How to efficiently promote yourself at low cost
Promoting yourself is one of the most important parts of being an actor – in a way, even more important than your talent. You could be the most talented actor in the history of time, but without any form of promotion, no one would ever know, and your skills would go wasted.
Likewise, as actors, we know that money is, and always will be, an issue – which means that low-cost promotion is pivotal in improving yourself and having the chance to do some real work!
So first of all, networking is a great form of promotion, as long as you are able to ‘talk the talk’ and ‘walk the walk’ (and if you can’t, just imagine you are a character that is able to!). Go and watch plays, especially new work, and mingle with people in the interval, at the bar, after the play. Be aware of who the producer/director/lead actors are and do some background work – what they’ve done before, their working style etc, and talk to them about it. Have a genuine interest in what they have to say and subtly let them know you are an actor and would like to learn more about when they/their company are auditioning next etc.
Secondly, an online presence is an increasingly more significant requirement in the industry. Social media is a great way to interact with companies/important people in the ‘biz, so set up a Facebook page for yourself as an actor, a professional Twitter account, maybe even an Instagram or Vine feed if you’re handy with a camera too.
Facebook – get all your friends/neighbours/ex-colleagues/networking friends you have made to ‘Like’ your page and build the ‘reach’ (how many people can see your posts). By that respect, POST! New headshots, stills from film/theatre projects you have done recently, posts about your progress (applying for jobs, meeting people, classes you are taking etc.). The more you post, the more engaging your page becomes and therefore the bigger presence it has.
Twitter – above all, keep a professional twitter for yourself as an actor, and avoid controversial tweets, following jokey or cheap profiles – use it to network with agencies or directors online. If you are following a company, it will show on your newsfeed if they have auditions coming up or are searching for new actors. Likewise you can mention them in comments when you have a project coming up, on the offchance that they might be interested. BUT do not pester people to come and see your shows/audition you/generally suck up to them – quite often the people running the twitter have no say in what happens with their actors so you are barking up the wrong tree anyway!
Creating a website can be fun and easy with build-your-own sites such as ‘Weebly’ and ‘Wix’, where you can create a professional looking website for free, and provide the link to people who are interested in your work. Upload a biography, welcome page, headshots/stills, showreel, your CV and a contact page. These website builders often provide a guide for creating a site which is easy to follow, but if you are more computer savvy then you can customize HTML and make it super slick!
Those are my tips for getting yourself out there, as self-promotion is the most important part of keeping busy and engaged as an actor. However for real exposure to companies and agents in the industry, it is worth investing in online networking sites such as CCP and Spotlight to create premium profiles which are more widely accepted by agents and casting directors.