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Friday, December 26, 2014

Your Websites: Brand ID and Promotion


The Actors Voice
by Bonnie Gillespie
week of March 29, 2010
Originally published by Actors Access at http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/001165.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive and new columns are available each Monday at Showfax.
Critiques: Your Websites
Hooray! It’s the end of the five-week series on Critiques! Yippee! Yahoo! :) Hey, don’t get me wrong. It’s been a blast getting to know y’all better by poking through your headshots, your resumés, your cover letters, your demo reels, and now your websites, but momma’s exhausted. Going back to “just” writing a column is going to feel like a vacation, I bet. That said, I’m impressed. Overall, the quality of materials you fine folks sent in since I made the initial request on February 8th has been outstanding. That’s pretty flippin’ cool.
So, today it’s websites. Ahh… this is tough to do, of course, because while I can share a screen cap of a website that does this right or that wrong, you know how frequently folks update their sites, so when you visit their live pages, you may not see these issues as I’ve described them. I hope I’ve done a good job grabbing examples of the major problems — and the major awesomeosity — that I’ve found on actors’ websites during this round of visits.
Not to beat a dead horse, but as I’ve said repeatedly in this series, your headshot, your resumé, your cover letter, your demo reel, your website, and everything else about your marketing package is all a part of teaching us how to get you, how to cast you. One actor wrote in stating that it all seems so “commercial” to focus on this stuff. Yes. It is. And this is big business. A very big business in which too many actors are vying for too few roles, and sometimes the edge is all about being understood. Being understood accurately. Being understood quickly and with efficiently. Because if we get you, we can bring you in better matched to the roles you’re more likely to book. Bingo!
Before we get to the critiques, here are a few general website tips:
  • Make links open in new tabs if you don’t want us to leave your site to do things like view your reel or check out your blog hosted elsewhere.
  • If you have multiple vids stored on one media page, don’t have them set on auto-launch. They’ll all start at once! Ack! That’s chaos.
  • Assume if you send us to a page with multiple vid clips, we may only watch the first one. So put that best one up top! And label everything.
  • If you’re giving us something to download, identify the file type (.doc, .mov, .pdf, etc.), and please, reconsider using .wmv and other files that are “non-industry standard” for this industry.
  • Always offer a printable resumé and make sure that file name is professional and not “headshot extremely retouched” (thanks, Laurie Records, for that laugh out loud example).
  • Either use the same main photo on every page for visual consistency or choose something different for each page, but in the same area of the page, to show us we’re on different areas of your site. But don’t use one image on two pages and another one on another three pages. Pick which style you’re going with (same image on all pages or a different image on each page) and stick to it!
  • Make sure everything is in service of your brand. Sure, you may feel great, copying and pasting interesting interviews, articles, and casting notices you find online, but not only does that get you into violation of copyright territory, it also does nothing to tell us who you are. Build your own brand. Don’t siphon off someone else’s.
  • Check everything on more computers than just your own! Check on PCs and Macs! Check using several different browsers! Check on iPhones and BlackBerry type devices! Check on huge-monitor desktop machines and itty-bitty laptops! Be sure your site looks the way you intended it would, regardless of the visitor’s technology.
Ready to get to it? here’s the visual! Wanna see last week’s piece on demo reels? Click here. And the piece on cover letters? Click here. And the piece on resumés? Click here. And the piece on headshots? Click here. Enjoy! And again, a tremendous thank you to you fine folks who submitted your goodies for this series. It’s been a blast getting to check out your marketing materials!


Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs.

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