by Casting Director, Laurie Records
…be undereducated about email etiquette.
It’s a strange new world in the industry. Communication lines between actors and industry professionals are, generally speaking, more open than ever. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; it’s a great time to be an actor. As social networking/networking/access to industry pros increases, some new, seldom said, hardly written “rules” are forming. As hard copy mailings decrease, emails are now on the rise. This is certainly true commercially. Three cheers! But, with this new line of communication at your fingertips (literally) you want to make sure you aren’t making big blunders or silly mistakes that can cause major or minor disturbances with the folks you are hoping to establish and maintain a relationship with.
Commercial actors should never forget basic industry email etiquette.
Just when I think everyone knows this… I get another actor email where I (along with A LOT of other folks) am cc’d instead of bcc’d. I’m not sure that any single email etiquette blunder raises the ire of industry professionals more than this one does. Actors, when sending industry emails, bcc your recipients. When emailing your pals about whatever personal thing you have going on, and you have some industry professional friends, bcc. When emailing a list of folks and have any inkling that someone would like to keep their email address out of the hands of the masses, bcc. Is everyone clear? When in doubt, bcc.
Stop sending your headshot and resume as attachments. Send a link to your online account(s) and the industry pro is able to print/save (is that why you do this?)… do whatever they want, from there. Plenty of industry pros refuse to open an attachment. And what about your reel/video clips? They are posted on your online account! So, why are you sending an attachment?
Links, in general = good. Attachments, in general = bad.
When sending industry professionals an email, sign your full name. It never ceases to amaze me when actors sign their first name only. If I had more time in my life and was a slightly better person, I would email the one name actor back and ask for their last name. But I don’t, and neither does anyone else. So sign your full name, unless you have a one name, stage name. And, while you are at it, include your contact info. Yes, I know it’s on your online account, but put it in the body of the email anyway. Make it easy on us.
Include a full, professional subject line and a short, polite message in the body of the email. I’m not a fan of “tricking” an industry professional into reading your email by having some sort of strange subject line. I personally delete when in doubt. I’ve also received some outrageous/creepy/bizarre emails… I’m guessing in the name of creativity? Well, use extreme discretion when writing those clever emails. They can backfire in a big way.
I would avoid sending industry professionals Kickstarter campaigns asking for money, sponsorships for a marathon you are running, or anything you want passed on to Tom Cruise. I don’t know Tom, and even if I did, I most likely wouldn’t send him your email. I, myself, am more than comfortable being asked for money by friends… so go ahead and ask your industry pals to chip in for charity or your next amazing project. But if that person really isn’t your pal, I would skip them.
Don’t overdo the emails. Remember the golden rule… if you wouldn’t want a weekly email from someone you’ve never met, don’t send your actor update emails out weekly. It’s too much. I don’t know what that magic number is… once a month, every 3 months, every 6 months? Again, I don’t know. But I can safely say that once a week is too much.
What type of emails do you want to send? Ones that let us know you are taking ongoing classes with so-and-so, you booked a national commercial or a co-star/guest star role (or whatever you just booked!), that you’ll be performing at this place in this play (and offer comps for Pete’s sake!) have updated photos, new representation… whatever interesting news you may have that might make me think I should bring you in. Convey all the cool things you used to do in hard copy form, in an email.
Not sending emails to any industry professionals? Ever? You probably should. It’s a great way to stay in touch, or even possibly to establish a relationship.
And, with all that being said… this is just my opinion on the matter. It’s an educated opinion, but an opinion none-the-less. Rules are made to be broken to some extent, and everyone is different. Use your head. If you know a group of industry pros that prefer attachments… attach away. If you are uber clever and want to send a unique email blast, go for it! As long as you are thinking things through, and weighing the potential consequences, do what you will. Catch my drift?
Laurie Records, Casting Director