Casting directors and agents share their advice for how to promote yourself as an actor and why Spotlight is an important tool for this
When it comes to the performing arts industry, you – the actor – are the product. And as with any product, marketing yourself well will increase the chances of the right casting director seeing you and offering you your dream role.
But with so many other performers also trying to market themselves, how can you stand out? What is the best way to market your acting career?
According to the casting directors and agents we spoke to, if you have a Spotlight profile, you’re on the right track. We asked them what tips they had for actors looking to market themselves and here’s what they shared:
Create a Professional Website
In order to make casting directors and other industry professionals aware of your past work and experience, you need one place where they can go to easily find all the information they need. A professional actor website is ideal for this.
There are plenty of free website builders out there – such as Wix, Weebly and GoDaddy – and you don’t need to have advanced computer skills to use them. Most will come with pre-set templates you can use.
Once you’ve created a website, it’s important to fill it with suitable information and not over-complicate it. Agent Richard Cook advises actors to, “Just keep it simple,” and include information along the lines of, “Hello, my name is [x]. I’m an actor. I’m living here. Click onto this, this and this to see my work.”
Don’t Overly Rely on Social Media
Social media can be a useful tool for networking, connecting with other creatives and promoting yourself, but it shouldn’t be the sole thing you rely on for marketing. Casting director Lucinda Syson CDG admits, “I don’t use Twitter [because] I prefer to go to one source [of information] and know what I’m getting from that source.”
Social media also comes with various restrictions on what you can post and how – which may get in the way of marketing yourself in the way that you want. This is why it’s also a good idea to have a professional website or profile, where you have total control over the design, what content is displayed and how the information you provide is interacted with.
Social media is a great way of showing you’re active and present within the acting community, but a website – or even your Spotlight profile – will let casting directors know you’re professional and give them a guaranteed place to go when they need certain information about you. Lucinda Syson agrees, saying “On the Spotlight page, I should know their height. I should know their skills. I’d be able to see a showreel, photos.” As opposed to your Twitter feed, which could contain a film review one day and a photo of your cat the next.
Don’t Stop Developing Your Acting Skills
Successful marketing will hopefully result in more auditions and self-taping opportunities for you – but there’s no point getting these opportunities if your acting is sub-par and not going to earn you the role. This is why casting director Nancy Bishop CSA warns, “Actors need to concentrate on the work before the marketing. [Sometimes] they’re marketing too much when they should be working on their craft.”
Marketing is fun and exciting, especially when it involves social media, so don’t let the hard work of honing your craft fall to the wayside during the process. Keep practising, keep learning and when that opportunity comes around, you’ll be at your best to take it.
Keep your Spotlight Profile Up-to-date
Casting director Thom Hammond advises, “It’s worth remembering that, as an actor, you live on Spotlight.” Casting director Amy Hubbard CDG adds, “I would expect everyone to be on Spotlight.”
Spotlight is the tool that casting professionals use to find suitable actors for their roles. It exists specifically to make casting searches as simple as possible. By ensuring your Spotlight profile is up-to-date and populated with important information, it’s the easiest way of marketing yourself and being found.
“Your photos and that CV and those credits and skills and showreel is the most important thing that you and your agent can use,” Thom stresses. “And it’s the most useful thing for me, and that’s what’s going to get you through the door.”
It’s a good idea to spend some time going through your Spotlight profile to make sure all this information is present and then set yourself a time each week or month (depending on how busy your schedule is) to keep it updated.
Every bit of information you include on your Spotlight profile is searchable to casting professionals, so the more you include, the more likely you are to have that one skill, credit or feature that they’re looking for.
Image credit: Joanna Nicole Photography