…forget that they are known for something.
For better or worse, something comes to mind when a casting director sees your headshot, reads/hears your name, or sees your face. There is no need to remind you that there is a large pool of actors in any major market. Keeping actors straight can be difficult, but it’s the industry professional’s job to know you, at least on some level. It’s our job to have an opinion, a requirement, almost. An opinion helps to weed out the masses and clears the path to bring in the right people. Bringing in the right actors (and by “right” you know I mean more than just talent and look) for a role, in the end, is what casting directors are hired to do.
Commercial actors should never forget that you, increasingly sooner than later, (thank you, Internet) are *known* for something.
I’ve repeatedly said that it’s a great time to be an actor. One reason? Social networking. What a valuable tool actors can use to create, establish and nurture relationships with industry professionals! Obviously, this tool has not always been at the actor’s fingertips. Lucky you. Now, you know about the often mentioned warnings against: posting drunk/inappropriate photos, talking politics or complaining about lack of acting work (I could go on and on…) on Facebook, Twitter, or the newest site of the moment. Bad idea. Why? You could be the actor known for the puking pics on Facebook, the angry political gal on twitter, or the actor that never works and gripes about it everywhere! Not exactly what you want to be *known* for. If an industry pro has little else to go on, these could easily be the phrases that come to mind, when YOU come to mind.
Other online behaviors/pitfalls that you could be known for:
Use caution when you say anything online. Online is forever. You may feel a false sense of security when voicing your opinion in an actor chat group forum or when commenting on an actor blog… and even (I hate to say it) when writing your own. When the forum appears to be primarily for actors, other industry professionals may (and do) have their eyes on it. Some visit from time to time or when given the heads up to check something out, others on a regular basis. What could this mean for you? Well… that you could be *known* as the actor who cries SCAM at the drop of a hat, raises the ire of others, is overly vocal about vindicating wrongs… an actor that is a troublemaker. Before you start drafting an angry email, let me be clear that I believe in actors taking their power. Don’t be a doormat. There are (and will always be) plenty of “wrongs” that need to change to “rights”. I have lived my life believing that people can say ANYTHING, but the success in being heard and understood (leading to the enlightenment of others) lies in the manner in which one says it. And with that I leave you… be careful what you say on the Internet. For lack of anything else to go on, you may be known for it.
The Internet is not even close to being the only way an actor earns their “short, known phrase” that is said in the mind of the industry professional. It’s just the focus of today.
I’ll leave you with some other, positive and challenging things actors might be known for:
The actor who: booked X job, always gets a callback, is always prepared, solid, hilarious, writes that smart actor blog, is a member of X organization that I love, has great energy in the room, sends me updates, seems to work consistently, is super cute, has that fantastic X skill, always says thank you…
The actor who: doesn’t look like their photo, always asks for a timeframe, tends to be late/no show, is high maintenance, has a bad attitude, infuriated my client with a grievous mistake, doesn’t take direction, harasses my assistant…
No doubt you are getting the idea.
Yes, it’s possible for an industry pro to have absolutely no opinion of you. If it’s tempting to stay out of the social networking realm or off the Internet, out of fear of doing something wrong, reconsider. That’s far from the point I’m hoping to make. Social networking/internet presence is an imperative tool for the actor… just think, be smart and at your best. You want the industry pro to have a “known phrase” for you, and you will! Just be sure to do everything within your power to assure it’s something stellar.