Advice and How-To's Especially for ACTORS!

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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Discrimination against plus-size actors

A friend of mine recently sent me a link to an article she wrote for Plus Model Magazine, talking about some recent casting calls requesting plus size women and the context of the casting. I think this article puts an important spotlight on the industry and here's my questions- at which point does comedy or freedom of speech turn into discrimination and keeping prejudice alive?

Jennifer Jonassen has an intimate style of writing which makes her an everyman's hero. Click here to read the article.

And click here for another article by Jennifer:

Now, if we could only get some writers out there to create GOOD roles for this type category!

For those who love Jason Robert Brown and musicals in general

Below is a link to an incredible step by step outline of how the musical “Parade” was re-vamped for a tighter, smaller revival production in London. This blog is hosted and written by Jason Robert Brown, the musical’s Tony winning composer, and the blog entry helps readers get a little closer to how a musical is conceived and written. Things like this inspire me to no end! Please do read and enjoy:

http://www.jasonrobertbrown.com/weblog/2007/10/revival.php

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Tracking Your Marketing: Websites

One of the most important facets of managing your acting business is tracking your goals. Tracking allows us to research the results of our marketing tactics to see how they measure up to our goals and expectations. For this article, I want to focus on websites. If you have a website, one inexpensive and valuable tracking tool you can employ is a web statistics (stat) counter. A stat counter is designed to track the habits of your website visitors so that you can have an up-to-the-minute look at what is popular and what isn’t.

Let's say you are doing online or email submissions to casting directors, and you are including links to your website. How do you know if these links are being used? A good stat counter not only can tell you if your website is being visited and by how many visitors, but also how many pages they looked at while on your website, how long they were at each page, and what links they clicked on while on your website. This information is incredibly valuable in tracking how your website is working for you. Do people log in and view your materials, then go to your “Contact Me” page? Great news- you should expect a phone call soon! Do people click to view your reel but leave the page after only 1 minute? Bad news- something in your reel turned them off and you might want to consider reworking the reel.

But let’s say you have the counter and you are looking at the stats- how do you know if the person looking at your website is actually a casting director and no, say, Great Aunt Helen? To maximize your marketing efforts, you could consider creating a web page that you ONLY give out to casting directors. For example, on my acting website, there are pages for Demos, Bio/Resume, Reviews and Headshot Gallery. These pages can be accessed by anyone who visited the website, because there are links on every page. But I could also have a page called, say, “Submissions,” which is not listed on my website and is only given to casting directors (this page includes all of my public links (bio, demos, etc) but the page itself has a name that is not public.) When I check my stat counter and see that this “Submission” page has been accessed, I can be nearly certain that the person listed is a casting director or producer. This is a smart tracking technique, and once you compare your results to your marketing goals you will be able to see very clearly IF and HOW your website is working for you.

The service I currently use for web stats, which is free, is www.StatCounter.com. This free service tracks the last 500 visitors to your website. To have a log size larger than 500 or to have them store the information indefinitely (rather than only keeping the last 500), you can pay a small service charge. One of the best services that StatCounter.com offers is the ability to see HOW someone finds your website- Statcounter.com will list the website they came from, along with the date and time. For example, let’s say a theater website has your bio listed for a recent show, and in your bio you included a link to your website. If someone is on the theater website, sees your bio and clicks your link, StatCounter.com will let you know that this person reached your website because they clicked on it from the theater’s website. Even cooler, this service also includes Web Searches- if someone looks you up on Google and finds your website, StatCounter will tell you exactly what search the person used to find your website. Very cool!

You can also check with your web host to see if they provide web statistics (most do for no extra charge). Some have the same functionality, others can provide even more detailed information. Contact your host for more information.

Remember that TAE does web design for actors, singer, musicians, directors and other solo artists. We can also do design for theater and film companies. Visit TAE's Design Page for more information.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Getting on their radar

Yet another great article by Bonnie Gillespie (and I love her analogies, too!) This week, Bonnie gives a great analogy about what it takes to be one of those actors that is among the first to come to mind when casting directors are setting audition appointments. It just plain makes sense. Read it here:

http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/

Through The Actors' Enterprise, I help actors create ways to keep in touch with industry professionals that are unique and personal. For more information about how I can help you, feel free to contact me for a free consultation.

Special Skills "How-To"


All actors are aware of a section on their resume titled, "Special Skills." But what is the point of this section? And what kind of skills should be listing on there? First and foremost, the special skills section was created as a way to tell the casting director/agent/producer what skills you bring to the table that would be useful while on stage or on set. In addition, this section to allow actors to provide a unique snapshot (albeit a small one) of what makes them enjoyable to work with. After all, most of the time the resume is read before the actor is even met, so having a way to show one's personality is very important to help the actor stand out from the crowd (or the stack.) But how do we know what is appropriate to list? Here are some rules of thumb:

· Do make sure that the skill listed is something that can be demostrated on stage or film. For example: singing, juggling, stage combat. Do not list things like: drive a stick shift, have US Passport, etc. You'll rarely be driving a car on film (or on stage for that matter) and having a passport is not a skill. Moreover, that type of information if not usually a factor in casting- it is an logistical issue that is handled after the actor has been cast.

· Do make sure that the skill listed is something that you can execute flawlessly and immediately. Don't list an accent unless you are ready to improv with it on command. If you cannot do it off the top fo your head, but you are good with accents, list instead, "Quick study with accents." Often times, a casting director will ask you to perform the skill right in the casting session. Make sure you can do it, and do it well.

· Do include both theatrical and non-theatrical skills. List the ones that are specific to the industry first (accents, singing, dancing, etc.) and the list others afterward (sports, hobbies, etc.) You never know who behind the table might hare your demonstratable hobby (like crocheting or body building.)

· Do infuse some of your personality into the list. Do you have a "stupid human trick" like being able to touch your tongue to your nose, or that you can recite the alphabet backwards in 10 seconds? As long as it is something than can be demonstrated on set or stage, and it can be done flawlessly, why not list it? But just limit this to one or two skills, and list them at the end.

Have a comment or question? Leave it by clicking below!

Erin Cronican's career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has done national tours of plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. To learn more, check out http://www.theactorsenterprise.org.

How to get discounted tickets to Broadway shows

Most people know that in order to get discount tickets for Broadway and Off Broadway shows, you can go to the TDF Half Price Ticket Booth on the day of the show, wait in line, and see what tickets are available when you get to the window. There are also a number of websites that offer tickets at 25-40% off- Theatermania and Broadway Box, to name a few. But there are a few other options that audience members have to see shows at a good price: Rush, Student Rush and Standing Room Only (SRO).

Playbill.com has published an article explaining the ins and outs of these types of tickets. You can also head over to Talkin' Broadway to see an up-to-date list of shows and their SRO/Rush policies. In addition, many theaters, including Roundabout Theater Company and Playwrights Horizons have programs where people under the age of 30 can see shows at a discounted rate. All you need to do is visit the show website and check to see what rates they currently have available.

Hope you get out there and see some great, New York theater!

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