THE ACTOR’S LAUNCHPAD

Your Marketing Materials

Your Marketing Materials

Your marketing materials need to be top quality. Not ‘that’ll do’ quality or ‘There are worse out there’ quality- make yourself stand out by being the best.

Your materials are going to reflect you and will play a big part in determining the quality of the roles you get. If your materials look high end, the roles you get called in for will be better roles. If your marketing materials suck, you’ll probably still get roles but they will most likely only be the unpaid/low paid roles which is fine if you want to act as a hobby, but not if you are serious about turning this into a career.

You have got to make yourself look professional and credible if you want to build a long lasting career in acting and that means investing in great quality materials. I can not stress this enough.

Shoddy materials will create the impression that you don’t care and are not taking it seriously.

So… What do you need?

Your challenge this week is to review all of your marketing materials taking the above points into consideration. If there’s something you do not have yet, either order/book it in or if you are not able to right now, add them to your action plan to be done at a set time in the future.

  • Headshots
  • Showreel
  • Acting CV
  • Training
  • Business Cards
  • Postcards
  • Website

Headshots

Your headshot is the most important investment you need to make to market yourself as an actor. It is the first thing that casting directors will look at to see if you fit the character they are casting for and if they are not up to standard, you won’t look professional and they may not even look at the rest of your CV. Here are the answers to the most common questions I am asked about actor’s

“Which photographer should I choose?”

Choose a photographer who specialises in actor’s headshots, who knows the industry and what the casting directors are looking for. Ask to see their portfolio before booking and ask other actors for recommendations.

“I have a friend who is a professional photographer and has offered to do it cheap. Should I book?”

OK, that is very good of your friend but do they know what your casting type is? Do they know how to make your shots reflect the roles you are likely to be seen for? Do they know how to get you to achieve that focused look and enhance what it is about you that is likely to get you called in for the casting? Do they really know what a headshot is? There is a huge difference between a portrait and a headshot. All too often, I see great shots of actors that look fantastic, but are not useable as headshots- this is what many actors find difficult to understand at the beginning. If you want to book with your friend, that is up to you but do be aware that you may well need to re-book with a specialist.

“How much do headshots cost?”

For headshots, you would normally be looking at anywhere between £100 and £500.

We offer them with a top specialist photographer for £120 or for only £45 on a group session. See more details here www.northernstaracting.co.uk/actors-headshots/

“I have some great modelling shots. Will they be OK?’

No, that’s an entirely different market. You may look great in them but a headshot isn’t about you looking perfect, it’s about you looking right for the role. Be natural, looking straight to camera and display your entire face with the focus being on your eyes. Avoid thinking about posing or you will probably end up doing too much, think of it as acting. A good headshot will look as though you are in the middle of a scene and will intrigue people into wanting to know more.

“What should I wear for the shoot?”

Something that subtly reflects the role you are going for 

“How much make up should I wear?”

You should look natural in the photo- avoid wearing too much make up and do not have the photo edited heavily. It should be a true reflection of what you look like in real life and you need to live up to that image when walking into the audition room.

“What size should they be? And should I choose colour or black and white?”

Your headshot should be 8×10 and, in the UK, you should have them in both colour and black and white. Use colour as your main headshot.

Showreel

Are showreels essential for an actor? Yes.  you will find it very difficult to be seen without one.  Imagine trying to sell make up or perfumes without samples- it wouldn’t be impossible, but it would make it more difficult.

Casting directors are limited with how many people they can call in and they are certainly not short of applicants.  Showreels are a great way for them to see you on screen to decide if you really are suitable for the role.  Quite often they won’t risk bringing someone in without seeing them in action beforehand.

If you don’t have a showreel and are able to do so, take action on it now, or add to your action plan.

Include:

  • Contact details
  • No montage
  • Keep it short and sweet
  • Best scenes first
  • First scene should reflect you main character type but do show variety in your reel
  • Only scenes that show you in a good light
  • No extra work
  • Focus on you not on the other actors
  • No need for high emotion
  • Remember your branding

If you don’t have enough footage yet you can book showreels where scenes are filmed specifically for your reel while you are building up footage from films etc.  Follow this link for details on what we offer www.northernstaracting.co.uk/showreels/

DO'S AND DON'TS

Acting CV

Your acting CV is not the same as a regular business CV.

