Advice and How-To's Especially for ACTORS!

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Negotiating Non-Union Commercials

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I received a series of great questions from Alessandra, one of our readers, and I thought I would post the dialogue here:

Dear Erin,

It is of great value reading your blog, thank you for your time!

I would like to follow up on the union/non-union issue regarding residuals; can the company that hires you put "non-union" into the contract at their free will just so that we, the voiceover artists (in my case), don't get payed residuals? Or are they adhering to a law when putting this in a contract? What decides that it is union or non-union? Do I have a right to question this and what are my rights exactly? Also, I am not part of a union by the way. Thank you, and best wishes.


Hi, Alessandra- very good question. The distinction "union" is applied when the producer employs union actors on a project, and the union provides the physical contract that is signed by the producer and actor.

When producing a project, the producer has full control over what kind of contract they want to use. A union contract provides a certain set of conditions and standards that the producer and actor must adhere to. A non-union contract also has basic provisions, but these provisions are determined by the producer and it is up to the actor to accept the terms or negotiate for better terms before beginning work on the project. Once a contract has been selected and actors have been employed, the producer cannot change the nature of the contract at their will (nor can the actor, for that matter.)

As you probably know, residuals are an important part of the working actor's livelihood, and it is one of the key benefits to being a member of the union. The union provides minimum set of standards under which their members will work (also know as scale.) If you are not a member of the union, you have no rights or claims to these union benefits and wages, and this includes residuals. So, in your case it sounds as though the producer acted within their rights to note the contract as "non-union." There are rare cases where non-union contracts provide residuals - I'd suggest reading your contract carefully to learn what, if any, benefits are due to you as a condition of your employment.

I hope this makes sense- thanks again for writing, and I appreciate your stopping by my blog!

Wow, thank you, you sure know how to formulate :o) You have helped me immensely.

One last question: Do you think I should somewhat negotiate or not? By the way, their pay is usually around $100/hr- that is not too bad is it, compared to other voice-over companies? I’ve heard people getting payed way less.

Thanks again! I will forward your blog to a big mailing list :o)


As to negotiating- it depends. Have you already accepted the contract and done the shoot? If so, it is too late to negotiate. For future jobs, the best time to negotiate is before you accept the role. But, typically, it is very difficult for actors to do their own negotiations, which is why the unions have been created to begin with. So, most non-union actors either accept the terms or turn down the job- they rarely negotiate (though the actor is well within his/her rights to do so.)

If you haven’t done the job yet, what I would do is ask them if they have any wiggle room for negotiating the session fee, since you have worked with them a couple of times before. I don't think that you would be able to get residuals, but perhaps they'd be willing to bump your base salary/session fee. It doesn't hurt to ask, as long as you feel ok with them saying no.

As far as the pay you mentioned: That sounds like a great rate for non-union work, considering that the day rate for union actors is anywhere from $600-$1000 for an 8 hour day (depending on the kind of work- commercials pay more than industrials, and national commercials pay more than regional commercials.)

Where you earn less money is the fact that you are paid per hour. Union actors are pay for a half day or a full day, depending on the stipulations of the contract. I shot an AFTRA on-camera commercial recently that had a day rate of $750, plus 10% for the agent (for total of $825.) I was only there for 2 hours, and still was paid for a full day. These are the kinds of things that are negotiated by the unions and incorporated into the standard contracts so that individual actors do not have to negotiate for these minimums.

So, congratulations on landing what sounds like a very good gig! And thanks for sending my blog on to your friends- I am so glad it has been useful, and thanks again for sending me your questions!


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.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

If It Seems Too Good To Be True...

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I am going to start this blog post by sharing an unsolicited email I recently received from a “manager.” (Note: All grammar and spelling has been included, as originally written.)

"I was looking on IMDB and noticed you do not have a Talent Manager.  As you may  know we are doing Talent Management..  A manager is different from an agent but in a way better as I have more fields to get you work.  I feel I could be a great assett to you to help you not only get your more acting roles but we are doing something no other Management firm does.  We are also going to provide free to our clients our Publicity Services.  We are a NON-EXCLUSIVE company so if at anytime you want to end services with us that is ok.  I really hope you will give me a chance to further your career and make you more money.  If you are interested please let me know and I'll send you my information packate." - Mike  [click his name to visit his website]

File this one away into the “If it seems too good to be true, it is” mailbox. Of course, there are warning signs all over the above email that tell the actor that they should stay far away. So, how does an actor gauge the validity of these types of emails, which become more numerous as the actor gets more and more well known?

