So, You Wanna Be a (Seattle) Film Actor…

You live in Seattle.

You want to work in front of the camera.

Good! Let’s talk about how to get you more opportunities for work, my friend.

MARKETING TOOLS:

1. Headshot – Your headshot is a must have item for the aspiring Seattle film actor. It should be high quality and representative of you. Your current look. Your essence. You must look like your headshot when you come into the room for the audition. You will want to hire a professional headshot photographer. In our humble little city, you should be ready to spend $200 – $250. I have seen special offers, now and again, offering sessions in the $99 – $150 price range, but these deals are not always available, so plan accordingly. Locally, I recommend Susan Doupe’ and John Ulman. John Galfano has been a very supportive member of my Craft group on FB, and while I have not worked with him yet, he gets a mention here, too. Here is a blog he wrote about headshots. As your most important marketing tool, your headshot is often your first introduction to the gatekeepers of precious and hard to come by acting jobs! A crappy headshot is a great way to get passed over and moved to the bottom of the pile. So, hire a pro (after interviewing them, of course), have a wonderful shoot, then review the work with your friends, agent, and other people you trust, and choose the looks which will get you called in for the kinds of roles that you can excel in.

Other things to consider regarding your headshot:

  • 8×10 is the industry standard.
  • Color photography is the trend.
  • Your name should be on the front of the headshot.
  • When submitting your headshot and resume’, you will want to have your professionally formatted resume’ stapled to the back of your headshot. Here are great resume’ tips from Bonnie Gillespie.
  • In the least, you will want two headshots which “sell” you in specific ways. One “theatrical” and one “commercial.”
  • You will need to get your headshots professionally reproduced, so you can deliver hard copies whenever needed. I have had success with Reproductions and Isgophoto.
  • You will also need digital files of your headshots so you can upload them to online casting sites like TPS, Casting Frontier, Casting Networks, Actors Access, etc.
  • If you need advice on how to prepare for your headshot session, that will be addressed in a separate post.

2. Reel – A reel is a great compliment to your headshot. Having a 1 – 2 minute video which shows you in a few different roles is a great way to introduce people to your work who don’t know your work. If you only have  one clip to show, that is fine! It’s better than nothing, and that one piece of footage might be just the thing that gets you called into the room when the headshot alone didn’t. Of course, this does mean you have to get your hands on your footage. Sometimes, getting footage from a shoot is a challenge, so do your best to work on projects with professional and considerate people whenever possible. Need tips on cutting your reel? Here ya go!

3. Business Cards – As a savvy networker – an actor who gets out in the mix and meets new people in her industry – you need to be able to leave people with something to remember you by. I mean, you *are* making the effort to put your face and your persona out there and making connections, right? So, get your business cards made, and pass them out, tastefully, when you are making new connections. Your headshot reproducer should be able to make you cards, or, if you have a friend who can help you with creating a great layout, I recommend this place for biz card reproductions.

4. Website – Do you need a website to book work? Well, no. You don’t even need a reel, but I believe a reel really, really helps in getting cast. And, since websites are now so easy to make, I think making one is a good idea. Put it up, add some contact info, and there you are. Don’t want to bother with the depth of a webpage? Build a splash page on About.me. It’s easy and free, man.

5. Social Networking – Everyone and their mom is on Facebook. Most people are on Twitter, too. I use both platforms often, and have built Facebook Groups and a Facebook Page specifically for my actor jazz. Twitter is a great place to meet and follow other actors and filmmakers, and I find Twitter to be an easier place to make connections with people I don’t yet know in real life! Oh, and who could forget the blog?! WordPress is the flavor of the day for blogging, and while I am sure there are other great places to start blogging, I am quite fond of WordPress, myself. Obviously. 🙂 Here is a shout our to my wife’s website and blog, hosted by…you guessed it! WordPress!

Thanks for reading!

Have anything to add? Please leave a comment!

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