It needs to consist of:

  • Your name (large)
  • Equity
  • Spotlight
  • Agent
  • Telephone number
  • E-mail address (use a professional e-mail address)
  • Link to your website
  • Vital statistics- height, weight, hair, eyes
  • Title each section from now on.

Related credits– please note that you don’t have to list all of your credits, in fact I would advise against it.  Think quality rather than quantity and never include extra work on your acting CV.  The reason for this is that casting directors will have thousands of CV’s to go through and are very likely to just scan them quickly rather than scrutinise them in detail.

Before deciding which to add consider the following questions:

  • Will this show me in a good light?
  • What would the producer/director say if they were asked about me? (If they are mentioned on your CV, there is a chance they’ll be contacted).
  • Is this consistent with my branding?

Note – If you are just getting started and your credits are scarce, you may need to add them all at the beginning but work towards replacing them with only good quality credits that show who you are as an actor.

In this section, there should be 3 columns.

  • Title (in italics)
  • Character (you can add “lead” in brackets if it was a lead role)
  • Production company/director

The order in which you of which you list your credits is important.  Rather than list your credits in chronological order, list with the most significant at the top to avoid them becoming lost among everything else.

Group your credits into different categories.  For example, feature films, short films, television, professional theatre, educational theatre etc.  Don’t add a category for student films or amateur theatre productions.  If you have done other type of performance work such as cruise ships, theme parks etc, you can add these to another section headed “Related Experience” but ONLY IF they are there for good reason and support your branding.

For important information such as awards or well known directors, add below the title, decreasing the font slightly and indent the tab.

Training 

Begin with where you trained and your qualification as a header followed by a list of what you studied and with who.  Do be aware once again that anyone you name could be contacted.

As with the credits, you only need to add the most significant (and related) raining you have received.

Under your main training, add a sub heading for masterclasses and workshops.

Business Cards

You will need to order some business cards.  Here are some tips:

  • Keep it simple
  • Include your headshot
  • Include your name (or stage name)
  • Include your contact number and e-mail
  • Include your website
  • Include Equity if you are a member

There are many good companies online to order business cards from. Here are some sites for you to look at:

www.vistaprint.co.uk

www.instantprint.co.uk

Tip… All of your marketing materials should be consistent with your branding and use the same colours and fonts.

If you want your business cards designed by our designer, email us for details.

Postcards

Your postcards should carry the same information as your business cards.  Here is re-cap…

  • Include your headshot
  • Include your name (or stage name)
  • Include your contact number and e-mail
  • Include your website
  • Include Equity if you are a member

As well as this information, you can also include your most significant credits and any awards.

These cards will be used as thank you cards and can be sent to casting directors, directors and producers (only when you actually have something to thank them for!)

On the back write a friendly note (staying in line with your branding).

Here are the websites again:

www.vistaprint.co.uk

www.instantprint.co.uk

If you want your postcards designed by our designer, e-mail us for details.

Website

Should you have an actor’s website? Yes! People will search for you online and a good website will make you look professional and make you look like you means business! Not only that but it will help to get you visible and you should be taking every opportunity to put yourself out there and be seen.  It’s also the place where you can really speak your truth and let your personality shine through… Don’t shy away, show people who you really are and what they will get if they work with you.

So, where to even begin? Well there are some great sites out there that will allow you to build your own website, such as www.wix.com or www.weebly.com or you can hire a professional.  We do offer them at Northern Star Acting, if you’d like to find out more, follow this link www.northernstaracting.co.uk/websites-2/

Always have your name in the domain e.g.. www.billysmith.com

Here are the pages you will need:

1. Home page- Name, headshot, about me. Keep it simple and uncluttered.

Your about me section should be different to your bio.  Include your most significant credits, highlights of your career, training and interests, but also show your personality and your quirks.  Make it memorable!

2. Press and announcements- Include latest roles, press, reviews and anything else you want to shout about!

3. Headshot and CV- Your headshot and CV should be available to view here and in a downloadable format.

4. Contact- E.mail address (professional e-mail ending with your name e.g.. hello@billysmith.co.uk), contact number and agent’s details.

Optional:

  • Gallery- For your professional photos.
  • Other services- If you do other things that are related such as singing, dancing, teaching etc
  • Blog- Highly recommended as a way of making you more visible.
  • Links- If you would like to link to other sites.

Challenge

Your challenge this week is to review all of your marketing materials taking the above points into consideration. If there’s something you do not have yet, either order/book it in or if you are not able to right now, add them to your action plan to be done at a set time in the future.