1) Does the manager know the difference between managers and agents? (Do you?)
Agents and managers are very different from one another, primarily because it is illegal for managers to procure work for their clients. Agents are required to be on file with their state as a “licensed employment agent” and managers are not given this clearance. Thus, a manager’s job takes on a different form. Directly from the Talent Manager’s Association website: “A manager, by nature, does not seek employment for a client, but rather council, market and network on their behalf making it easier for the agent to secure employment. A client, manager and agent should function as a team.”

You can see by the email above that the manager is not accurately conveying his role. This should be a very big “red flag” to you.

2) Why are they contacting YOU?
Yes, we are all fabulous, and we usually feel we deserve to be represented. But, as I said on a recent post on the Backstage message boards if you are ready to seek management, you want to seek out a management company that has a good track record and a solid client base. Typically, companies that fall in that category do not need to troll the internet to locate new clients, and they don’t typically seek to represent actors with small resumes. To get to know up-and-coming actors, managers spend time seeing plays, going to film festivals, and taking meetings via referrals. They may use IMDB or the actor’s website as a research tool, but rarely do solid companies “discover” talent on the web. So you have to ask yourself- if it is normally so difficult to be represented, why has THIS offer come so easily?

3) Does the email appear to be well written? If they give you a website to check out, does it inspire your confidence?
There are misspellings and bad grammar all over this email. Even if the manager were legitimate, would you want someone representing you when they cannot put together a coherent email?

4) Does the contact information make sense and seem professional?
Often, when you try to verify their contact information, you’ll notice discrepancies in the information. In the above example, Mike gave me a web address for his company, but his email address came from a completely different company. Upon researching him, I discovered that his company was primarily a Publicity Company, where they pay actors to attend parties and events. Also, take note of where their office is located. I am based in NYC and this company is based in LA - it doesn’t really make sense for them to represent me from the opposite coast unless I plan to make a move out west.

Many actors ignore that voice of warning in their head because it feels so good to believe that we are being handed our big break. Believe me, I know- I’m an actor, just like you. I hustle, just like you. I taste the wins and the losses as sweetly and bitterly as you do. But I believe that if you do your homework and listen to your gut, you can protect yourself from those unsavory characters who prey on your dreams and desires.

PS: This article pertains, also, to those folks out there who randomly email actors about mailing autographed headshots. I regularly report these requests on my acting blog to help other actors research the requests, and one in particular has resulted in a very strange, stalker-like situation. Check out this blog post for more information (and be sure to read the comments!)


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.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

"Such a Useful Tool..."

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I wanted to pass along this testimonial I just received regarding our monthly event, the Bite-Size Business Soiree.

Dear Erin,

I’m so glad that I was able to attend the Soiree on ‘Social Networking’ this past Sunday!  It feels so good to be around fellow actors & others in the business.  What’s so great is that during the discussion about networking, we were already on our way to meeting new people & finding common ground, just from our introductions. SMART!  I met some really great people & was able to lend the knowledge that I have to a fellow actor - and that feels really rewarding.  This Soiree really inspired me to take into consideration the ways that I can network & all the technology out there that I can take advantage of.  It leaves me wanting to know more!  I’m excited to start dabbling in social networking on the internet because it can really be such a useful tool.  Thank you so much for your awesome Soirees & I can’t wait to see what’s next!

Best,
Rachel Watkinson

The Bite-Size Business Soiree is held once a month in New York City. It is a “pay what you can” master class which ends with a networking event - and we would love to have you join us!


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.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Membership Companies: Yes or No?

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I have had a couple of questions recently about membership companies and the pros and cons of joining them. Generally, membership companies are theater groups that charge members a fee and/or require “volunteering” in exchange for stage time. It has been a hot topic on TAE’s internal message board (a service for those who coach with me.) What has struck me is the almost rabid support for membership companies, so much so that folks have been nervous about speaking out against certain organizations for fear of retribution. But this fear promotes only the positive comments about these organizations, which I think skews the advice and keeps actors from making fully educated decisions.

