It actually makes more sense in the 21st century to be using the old expression, “Watching the phone.” In this day and age of smartphones we actually can see when a call is coming in. It makes you wonder what people were hoping to see when they’d stare at the phone on the wall or the unit that sat on the desk back in the day.
But if you find yourself nodding off because your Android or iPhone is neither ringing nor having texts come in, it very likely could be due to the way that you’ve presented – or not presented – yourself online, hoping to get more work in your entertainment career. This, of course, extends to emails not coming in or private/direct messages across other applications.
I don’t need to get into that it’s a business and not a hobby and that’s why you’re on Stage 32 to begin with, right? Okay, good. So then do a self-audit and assess whether you’re presenting yourself like a business or a hobby or – gulp – a ghost.
In working with my clients and providing management and publicist-type services, I always stress the need to show people that you are busy. When someone sees how much you are always doing, they can only stand to conclude, “This person must be good (and/or doing something right). They sure seem to have a lot going on.”
For example, so much (I would argue, too much) emphasis is put on social media these days. But you still must have a website. And then you have to maintain it. That doesn’t just mean making sure it works, but that you’re adding content to it regularly. While the first thought would be the homepage, keep in mind other areas too. For example, is there a Performance Résumé section on your website? If you never go and add your latest projects there, then the fact that you’re putting a new article on the homepage means you’re only doing half the work. After all, you know the people who have potential opportunities for you are going to look and see what you’ve done. Couple that with the, “What have you done (for me) lately” mantra, and you can see why it’s crucial to keep things up to date.
What about your photos and videos? When I’m talking to a potential new client, I always say that I will ensure that we put an emphasis on quality and quantity. Typically, the way to do that is to make sure you’re regularly adding to that inventory. At a time when it’s getting easier and easier to get great quality images and video on your own, there’s almost no excuse for not keeping your multimedia current. The chief reason might be, “But I’m not getting any work.”
And the reason you’re not getting any work – or, as much as you might want to be – again can be a reflection of what you’re doing or not doing to project that first-class image that you want industry people to see.
Many times, people in positions like mine will say, “Send me some links to people whose website and social media you like.” If you do that exercise simply for your own benefit, you’ll have a target for where you’d like to get to. And then you start the work to get there.
As a national speaker, one of my talks is about promoting yourself and your brand on and offline and includes a recommendation that you have a branded email address. For example, john@JohnDoe.com seems more professional than email@example.com. Mind you, I’ve had people in the industry make their case to me about why they think it’s okay to not have a branded email address. I still submit that it can project the difference between hobbyist and full-timer.
The bigger picture here, though, is, CAN people get a hold of you? You’d be surprised at how many guys and gals establish a presence for themselves across several platforms yet make it top secret as to how to get a hold of them. And then they wonder why the phone isn’t ringing or the emails aren’t coming in.
Don’t overlook the mention of being spread across several platforms. Just because a new platform launches doesn’t mean you have to be on it. Does it make sense for your career? No? Then skip it.
But for those that you ARE on, what DO you have on there? Before you pat yourself on the back for getting your website updated, what about your page on Facebook? (Note that I’m not referring to your personal timeline.) I also have a weekly podcast and often times will check the About tab on a guest’s Facebook page if their website doesn’t have enough information. If you aren’t giving regular attention there too, you run the risk of being asked something that is no longer accurate or just flat out is old news to you. And it’s not going to be a warm and fuzzy moment when you react to the host with, “Wow, I’m not sure where you’re getting that from.” Wrong answer.
Do you have someone else in the business who does what you do that you know, like, and trust? Ask them to give you a fair and honest assessment. Make sure it’s not someone who’s going to tell you what they think you want to hear. Or book a consultation with someone like me just to get a professional to review what you’re putting out there. Your investment will pay off when the phone does start to ring more, or the text messages and emails do start coming in a little more frequently.
As for the information you’re putting online, you not only want to feature your best work (note to self, change blog byline to Captain Obvious), but, do not try to misrepresent something with the hopes of fooling the reader. If you did background work on a show John Stamos starred in, don’t write, “Worked alongside John Stamos in (show name).” It’s like an independent recording artist saying that they, “Shared the stage with Luke Bryan,” when in reality, they played at 4pm, then three more acts came on after them (at 5, 6, and 7:00), and then Luke Bryan was the headliner at 8pm. If you’re going to tell me you shared the stage with him, it better be because you did a duet together.
If you’re just getting started out in the business, that’s okay, but resist the temptation to put the Public Figure heading on your Instagram account that has 147 followers.
At the same time, do take advantage of other bells and whistles that some of these platforms give you. Most, if not all, of them allow for a header image (a banner that goes across the top). Be consistent with your branding and use that, albeit sized accordingly for each platform’s recommendation dimensions, so that there’s a consistent look and feel across your various online destinations. And be sure to leverage the fields where you can put links! On Stage 32 you can put in your IMDB link, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – heck, on my Stage 32 profile I even have a link to the blogs that I publish on Medium.
I get it. It’s a lot. But we are in the 21st century and it is the way that business is getting done, if not started. So set a recurring event on your smartphone’s calendar if need be, but put out there what casting directors, music supervisors, agents, and other entertainment industry professionals are looking for, in the way that they expect to see it.
Bruce Wawrzyniak runs Now Hear This, a management and promotion agency with clients across the U.S., from Hollywood to Las Vegas to Tampa and points in between. He is also a national speaker and the host of the weekly, “Now Hear This Entertainment” podcast, which has gotten listeners from over 150 countries around the world. He is also the author of a four-volume eBook series that provides tips for entertainers for on and off the stage. Learn more at www.NowHearThis.biz and find links there for him and his company on social media, as well as for platforms for listening to the podcast. He, of course, is here on Stage 32 as well.
Let's hear your thoughts in the comments below!
Got an idea for a post? Or have you collaborated with Stage 32 members to create a project? We'd love to hear about it. Email Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org and let's get your post published!
Please help support your fellow Stage 32ers by sharing this on social. Check out the social media buttons at the top to share on Instagram @stage32 Twitter @stage32 Facebook @stage32 and LinkedIn @stage-32
|3 Tips to Level Up Your Self-Tape Auditions|
|5 Essential Tools You Need to Build a Voiceover Business|