So, you are a new actor and you are hearing a lot of "do's" and "dont's" when it comes to getting your career started, which can be more than a little overwhelming.
When I first moved to Los Angeles in 2013, a piece of advice that I was given from a fellow actor was to create a website. This was in order to showcase my head shots, demo reels, and upcoming projects. This was echoed by CDs (casting directors) and my team alike. However, something in my gut told me to hold off.
Needless to say , it's been three years and I haven't completed my website. I say DON'T make a website, but DO purchase your domain name!
I have managed not having a website, all the while showcasing my work and increasing my fan base. 'Hmmm...' You might be thinking, 'How will I showcase my work? How will people contact me? How did you do it?' Here's how:
I am most active on Instagram. I feel it is the best in the market when it comes to posting photos that document my daily life as an actor and include projects from the past and ones I am currently working on.
Because it is such a visual medium, keeping my Instagram clean and concise with attractive photos and content is key.
Hashtags and an overall "theme" on my Instagram has bridged the gap between fellow actors and fans with my work. I also really love the ability to link my posts onto Facebook and Twitter at the same time. (Although there are times to break these up as a strategy)
Pro Tip: I suggest creating a hashtag that is specific to only you and your work so that you can easily find all of your work related posts. It is difficult sometimes to locate certain posts among a clutter of other daily photos, like the meal you had for breakfast or that super inspiring quote you just had to share. For example, mine is #whatdoeseddiedo I make sure to only have work related posts attached to this hashtag.
Make sure to purchase a subscription for IMDbPro. It is one of the most important tools for an actor to take control of how the industry is going to view you and your past work. I update my IMDb regularly with my photos, reels and an updated resume. By default, IMDb tracks my past and upcoming projects.
I use Facebook as a way to update friends and industry professionals on my progress. With such things as articles and full versions of my short films not available on IMDb, my Facebook family can be connected to my journey.
I am still new to using YouTube as a means of networking, but it adds as a great place to house clips/full length footage.
I recommend putting clips up showcasing your special skills. Agents and Cd's have asked to see specific footage of me playing the drums or skateboarding in the past, I can keep them on YouTube and send them the links of what they ask to see.
I also use YouTube to post footage from my acting classes. It's free to post a video, so anything is fair game.
I use Twitter the least, however, I do see its importance for immediate updates and connections between actors and other industry folk.
With a growing amount of shows promoting live tweeting, I advise getting familiar with Twitter.
This has allowed me to be more engaged with my fans when I book a role on one of these shows.
Buying Your Domain Name:
Now that my social media accounts and IMDb acts as my "website" it is important that I purchase my domain name as well (www.actoreddieramos.com.) I used GoDaddy.com to buy my domain name, but they are many websites to do this.
There have been instances of people who buy actors domain names in the chance the actor becomes famous. This is called "Cybersquatting." These people will then sell it back at an inflated price.
Now that I have bought my domain name, if and when I decide that I want to create my own website, I already own it.
Eventually, you do want to sit down and create your official website. I would suggest waiting until you have the time and a good amount of content to share.
Pro Tip: If you absolutely need to build a website then at least save your money! Don't go and spend hundreds of dollars on hiring someone to build your website for you. It's not necessary, and there are websites like Weebly and Squarespace (the platform I used to create The Modern Actor) that are inexpensive and feature step-by-step tutorials of how to build a website specific to your needs. All it takes is a little time and patience.
There are many great benefits to having these four social media outlets along with your IMDb. Not only are they free to create, but a growing percentage of the industry uses them as a way to research new actors.
You can see how they offer the same as a website would and more. With these tools, you are now ready to start familiarizing people around the world with your work! Start Posting!
What is your take on the need for websites currently in our business? Share in the comment section below!