This blog is no exception. I make an effort to avoid posting negative press about specific organizations, because there is a fine line between opinion and libel (especially when you have an influential voice.) Bloggers can be sued by companies who feel their name has been defamed, so we have to be careful about what we publish. Specifically, we avoid listing the names of people and companies who may later complain that we are speaking unfairly about them.

So, what I thought I would do is post the series of comments then went back and forth on our message board about one particular company, so that you can fully see the pros and cons of working with these types of companies. I have redacted the name of the company to keep it private- but if you want to know more information you can shoot me an email and I’ll help you as best I can.

Here is the first email that was posted:

I've been considering auditioning for [name redacted] for a while now. What is your opinion of them? How professional are they? Thanks!

One member responds:

I have found, for the majority of the time, [name redacted] to be professional.  There are, of course, people that you'll have to deal with that are not.  But they are very few.

I think its a great company if you want to be on stage.  They guarantee you 3 shows a year.  Usually, if you're good, you'll get more.  Directors can request you.  Once you've auditioned for [name redacted], you'll not have to audition again.  You'll just be cast.  It's also a good company to network, since the membership is around 250 people.  I've been there for 9 years and I keep meeting new people. The hours are not that hard to do.  They always need box office people. And you only pay $100 per year to join.

And here was a message that was sent me to outside of the group, by an actor who did not want to make this comment publicly:

Erin - I did not think it was proper to put this out publicly - but I actually had an agent tell me to take [name redacted] off my resume...

Here is my response to her private message:

Actually, your comment is a good thing to put out there. I think that just hearing only positive things can skew the reality of what membership companies bring to the table, so your contribution would be valuable. 

I think that for beginning actors, membership companies can be a good way to get basic experience and develop a sense of community. But if the actor already has a decent amount of credits and is, instead, looking for industry exposure, the actor needs to seek out a company that has an excellent reputation. Companies like The Bats (from The Flea Theater), The LABrynth Theater Company, The Actor’s Studio, have great reputations for putting out fantastic work and giving their members solid training and exposure. These companies are usually part of larger Equity theaters, though some professional theaters have non-Equity internship/membershp companies.

There are several aspects of the aforementioned membership company that lead me to believe it is more suited for beginners (this comes from the posted response above):

• They charge for membership. That, in and of itself, is not a concern, but many professional companies pay its actors rather than charging them to perform. But add to that:

• They take on less experienced actors, and

• They regularly cast actors without auditioning them specifically for each role.

When membership companies do the above, there is a tendency for the industry to overlook these credits or, worse, to think of them as being undesirable on a resume. If the company will take anyone, regardless of experience, and they do not carefully cast their projects, this will often send up red flags to the industry. Now, not all industry members have the same opinion. So, of course, you have to take this agent’s comments with a grain of salt. But, if you value the opinion of the agent who said to take it off your resume, I think this speaks volumes about the reputation of the company. As I said, these companies may be fantastic for actors who are just starting out, or those who are content with performing in a non-professional environment. But for more experienced actors, the company may be more trouble than it’s worth.


MY FINAL POINT:

I think it is important for actors to really examine their reasons for joining membership companies. Before you invest your time and money, use your common sense. Are you looking for experience that this company can provide? Or are you looking for a quick path toward getting an agent? Remember, it is very difficult to find representation in New York. There are thousands of talented actors competing for the minute amount of slots available at any given time. There are always exceptions, but in general you must have a good amount of experience, great training, and top notch marketing materials to make an impact.

There is a particular membership company that does showcases for its members, with the intention of getting their members agent representation. But they accept nearly every actor who auditions for the company. To find new members, this company attends industry nights and combined audition events collecting headshots from every actor (including the newbies), and then invites them to “callbacks” for their company. I have never met an actor who was turned away after these auditions. For many of their members, this is the first time they have stepped on a stage.

This company is very useful for new actors who crave experience and who are looking to join a community of performers. But, instead of focusing in this area, this company promises industry exposure to professional agents and casting directors. Think about this- how seriously is an agent going to take these actors when the company does not have rigorous standards of excellence?

Again, there is no quick path to representation. If you are a professional actor looking for exposure, make sure that the company you choose accurately reflects your level of expertise and professionalism. Listen to the little voice inside your head- your instincts will almost always be right.


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.

