Marketing and promotion are important for actors at every stage and something that should not be overlooked. Here we look at ways YOU can build a smart marketing strategy and start to create a professional presence online through your website and social media marketing.
Of course, you definitely need to be talented and good at your craft and if you want to build a name for yourself and your brand, you must find creative ways to market yourself. The game in the industry has changed and the standard route isn’t the only method to get your acting career lifted off anymore. For this reason, you can’t rely solely on the auditions that your agent sets you up for to be your only source of opportunity to get acting work. The good news is that there are a lot more tools at your disposal to promote yourself to a larger audience of people, which also means there is a lot more competition out there doing the exact same things you are. Actors are known to network and work on passion projects. As well, people are getting famous on YouTube, creating their own projects that launch them to stardom, people are getting famous for their wacky personas on reality shows, and overall, people are finding some very inventive ways to become noticed!
So as someone who wants to succeed in the film industry, how do you properly market yourself in ways that sets you apart from the rest of the actors looking to do the same?
Lets start with the key marketing tactics and tools for you to think about incorporating into your marketing arsenal:
1. First off, have something to sell: If you want to be the second coming of “The Situation” and launch yourself to fame on a reality show, then you won’t have to worry too much about this. These reality stars hit it big for a couple of years, then they end up fading quickly into the long forgotten atmosphere of Hollywood and go end up working normal jobs and living normal lives. They peak early and make the most money of their life in a 2-4 year span, but they don’t have any real quality talent to fall back on when their hit reality show fades from the spotlight. So if you want to become a real actor and launch a career that is going to have longevity and avoid being just a thing-of-the-moment, then you need to first make sure that you have a product to promote. This means that you have talent and are working hard to develop that talent. Make sure you’re confident in your abilities and at a point where you feel confident pushing yourself in front of people to try to sell yourself. If you’re a little insecure and unsure of your acting chops at this juncture, you might be best to get some training and work on your core skills before even thinking about marketing yourself.
2. Marketing materials are ready to go: We reiterate your headshots, resume, and demo-reel a lot throughout these posts, but that’s because they’re that important. They’re your first impression on every director and casting director when you’re submitted for auditions. You can’t even begin to try to market yourself if you don’t have quality up-to-date materials that can present you in the best way possible. So talk to your agent, manager, or an industry professional about your resume, demo or show reel and photos to make sure that they’re going to market and promote you in your best light possible.
3. Comp Cards/Business Cards: A great tool for actors to use is a business card that has their headshot printed on it. These are much easier and more effective to hand out when you meet people at networking events, or other important industry people than handing out your full-sized headshot or resume. Plus this card can have all your social media links, contact information and professional representation, Talent Agent, and any links to your website, or other information related to your acting online. Carry these cards with you when you attend parties and events and for various film festivals.
4. Make sure you’re online: You can refer to our past article How Actors Can Build A Brand Online for detailed information how an actor should be managing their brand on the web, as well as the most effective platforms for marketing themselves. But making sure you have some sort of online presence is key in helping to market yourself and show people who you’re an actor to be taken seriously. Creating a website is the most common platform for actors to promote themselves and list all their credits, as well as some of the most common social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Also be sure you’re on sites such as IMDB and Casting Workbook (which you should be if you have an agent).
5. Think outside the box and become a creator: The example I’ll use is a guy named Jimmy Tatro. He said he had always wanted to be on TV and become an actor, but never really wanted to go through the whole gauntlet and hassle of auditioning and trying to beat out thousands of other actors just like him. So what he did when he was attending the University of Arizona was start his very own YouTube channel called ‘Life According To Jimmy’. His channel was all catered around college life, partying, girls, and frat boy life. Well, he started putting out one video a week and his channel exploded and went completely viral. He built up a huge fan base and started to get a lot of exposure, not to mention promote himself as an actor who was exceptional at playing the “frat boy” character. Not only did he get to make his videos every week, entertain thousands, even millions of people, but also he also recently crossed over to do his first few film roles. Adam Sandler saw him in one of his videos and cast him in a small role in Grown Ups 2, then he was also recently in 22 Jump Street. Both movies saw him playing his signature “frat boy” character, but by creating his own stuff on the web he managed to separate himself from everybody else doing the audition grind, prove that he could act and had presence on-screen, as well as completely bypass all the years of grinding it out to get that one break. Sure he spent years building up his channel but he was doing exactly what he wanted to do.
Now there is a prime example of taking matters into your own hands, creating your own things and not sitting around waiting for your lucky break. Go out there and make big things happen and understand that nobody is going to give you a handout.
6. Marketing & Mentorship: In the early stages of your career, it will be completely up to you to hit the street and do your own marketing and promotion, but as your career expands you will have the opportunity for more and more people to help you carry out your marketing activities. You can also seek the guidance from someone you know who works in marketing, or are experienced with various marketing methods and can help you out with your career.
7. Actors Workshops & Theatre: In order to market your talents properly, you will have to find as many outlets where you can perform and get seen in front of large audiences of people. Acting workshops will be important for you to perform in front of key industry people, while theatre will help you to sharpen up on your live performance skills, which are at the core of most great film actors. Make sure you’re auditioning and getting out there as much as possible for these other avenues outside of your typical audition circuit to maximize your opportunity and exposure.
Whether you like it or not, you’re going to have to get out there and market yourself and network. It’s a huge component of the industry now and making it as an actor. Sure you may be a good actor, but if nobody ever sees you, or hears about you, then how are you ever going to show them what you can do. Simply waiting around for auditions is not enough; you need go the extra mile and really focus on yourself as a brand and making sure you’re marketing yourself as often, and as effectively as possible. The difference between someone who makes it and someone who doesn’t may actually come down to who’s the better marketer and promoter.