It is no secret that we’re in a digital revolution. Everybody is engaging online so frequently, that it’s becoming one of the most dominating forms of communication. For this reason it’s absolutely essential that actors are building and maintaining their brand online. Just simply going to your auditions is not enough anymore. You have to be online, engaging in some way of self-promotion and making sure that you’re pushing your work as much as you can. Talent Agents, Managers, and Casting Directors are now going online to find that new secret talent that will take their business to the next level. Just look at how many new musicians and pop stars are being discovered on YouTube. The same goes for actors and models. You could be the next big thing that is waiting to be discovered. But this can only happen if you have a platform that showcases all your work and talents.
So why exactly should every actor be creating an online brand? Is it really that important?
That’s definitely a fair question, as a lot of people will feel it’s too much work for not enough reward, or that it’s going to feel awkward, narcissistic, and a little self-indulgent to create an online presence that is ALL ABOUT them. But you have to think of it that you are the product, you’re the vehicle that is going to make or break your career. When you’re an actor, it’s you as a person that is going to be the moneymaker, so you need to make sure you push that product as much as you can. Do not be afraid to stand out. Because only those who are willing to be vulnerable and put themselves out there have the opportunity to achieve big success.
Creating your online brand is another important tool available to you. Trying to make it as an actor is hard enough, so you need to give yourself whatever edge you can. By focusing on building and creating your online brand, you’re going to begin to separate yourself from other actors who can’t be bothered with the time and energy needed to build their platform. You have to become an entrepreneur of the craft, and your own hard-driving sales person. It’s essential for success.
Times are different now; producers want to know how much publicity you can get them for a TV series or movie. If you have a large following online, a producer will see you as a very valuable asset to them. It might help you in separating yourself from other competing actors in the casting process. Also, a lot of the top US and Canadian talent agencies such as CAA, ICM, AMP and WME have at least one staff member constantly scrolling the Internet, scouting for the next big star their agency can sign. Gaining an online presence has become huge for comedians in getting discovered as well, by posting gag videos, parodies, and creations that help get them potential viral exposure. You could even potentially book roles from your online brand. If you have enough videos, pictures, and quality work online, you might discover you have some important industry people sending you messages and emails saying they want to meet you, or even cast you in their next project.
Basically, why wouldn’t you start investing in your online Social Media brand? Social media is available to us everywhere and anytime. It also allows people to figure out who you are and what potential roles you would be good at playing, so you can choose to brand yourself in whatever way you want to get known for. Talk to your agent or manger and figure out your strengths and maximize on them by creating a presence online that will help give you that extra boost needed to stand out from the crowd.
Now that you’re aware and understand the importance of your online brand, what are some online tools available to actors and ones they should be engaging with on a regular basis? Listed below are some of the most important:
Build A Website: This is one of the most common and standard tools that most actors have now. Build a Basic Website that has your headshots, resume, and a show reel (when you have one). This is definitely the most important first ingredient when it comes to creating an online portfolio that will promote you as an artist. Standard actor’s websites will have a catalog style showing of their headshots that allow potential casting directors to see exactly what they look like. Provide reviews from directors or producers you have worked for on your page. Also keeping an updated resume is essential, as well as a demo showreel of your most recent work. A website concentrates all your information in one place, so it makes it very easy for someone to look you up and see exactly what you’re talents are.
YouTube Videos: A prime example of somebody who has promoted their wide-array of talents through viral YouTube videos is Taryn Southern. A very talented comedian, writer, actor, host, and singer, she’s managed to become quite the webutante, which has helped her to book many mainstream acting roles. She’s appeared on various TV shows such as New Girl and Rules of Engagement. While you don’t need to become the next viral sensation to be successful as an actor, she’s just an example of somebody who created a personal brand online and her career flourished because of it. If you’re more of an established actor, you can use YouTube to post trailers to new movies you’re appearing in, or links to notable scenes that you have done. You can have a link from your website to your YouTube videos, and vice versa.
Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram: It’s important that everyone who’s trying to build a career is using social media to some extent. If you’re a more established actor, then a Facebook fan page is a great way to build an audience and keep your fans up to date with new projects you’re working on, as well as push through all your professional marketing and press materials. Tons of comedy writers are being discovered through Twitter, which is essential for actors as well. Even if you don’t think you’re funny, or don’t like confessing all your personal feelings to the world, Twitter is a great way to get in touch with other performers, talent agents, casting directors, and managers. You can also follow accounts that are related to the film and entertainment industry, which can keep you informed with everything that’s happening. Tweeting is something that most people are doing and it’s another avenue for you to help get your words, face, and name out there. Creating an Instagram account is another great way to build followers and create an online presence. Tons of models and actors are creating accounts and posting behind the scenes pictures from various photo shoots and film sets they’re working on. Just make sure you have permission from someone on set before you snap photos. You can also go one step further and post inspiring quotes and information related to the industry. This is a great way to build a voice, a brand, and become known in the industry, which may also help to boost your career. Keep in mind that it is important not to tweet or talk about jobs that you are doing unless you have permission from the producer or your agent. You can say you have a audition or callback, but do not mention the client or job name.
Show Reel / Demo Reel: This is another one of the standard tools for actors. As soon as you have enough experience under your belt, you should be creating a reel that highlights some of your best work. This is a quick 2-3 minute video that your Talent Agent sends to a casting director or producer so they can see your work. While it’s not completely commonplace, some actors have been chosen for roles based entirely off their reel. This is why it’s essential that you have one (once you have enough experience) on your website, and upload to YouTube as well, which will actually show people that you have talent and should be taken seriously as an actor. Besides, having a demo reel helps to market you and your seen as a professional.
IMDB: It’s a very important branding tool that every talent should have. Casting directors, talent agents, and managers, may look you up on IMDB and see what your working on or your credits are like before they cast you. If you have a good chunk of credits, you will come across as established and professional. If you can’t be found online, most people will assume that you’re green and not established as a performer. Make sure that you create an IMDB account and work towards stacking those credits up!
Creating a strong online brand is a no-brainer. You can start off small (a Twitter account, LinkedIn, build a free website and or get help to edit together a solid showreel) and work towards creating more significant platforms once you’re more established. By investing in the online marketing presence early in your career, you will start to tell your peers and important people in the industry that you’re serious about your acting career.
Figure out what your brand is, create it online, and connect with like-minded people. The Internet and social media gives everyone an opportunity to build a voice and to connect. Start by building your online brand today!