Friday, September 11, 2009

NY Television Production Listings- Fall 2009

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** UPDATE: CLICK HERE for the 2010 Production Listings **

I was doing some research for myself regarding TV shows that are shooting in NY this fall, and decided to share the information with you! If you have additions or updates, please add them to the comments section of this blog post.

Returning Series

All My Children (Soap, ABC) - in NY until Jan 2010. Judy Blye Wilson and Bob Lambert (under five and extras) c/o ABC-TV, 320 W. 66th St., New York, NY 10023.

Army Wives (Episodic, Lifetime) About a woman who marries a soldier and moves her family onto an Army base, where she becomes friends with other women whose husbands are in the military. Casting: Calleri Casting, 70A Greenwich Ave #162, New York, NY 10011. Shot in South Carolina.

As The World Turns (Soap, CBS) Mary Clay Boland (Casting Director), Lamont Craig (Casting Associate). 1268 East 14th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11230.

Castle (Drama, ABC) Castle is a 1 hour witty drama based on a famous crime and horror novelist [Nathan Fillion] who helps the NYPD homicide detective [Stana Katic] solve crimes. Casting (based in LA): Kendra Castleberry, Donna Rosenstein.

Damages (Drama, FX) The series follows the turbulent lives of Patty Hewes (Glenn Close), the nation's most revered and reviled high-stakes litigator and her bright, ambitious young protégé Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne). Tucker/Meyerson Casting, 568 Broadway, Suite 301, New York, NY 10012

Flight of the Conchords (Comedy, HBO) Flight of the Conchords follows the trials and tribulations of a two man, digi-folk band from New Zealand as they try to make a name for themselves in their adopted home of New York City. The band is made up of Bret McKenzie on guitar and vocals, and Jemaine Clement on guitar and vocals. Cindy Tolan Casting: 609 Greenwich St, Suite 401A, New York, NY 10014

Gossip Girl, (Drama, The CW) About young socialites, based on the novels by Cecily von Ziegesar. Shooting from June 29 through March 2010. With Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, Penn Badgley, Taylor Momsen, Chace Crawford, Ed Westwick, Matthew Settle, Kelly Rutherford, and Jessica Szohr. Principals: Bowling/Miscia Casting, 349 Broadway, 3rd fl., NYC 10013. Background: Central Casting New York, 875 Sixth Ave., 15th fl., NYC 10001.

Law & Order (Drama, NBC) Shooting from July 31 through April 2010. With Sam Waterston, S. Epatha Merkerson, Jeremy Sisto, Anthony Anderson, Alana De La Garza, and Linus Roache. Casting Principals: Lynn Kressel Casting, Pier 62, Room 304, West 23rd Street and Hudson River, NYC 10011. Background: Central Casting New York, 875 Sixth Ave., 15th fl., NYC 10001.

Law & Order: Criminal Intent (Drama, USA) With Chris Noth, Julianne Nicholson, Vincent D’Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe. Casting Principals: Kimberly Hope, Lynn Kressel Casting, Pier 62, Room 304, West 23rd Street and Hudson River, NYC 10011. Background: Grant Wilfley Casting, 123 W. 18th St., 8th fl., NYC 10011.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (Drama, NBC) Shooting July 6–April 5, 2010. With Christopher Meloni, Mariska Hargitay, Richard Belzer, Dann Florek, Ice-T, Connie Nielsen, Stephanie March, B.D. Wong, Michaela McManus, and Tamara Tunie. Casting Principals: Jonathan Strauss, Lynn Kressel Casting, Pier 62, Room 304, West 23rd Street and Hudson River, NYC 10011. Background: Grant Wilfley Casting, 123 W. 18th St., 8th fl., NYC 10011.

One Life to Live (Soap, ABC) Julie Madison (casting director) and Victoria Visgilio (casting associate) c/o ABC-TV, 56 W. 66th Street, New York, NY 10023.

Rescue Me (Drama, FX) Rescue Me revolves around the lives of the men in a New York City firehouse, the crew of 62 Truck. Stars Denis Leary, John Scurti, Daniel Sunjata, Steven Pasquale, Michael Lombardi, Callie Thorne, Andrea Roth and Adam Ferrara. Tucker/Meyerson Casting, 568 Broadway, Suite 301, New York, NY 10012

Ugly Betty (Comedy, ABC) an hourlong dramedy for ABC. Shooting for Season 4 begins July 14 and continues through April 16, 2010. With America Ferrera, Eric Mabius, Tony Plana, Ana Ortiz, Becki Newton, Mark Indelicato, Judith Light, Michael Urie, and Vanessa Williams. Principals: Geoffrey Soffer, Silvercup Studios East, Stage C, 34-92 Starr Ave., 2nd fl. studio, Long Island City, NY 11101. Background: Comer & Gallucio Casting, 440 Ninth Ave., Ste. 24, NYC 10001 or candgcasting@gmail.com.

