Five years ago, the acting industry was different than it is today. The integration of technology is streamlining our basic tasks. As the way it goes with technology, some things survive the new relationship while other things are left behind. Is it for the better? You be the judge. Here are 3 things that have made their final curtain call... and, as a bonus, 3 things that have redefined their stake in the industry and refuse to die.
Headshots, at least the physical kind, are going the way of the dodo. For reasons like the one in the picture, which I took at Disney Studios, headshots are no longer needed at auditions. I have run an experiment in the last month to see if casting directors would ask me for a headshot and to my surprise—no one has asked me to hand in my picture. The reason for this, is that the audition process has become increasingly digital.
The Takeaway: You still need to get your headshots taken. However, you can save a lot of money by getting only a few printed out and keeping them in your car, for that one old school casting director. Also, I would bring them in if you are an actor who is just starting out. This way as you meet different cd's they have a physical copy of your headshot and resume for their files. Think of it as your business card.
"Build a website," this was common advice given to young actors five years ago, but even then, I felt like there were better things to spend my time and money on. Yes we live in a digital age, but we also live in a social media generation and that means instant gratification for everyone. What I mean is that a casting director or director who is familiar with Instagram or Twitter, will be looking you up the fastest way possible—through your social media. IMDb is another platform that casting will go to before they scroll through your website.
The Takeaway: In my opinion, if you want to take some time over the summer to learn about building a website and spend the money to do so then go for it, but if you are looking to optimize time and money then don't bother with a website. Your instagram and especially your IMDB are enough to give casting an idea of who you are. So make sure these platforms look good.
The wingman to the headshot has finally left the building as well. You may have guessed it, most casting directors aren't asking for resumes either. At this point I've been lucky to go on hundreds of auditions, and casting has reviewed my resume with me maybe 10 times over the span of five years. Subsequently, asked me where I went to college to study and spend $50,000 a year to get my degree, only 3 times!! 😢
The Takeaway: Make sure you keep your resume updated so that if casting directors or producers ask you about what you've done you can shoot off some past credits. It is also very important that you update your resume after every job on sites like Actor's Access, Casting Frontier, and IMDb. Once again, you don't need to spend money printing hundreds of resumes, keep a few in the car and that's it.
Things That Refuse To Die: Demo Reels
The digital age has kept demo reels alive and thriving... for now. For actors who are just starting out, a demo reel is vitally important. It allows potential agents and managers a chance to see your work on screen. It also gives casting directors supplemental material to consider during the hiring process. I would be remiss not to tell you that not having a demo reel separates the serious actors from the rookies.
The Takeaway: Demo reels are here to stay for now. If you are a new actor it is important to have a demo reel that is no longer than 2 minutes. Any longer than this—you risk losing the viewers attention. If you are an actor with multiple series regular roles or a Marvel movie under your belt, you can kiss the demo reel goodbye.
Things That Refuse To Die: The Self Tape
In the beginning, it was VHS tapes, then it was DVDs, and now self tapes are being delivered via the Internet. I get it, self tapes are a great way to get yourself seen for roles out of state or out of the country, but what a pain in the butt it is for actors. If you're not spending up to $50 every time you need to get a self tape professionally done, you are bugging your girlfriend or boyfriend to read for you, while your dog barks in the background!
The Takeaway: Self tapes are here to stay, so make sure you do them right. Good light, good sound, good quality. I'll report back in fifty years when we are doing hologram self tapes!
Things That Refuse To Die: Social Media
We are right in the middle of one of the most paradoxical predicaments in our industry: Non-actors being cast over trained actors, because of their social media following. It is frustrating to see that casting decisions, based on social media presence is on the rise. Social media isn't that social—at least in the way casting directors use it. I've never been dm'ed by a casting associate, yet the chances my page has been perused is likely. The best thing I can do is make sure my social media pages reflect my values and my essence and not worry about the numbers.
The Takeaway: Social Media is here to stay and will continue to gain prominence in our industry as a content provider for casting directors and fans. It's not all bad either, there are many wonderful advantages to integrating social media into your career. Ostensibly, it is a prime source to feature your acting and collaborate with other artists on the rise!
So there you have it folks, a list of things in my opinion that are being left behind and things that have rolled with the times. Let me know what things you believe are no longer necessary for actors in 2018!