It’s the year 2015, and like most people, you dedicate precious moments of time each day to posting updates about your life to your favorite social media sites for all your friends and loved ones to see. Even my 78 year-old grandmother logs into her Facebook account on a daily basis to spread good cheer and wish her friends and family members a “Happy Birthday.” So why not use social media to help launch your film career.
For actors in the entertainment industry, those very same social media sites have become not only mainstream with respect to executing limitless self-promotion, but even more so, they have become equally as important as having shiny new head shots, credits on IMDb, and professional agents and managers on board to help navigate the tepid waters and land sought after auditions for television, film, and stage projects.
Imagine my surprise then, when an actor takes the time to track down the proper contact information, and sends an email with the desire to be considered for representation, but they neglect to include links to their social media profiles.
It’s true, nine out of 10 submissions from actors regarding the desire to obtain representation contain all the necessary materials, including links to a professional website, IMDb profile, and other various professional profiles that are used in the industry, but they do not contain links to social media sites.
“Why does this matter?”
If you are scratching your head right now and find yourself asking the very same question, you are not alone. Most actors ask this question, because they simply never thought social media would matter to an agent or manager. I mean, why should it?
I’m here to tell you why, now more than ever, you MUST become social media savvy in order to launch and maintain an acting career in the 21st Century. Interestingly enough, I’m perusing Breakdowns even as I write this tidbit, and low and behold, there is a casting notice that specifically states “talent must have ample social media fan-base to be considered.” Wait, is this even legal to demand?
I asked myself this very same question the first time I ran across such a statement on a casting notice, and the truth is, not only is it legal, but it’s becoming more and more of a requirement. The reason? Thousands (preferably “millions”) of followers of an actor’s social media profiles translates to millions of potential views for a project, and as we’ve all witnessed by clicking on any Youtube link in the past several years, the short commercials that play before we can watch a video translates to ad-revenue ($$$) for the website hosting the video.
If you take a few moments and skim through the zillions of profiles on Facebook, you will eventually cross paths with one person who has more Facebook fans than anybody else on the planet, and believe it or not, that person is none other than A-list actor, Vin Diesel.
With a whopping 90 million fans (and counting) via Facebook, Vin Diesel’s presence on any project (movie or otherwise) is going to guarantee millions upon millions of views or ticket sales for that particular project.
So, what does this mean for actors in the 21st Century? Simply put, you must have social media profiles, and you must actively engage with your profiles on a daily basis.
“But wait! I don’t have time for social media! I don’t understand social media! How does posting on Twitter help me out as an actor?!”
I have heard these responses from actors (as well as a few of my own clients) more times than I care to count, and my response is simple and pointed. If you have the time and money to attend acting classes and countless workshops, submit yourself for roles via casting sites, go to the gym, and do any of the million other things you do on a daily basis to keep your mind and body fit, then you have the time to post updates to your social media profiles. The best part is, posting to social media is FREE.
You can get started immediately by setting up a Twitter profile (it takes about two minutes to set up) and connecting it directly to your Facebook profile. This “connecting” of your profiles will create efficiency, meaning you will only have to post to one profile, which will automatically post to the other profile on your behalf. Then, you simply post updates to your profile at least three times each day.
“Wait! Help! I don’t know what to post on social media!”
Yes, this is another excuse I hear on a regular basis. Suggestion? Keep things simple. Post about your latest audition, or perhaps a new acting class in which you’re involved. Maybe you’re on set of a short film or web series project, or maybe you’re out for a hike or getting into the gym for a good workout. You can literally post about anything you desire.
Social media doesn’t have to be complicated, and again, just as you would engage your friends if you were to walk into their house, the same goes for engaging your friends via social media.
For those of you who still claim there isn’t enough time in a day to maintain your social media profiles, low and behold, there are great websites available (for free), that actually allow you to schedule your posts in advance on all of your social media sites. My favorite website is Hootsuite, but there are countless others, all of which work essentially the same way and offer free tutorials online with a few clicks of a button.
So, with the declaration of social media as being an absolute necessity in today’s industry, what do I personally prefer to see when receiving email inquiries from actors regarding the desire for representation?
The essentials still include links to a professional website, IMDb profile, Actor’s Access and LA Casting profiles, etc., but in addition, you must also include links to your Facebook Fan-Page, Twitter, and Instagram, and others if you have them.
If you include these basic links in your initial email inquiry, it will automatically put you 95% ahead of the others, and who knows, you might just hear back from this manager with interest in scheduling a meeting to discuss representation in the modern-day, fast-paced, social media driven entertainment industry.
Matt Prater is the owner of Dedicated Talent Management in Los Angeles, a boutique firm that represents award-winning actors, producers, writers, and directors. You can reach Matt @DedicatedTalent.