ZRock (Comedy, IFC) Z ROCK is a comedy series that follows three friends leading a double life: by night they're a hard-partying rock band and by day they're a kids party band. Z ROCK is (kinda) based on the true story of the band Z02 (brothers Paulie Z and David Z, and lifelong friend Joey Cassata) and gives a satirical look at the dark underbelly of the rock n' roll dream. Casting: James Calleri, 133 W 25th St, 6th Flr, New York, NY 10001




New Series


Boardwalk Empire (NY)(Drama). Period drama about the rise of Atlantic City in the 1920s and the related buildup of organized crime. Produced by Martin Scorsese and Tim Van Patten. Steve Buscemi stars. The series is expected to begin shooting in October. With Steve Buscemi, Stephen Graham, Kelly Macdonald, Michael Pitt, Vincent Piazza, and Michael Shannon. Casting: Boardwalk Casting, 330 W. 38th St., Ste. 710, New York, NY 10018. Premiere: TBA.

The Good Wife (NY) (Drama, CBS). Julianna Margulies stars as a wife and mother who must take full responsibility for her family when her politician husband lands in jail after a very public sex and corruption scandal. Casting Director: Mark Saks, Casting Associate: Chrissy Fiorilli (NY). C/O Scott Free/RSA Films, 270 Lafayette St, Ste 203, New York NY 10012. Premiere: Sept. 22. Background: Kee Casting, P.O. Box 3175, Guttenberg, NJ 07093. Note: AFTRA project.

Mercy (Drama, NBC). The story of three Mercy Hospital nurses and their loves, lives, and losses. Written by Liz Heldens. Casting: Suzanne Smith Crowley, c/o Chrystie Street Casting, 55 Chrystie St., Ste. 501, New York, NY 10002. Premiere: Sept. 23.

Nurse Jackie (Drama, Showtime) A nurse struggles to find a balance between the demands of her frenetic job at a New York City hospital and an array of personal dramas. Starring Edie Falco. Tucker/Meyerson Casting (Ross Meyerson), 568 Broadway, Suite 301, New York, NY 10012

Royal Pains (Drama/NBC). "Good Morning Miami" alum Mark Feuerstein stars as a down-on-his-luck New York physician who saves the life of a supermodel at an exclusive party in the Hamptons and suddenly finds himself in demand as an on-call "concierge doctor" for the rich and famous. Written by Carol Flint. Directed by Don Scardino. Shooting through mid-August. Casting: Bonnie Finnegan and Steven Jacobs, Finnegan/Jacobs Casting, c/o Actors Alliance, 330 W. 38th St., Room 507, New York, NY 10018. Shoots end of May. Premiered: June 4. Seeking AFTRA members only.

Sherri (Comedy, Lifetime) is the first comedy series to be completely owned by Lifetime, which has picked up 12 episodes of the new series. The new show will center around a newly single mom, paralegal and part-time comedienne/actress who is trying to get back into the dating scene and move on with her life after divorcing her cheating husband. Sherri finds solace and support from her girlfriends at the office while juggling her hectic life. Starring Sherri Shepherd, one of the co-hosts of ABC's "The View. The series will co-star Elizabeth Regen (The Black Donnellys), Kate Reinders (Ugly Betty), Kali Rocha (Grey's Anatomy) and Tammy Townsend (Lincoln Heights). Casting: Rosalie Joseph, VP Casting, ABC Entertainment, 157 Columbus Ave. 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10023.

White Collar (Drama/USA). After his release from prison, all a former con wants is to get back together with his girlfriend, but he finds himself coerced into helping the FBI hook other con men. Directed by Dennie Gordon. Written by Jeff Eastin and Clifton Campbell. Casting: Julie Tucker and Ross Meyerson, Tucker/Meyerson Casting, 568 Broadway, Ste. 301, New York, NY 10012. Shoots in early September.

