IT’S URGENT FOR ACTORS TO DISCUSS SOCIAL MEDIA
Love It or Hate It?
Whether you’re already doing it, or have no idea how to start, social media is a vital part of how an actor should market their career. If you’re an actor who’s been trying to dodge the topic rather than jump on the public network train, you better start now, because it’s moving fast and will help you promote your business (which is yourself) more effectively than anything else out there right now. The exciting, or depressing thing, depending on which way you look at it, is that Casting Directors are embracing the medium as part of their decision-making on whom to call in for auditions. Why, may you ask? It’s because Producers, Studios and Networks want to meet the social media influencers for roles in film and television. They’re hoping these influencers can help steer their millions of followers to their movie, TV and digital projects. But, does it work? Does hiring a less talented actor with huge social media numbers really drive a bigger audience to a movie or TV show? The answer really isn’t clear, but it seems Producers are hedging their bets, and the fact that some actors are being asked the size of their social media following means that the perception of its relevance is real. To emphasize the gravity of social media to an actor’s career, read this eye-opening excerpt from Brian Medavoy’s Social Media Guide For Actors: “In a panel discussion at a recent South by Southwest [film festival], casting directors revealed that acting talent may only account for 7% of the reason a particular actor would be cast for a role. They suggested actors start recording short films, comedies, and sketches on YouTube and [Instagram] to get exposure.”
All of this information may have your head spinning, right now, especially since there’s so many social media platforms, and there’s questions of what to post, etc. However, the key is to keep it simple. You’re an actor, so show yourself. This might be as difficult as getting headshots for some performers. It boggles my mind how many actors hate getting headshots or even auditioning, but that’s the job. The advantage to social media is that you can be yourself, but be positive. Don’t criticize. Don’t politicize. Make your acting social media fun and inclusive and interesting. This is your business. What you say and do affects your business, so keeping it appealing will draw in followers whom like you and support your creative endeavors. Next, don’t worry about being active on every platform. Pick your favorite one, whether it’s Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, and make it known to your fans where they can find you most often and most recently. The best way to add followers involves following people you like, admire and find appealing yourself, as well as hashtagging. If you don’t know what the “h” word is, it means adding buzz words with a “#” sign in front of the word. Add those hashtags to the end of your post, and use hashtags you think most people would commonly search. For example, if you post a picture of yourself on the set of a recent film you’re shooting, you could hashtag the words #featurefilm #acting #actorslife. Sometimes, people will search a hashtag to see what others are posting about a specific subject, and if they happen to see your post and like it, they may start following you. You can also add a person’s social media handle to your post when referring to them. Research more fun ways to build a following: https://sproutsocial.com/insights/building-social-media-presence/
Remember to focus on your talents in the posts. What’s your best talent? Singing? Dancing? Being funny? Whatever it is, show the world. That way, others with similar interests and talents, or those that truly admire those talents and interests, will follow and look forward to what you’ll do next. Keep in mind, though, to use social media as a business tool, and not a lifestyle, because it can consume one’s time negatively and become an addiction. Life is much more valuable fully lived than documented. Again, studying and making yourself an amazing actor is priority #1, because most true talent rises to the top.
Tell a Story.
Essentially, social media has developed into a storytelling medium that you can control, and where you can build your own audience. You are the studio. You are the network. You can attract sponsors for the stories you post. You can be discovered. Just ask Rachel Bloom (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”): https://mashable.com/2016/01/11/rachel-bloom-golden-globe/#RBtVOd5IbSq1
Explore your creativity as a writer, director, producer, editor, collaborator and actor any way you desire. No more concern for budgets. No more concern for how to reach an audience. They’re out there, and they want to find you. You get to explore who you are as a performer, and you can draw the interest of the entertainment industry if you strike the right chord.
Good Old Days
When I started my Agenting career, we used black & white headshots. A few years later, color headshots finally came into common use. We packed envelopes with hard copy 8×10 photos & resumes. Now, we submit electronically. I didn’t even anticipate how influential social media would be to the actual casting of film & television roles in the future. Yet, here we are. Actors don’t realize how prominent they are to their own career building. Social media provides an opportunity for others to see you perform in addition to actual auditioning. Hollywood is going through another huge shift, and we can’t ignore it. Silent films added sound. Black & white films became color. Televisions allowed audiences to watch shows at home. Film became obsolete. Now, big studio movies shoot on digital cameras. All the naysayers about these entertainment industry movements have been wrong about their impact and sustainability, and they paid a price for being intractable. The only guarantee throughout our careers is change, and we must adapt or be left behind. In order to help you understand the new direction of the industry, here is a great article: https://nypost.com/2018/05/27/studios-are-now-looking-for-actors-who-are-insta-famous/?utm_campaign=iosapp&utm_source=mail_app
Have fun! Be creative! Get discovered! You never know what could happen unless you try!