about one thing--making money. They need to be! If they don't make a profit, they can't keep making movies, and we're all out of a job.
Remember, you are a multifaceted person who may portray multiple of these answers throughout the week, but you primarily portray one answer from each of these lists whether you realize it or not. Find out what it is, and use it, use it, use it to ramp up your initial bookings.
Which three answers would you pick for yourself off the top of your head? Go with your gut. Comment and share.
My initial answer to, "Where are you from?" was Suburban because I grew up in the suburbs. The instructor that taught this to me, however, said that because I was from Alabama and sounded as if I had a Southern accent to people in other parts of the country, that I should actually consider Rural. I've lived in both NYC and LA, and inevitably my friends in both locations started calling me Alabama because of the way I say words such as "pie."
Additionally, when I shot a commercial for Audi, the director kept asking me to lose the Southern accent even though I thought I had. I've sometimes had people say they can't tell I'm Southern when I've "turned it off" a bit, but the majority of people can still hear it. I can either fight it or use it to my advantage. Helloooo Holly Hunter.
BRANDING VS TYPECASTING
I also want you to understand that typecasting is slightly different than branding. Branding is used for marketing, and typecasting is used for getting booked, but your branding should influence your typecasting.
Part of my branding is relatability and modesty. Do you know who is not relatable or modest? A Bond girl. She's exotic, urban, and sells sexiness all day long.
That means that you'll never see lingerie photos on one of my comp cards. I'm not going to ever market myself as the co-star girl who has a one-night stand with the lead on a show.
Therefore, my branding is influencing my typecasting. It doesn't mean that I couldn't do those roles, it means I'm choosing not to based on my brand values.
The opposite may be true for you. You might read those descriptions above and think they sound exactly like a role you would like to play. The point is that I've thought through what I want, and I want you to do the same.
Think through your branding, set your brand values, and allow that to influence how you utilize your typecasting results.
Each of the questions we discussed has a few answers to pick from. Pick one word from each column in the download at the end of this post. I would classify Sarah Silverman, for example, as Hot | Urban | Humor/Fun.
These three answers shouldn't dictate the rest of your acting career. I want you to use them for the sole purpose of ramping up your bookings for commercial modeling and co-star gigs so you can get your foot in the door and start making some money!
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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.