Pilots - Fall 2009

The C Word (Drama/Showtime). Cathy (Laura Linney) has just been diagnosed with cancer and decides to keep it a secret from everyone in her life...Casting Directors: Julie Tucker/ Ross Meyerson, Tucker/Meyerson Casting, 568 Broadway, Ste. 301, New York, NY 10012. Pilot in Los Angeles; series most likely in New York


Casting in NYC but shot elsewhere:

Treme (Drama). Three months after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, the 6th Ward's vibrant music scene is alive but struggling hard. Shooting in New Orleans. Casting: Alexa L. Fogel Casting (Associate: Christine Kromer), 330 West 38th Street, Ste. 1405, New York, NY 10018.


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.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Ensemble Based Marketing

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I have been an actor for many, many years, but I recently came upon my 4 Year Anniversary as a New York actor on August 5. It was a thrilling change from my smaller town of San Diego (which is big geographically but still has that small town feel.) One of the toughest things about moving to this big city was building a new community, of which I had so much in my home town. The power of community is so valuable to actors, and most of the time we don't even realize we have it. Most of the time, we feel like are are trudging through this business all on our own.

The idea for this blog actually stems from a Facebook status I saw a few weeks ago. A very talented musical director/singer posted a request to the universe, stating he wanted theaters to elect ONE person to create a Facebook event for their show where everyone can "invite friends to this event," rather than 5 people separately creating events. My friend cited a particular problem where he got invited to one event by two different people and got confused as to where he should RSVP.

As actors have started to become more savvy with social networking and have begun taking their marketing into their own hands, one element seems to have gone missing: Actors are no longer asking for the help and support of their peers.

There are so many amazing ways that you can team up with your fellow actors in support of your marketing efforts, which will really help you work SMARTER and not HARDER. I call it Ensemble Based Marketing. Here are a couple of ideas to help you reach your goals more easily:

1) Poll your cast-mates to find out what their goals are in getting audiences to attend, and then team up to help get the word out. There are two different ways to do this. One: You can divide up a major mailing list (like folks listed in The Call Sheet), with each actor committing to mailing to a set amount of contacts. Two (and even more powerful): You can choose a smaller set of folks, preferably ones you already know, and have every cast member send a separate postcard so that each recipient receives several invitations (Be sure to list all cast members on your postcard!) I once did a show and a fellow actor was trying to get his agent to attend. I had met the agent once before, so I agreed to send a postcard mentioning that I was also doing the show, and that his client so was great that the agent should come to see him. Low and behold, the agent came to the show and brought another person from the office. I'd like to think it was our double team effort that worked!

2) I was on a Facebook event page for a fundraiser produced by Small Pond Entertainment, and I started to notice that a bunch of the "yes" RSVPs were from actors who had the same profile picture. And what was the picture? It was the flyer for a play they were all doing. And this play was the very play for which that the fundraiser was being held. The fact that 4-5 people had the same profile image really caught my eye, and I found myself interested in the project they were doing. And I was very impressed by the teamwork of the cast in communicating their show to the world.

3) For those of you doing non-union or showcase theater, talk to your producer and see if they would be willing to distribute press packets to industry folks at your performances. (For many AEA shows, producers are required to have these available.) Get together with your cast mates and collect 20-25 headshots and resumes along with 20-25 nicely made pocket folders. Collate the headshots and resumes so that each folder has a copy of each actor's information. This is an excellent way to make sure that industry professionals have your information, especially if you give a stellar performance.

4) As my friend suggested- choose one person to create the Facebook or MySpace event, and then each actor can click the "Invite More People" link to get more folks on the list. Not only will it be easier on your potential audience members to have one place to view the information, but the amount of activity on the page will skyrocket (with lots of "yes" RSVPs) which will look very impressive.

Have a success story with ensemble based marketing? Write a comment here and inspires others with your story!


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.
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b) you don't use it to make money.
c) credit me (with my blog's name, and a link back to my site.)
d) it's not required, but it would be awesome if you'd email me to let me know you're using it, and then I can help promote your post!

If you are copying an article in its entirely, you MUST include the following acknowledgment at the top of the post: "This blog was pulled, in its entirety, from Bite-Size Business for Actors, a blog published by The Actors' Enterprise. To learn more, visit http://www.BiteSizeBusiness.org."

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