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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Essential tools and marketing for actors

The Actors Voice

by Bonnie Gillespie

http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/


What's Your Recipe?

Things I say all the time: Your headshot is not a photograph; it's a marketing tool. Your demo reel is the trailer for the feature that is YOU. Your website should make me feel like I'm sitting down with you as I visit it. Your cover letter's mission is not to get you representation; it's to get you a meeting. And, my favorite: Your resumé is not a list of everything you've ever done; it's a recipe for how to cast you next.
With all of these handy lines I've been saying forever, the core truth is this: If you look at each element of your marketing arsenal as an INGREDIENT and think about your goal of crafting a very specific recipe (getting cast in a specific project, getting repped by a specific agent or manager, getting a meeting with a specific showrunner or producer), stripping away the ingredients that DON'T help you complete the proper recipe becomes easy.
That string of hosting clips you keep on your demo reel? Y'know, the demo reel you show to casting directors who DON'T cast hosts? That's like a delicious pineapple that you're not gonna layer into your zucchini lasagna.
Those stills from stage plays all over your website? Y'know, the website to which you keep sending on-camera agents, hoping they'll sign you for pilot season rather than worrying you won't be available for TV due to your theatre company's rehearsal schedule? Those are marcona almonds that you'll never use to top your chicken nachos.
And the print modeling credits you've listed on your resumé? That resumé you dutifully send out to score acting--not modeling--gigs? Welp, those would be capers you're never gonna use to top your delicious tiramisu.
It's not that those ingredients suck. In fact, they're delightful ingredients--in other recipes. In the recipes you're using in an attempt to create specific dishes, they are a disaster, or--at the very least--the dishes don't end up tasting the way you intended.
Think about the agent you'll attract if your tools are scattered, unfocused, not leading the agent down the path to understanding *exactly* how to market you.
Compare that with the agent you'll attract if your tools leave zero question about where you're headed next.
Sure, your tools are just a small part of the complete meal you'll serve up. The ingredients make up the individual dishes, but your talent, professionalism, and charm brings it all together and turns it into an experience the guests will never forget.
Do me a favor in these last days of 2013: Review each of the ingredients that work their way into the dishes you've created (that headshot, that reel, that website, that cover letter, that resumé) and determine their "rightness" for the dinner party you're ultimately hoping to craft.
Know that the asparagus doesn't feel bad when it's left out of a certain dish. Lose attachment to the ingredients you omit from these particular recipes. And confidently go forward with having a 2014 that COOKS!

Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Got a question, some feedback, or a great tip to share with the world? Email showfaxbon@gmail.com. Follow Bonnie on Twitter, circle up at Google+, subscribe at YouTube, download THE WORK podcast at iTunes, or hit "like" at the Facebook. For cool weekly emails from Bon and a free MP3, opt on in. Looking for Self-Management for Actors coaching? START HERE! Yay!
Posted at 01:23 AM
Category(s): Commentary

Your Turn

Greetings, Bonnie Gillespie.
Great column this week, as always. While I agree with most of what you wrote, I dissent on the issue of LinkedIn. It's true that most actors misuse it. It's true that it has been abused by many. But is that a reason to write it off? Should we write off affective memory because some actors don't know how to approach it? Nay, I say. And again I say nay.
The secret of LinkedIn is the secret of all social media, and in my opinion, the secret of life. Add value. Always be asking, "How can I be of more value? How can I increase my service to others?"
Here is just one way to do that with LinkedIn. And I have to give you partial credit, because you are the one who taught me to think like a ninja.

  1. Find industry pros you'd like to connect with on LinkedIn. *Do not send them a connection request,* just find them.
  2. Check their profiles to see what industry related groups they're in.
  3. Join those groups.
  4. Watch the conversations in the groups. Chime in only when you have something of value to add.
  5. When appropriate and of value, start your own discussions.
  6. Over time, this will position you as a thought leader, and other members of the group will start reaching out to you.
And for the bloggers, LinkedIn conversations can be a great place to find good blog topics. If a particular conversation is getting high traffic, you know it will be a popular blog post.Salutations,
David Harper

Brilliant, David. Thank you. Yes. You're totally right. This is "lurk then lead" in action, for sure. Thank you for reminding me that--when used correctly--even tools that aren't traditionally a snug fit for creatives can be powerful ones. Rock on and keep creating, my friend!

Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Got a question, some feedback, or a great tip to share with the world? Email showfaxbon@gmail.com. Follow Bonnie on Twitter, circle up at Google+, subscribe at YouTube, download THE WORK podcast at iTunes, or hit "like" at the Facebook. For cool weekly emails from Bon and a free MP3, opt on in. Looking for Self-Management for Actors coaching? START HERE! Yay!

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