Al Gore may have claimed to have invented the internet, and Barack Obama’s presidential campaign may have used the internet to aplomb, but it is another renowned American politician whose pre-political career could’ve benefited from the internet. Ronald “The Gipper” Reagan rose to Hollywood stardom before the internet. He had to go about spreading his name the old fashioned way, through auditions, callbacks, and pounding the pavement.
Nowadays, more film and television casting happens online than in person and casting directors aren’t the only ones turning to the web for professional support. Writers, producers, and directors all utilize the internet to search for talent and to display their own successes. Actors can follow suit to boost their own budding careers by making the most of the resources and networking opportunities that the World Wide Web has to offer.
Internet Movie Database
They call it IMDb in the industry and it is the holy grail of online advertisement for the entertainment industry. On the website, actors can post headshots, film credits, and basic biographical information for industry professionals (and the public) to view. A basic profile is free and if maintained, can provide a certain amount of credibility to an aspiring actor. The downside is that because IMDb is such a large site, profiles can get buried, never to be discovered by Hollywood decision makers.
Personal Website and Blog
A personal domain and associated blog can act like as a marketing tool, reference site, and efficient means of communication. An actor website doesn’t have to be complex. In fact, it should be simple to use, yet neat and organized. On a personal website, actors can post their resumes, headshots, reels, contact information and more. Once you generate a following, a blog is an excellent way to keep in touch with your fans and inform them of upcoming projects. The advantage of a personal website is the control it affords the actor, at a low price. A custom WordPress domain can be purchased for about $4 a month, well worth the investment just for the ease of exposure.
If you can’t beat ‘em, you might as well join ‘em. Committing to improving as an actor can go a long way toward a successful career. Taking classes at New York Film Academy, auditioning for local plays, and studying acting technique are important for all actors. However, as casting director Heidi Levitt (The Artist) says, “The Internet is now your casting room,” and the number one streaming video site is YouTube.
As we discussed in our prior piece on essential resources for actors, all over the world actors are producing their own short videos, sketches, and vlogs (video blogs) and receiving millions of views as a result. All you have to do is create a YouTube channel and begin making videos and the views will come. YouTube videos show talent and determination to casting directors, and they also act as generators of traffic for your personal website. Although the goal of the videos should be to expand your artistic and professional horizons, if enough people view them, actors can turn a profit on the hobby.
Social Media Presence
Some actors hate it, some actors love it, but the fact is that social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are changing the way the industry networks. As a general rule, a professional fan page should be different from you personal page and should focus on your acting accomplishments. Shameless self-promotion may not come naturally to some, but the practice is becoming a standard for many actors. Share photos and videos from the set, post updates and information regarding upcoming shows, and tweet to your heart’s content.
The internet is a crazy place, full of interference but brimming with opportunity. Any actor who is able to harness the promotional power of the net can serve themselves well in the future. Remember, all the above-mentioned websites are connected and they feed into one another. A little effort on the computer and a little creative thought are all that separate you from winning one for the Gipper.