I’ve always been a tech geek. I built my first sparkly rotating GIF animation when I was 10 (true story), bought my first URL at 13 (www.studentundercover.com), and coded my first website at 15 (it looked terrible). At 16, I received my first cease-and-desist letter for allegedly posting copyrighted photos on my “I Love Beanie Babies” fan site (also true story), resulting in a panic attack and my decision to forever pull the plug on my future career as a ninja computer programmer. #DumbestIdeaEver
Fortunately, my early years as a coding hobbyist weren’t a total waste of time. I owe every achievement in my career, as a writer, producer, host, and actor, to the Internet. And yes, I still enjoy spending evenings downloading WordPress themes and toying with the SEO on my videos. Fun times.
The convergence between traditional media (TV/Film) and social media (online/gaming/interactive) is happening now. When I first started speaking at colleges and acting classes, no one believed that the Internet could be a viable tool for distribution, production, or promotion. Like, what?!?! Cut to 2012 – it’s now commonplace to read about people selling shows, getting roles, and earning international press from something they did online.
Here’s the good news – you don’t have to be a tech nerd to take part in the gold rush. You just need to be versed on the various online marketing tools now at your disposal for jumpstarting your acting career and DO something about it.
No excuses. It’s time to get started on your online brand. For brevity sake, below is a list of the top ten tools an actor needs, but I’ll go into much greater depth for some the items in this checklist in future Back Stage articles. Leave any questions you might have in the comments below!
Unlike a personal Facebook page, a Fan Page allows you to display and shamelessly promote your marketing materials (photos, reel, etc) to fans/industry folk without it getting mixed in alongside photos of you getting smashed at Cabo Cantina. Don’t have fans yet? Subscribe to myFacebook page and in the comments of my Back Stage article post, post a link to your newly created Facebook page, and I’ll happily give you a like.
I don’t care what anyone says, it’s NOT too late to join Twitter. If you use it correctly, it could singlehandedly be the best thing you ever did for our career (and the worst thing for your phone’s data plan). Connect with other actors and filmmakers by following them. Retweet stuff you find funny or interesting. Share articles YOU like. If you’re funny, tell jokes. Be candid. As actors, we’re all used to fitting into someone else’s mold. Not on Twitter. Share whateverrepresents you. After you’ve developed a following, Twitter can be a very powerful promotional tool.