I’m not sure if many of you know this but…I’m not independently wealthy. In fact, I’m currently accepting applications for a wealthy benefactor with “Great Expectations” for me to live well, without the stress of having to juggle a desk job and auditioning….and whose only requirement of me is that I work hard at my acting craft, become successful and, of course, give back/pay it forward. I kid…I kid (unless, of course, you are that wealthy benefactor!)
All jokes aside, as with many actors, I strike a balance between working a “regular” job while pursuing my career in entertainment. I lucked up because I actually enjoy my job…and as a professional marketing specialist, there are so many things that I learn on my job that apply directly to my acting business. Here’s the most recent:
About a month ago I got a random e-mail AND phone call from a guy who’d “stalked” me (his words, not mine) on LinkedIn. He wanted to offer some direct marketing services, such as door hangers, mailings, etc and figured that since he had experience in my industry, he might be a good fit to help me with any needs I might have. At the time I thanked him for letting me know about his services and told him I’d let him know if I ever needed him….and then, I completely forgot that he existed. Fast forward a couple of weeks and I’m now planning the grand opening event for a store that we will be opening soon in Northern California. I received a phone call from “my dear friend” following up with me about his prior interest in providing a solution for me. Perfect timing! I asked him to e-mail me a quick synopsis of his offerings and am currently in the process of reviewing it with my boss. “Yea, but how does this relate to acting?” you might ask. I have an answer for you.
It’s no secret that our business is called Show BUSINESS for a reason. Most people who have attained their version of success will admit that, particularly in the beginning, they spent far more time on the business aspect, than the show. A big part of your job as an actor is to let casting directors know that you exist….and not in a “Cast me now; I’m desperate. I’ll do anything” type way….but more of a “Hey, I exist. I’d love to solve your [casting] problems. Here’s how…Please keep me in mind” type of way. And while one round of post cards or drops may make you feel like a marketing superstar, don’t forget that it’s not only about showing casting that you can help solve their problem…but showing them at the right time. That means being consistent. Following up. Building relationships. Being prepared. You just never know when a casting director will be looking for your uniquely qualified look, experience and set of skills.
I didn’t intentionally forget that “my dear friend” existed, nor was I being insincere when I mentioned that I’d keep him in mind. I just got busy with my various responsibilities and he was no longer top-of-mind for me. In the same way, casting directors have a number of responsibilities outside of auditions and while they are our biggest advocates, they are human. They get busy and sometimes, even if they really like us as a person, we’re simply not top of mind for them. This is why it’s very important to follow up. Please note that calling an office is typically frowned upon, as it could provide a very unnecessary interruption to their already hectic day. Per many of the casting directors I have met and/or built relationships with they prefer a quick e-mail or post card.
Finally, as previously mentioned, BE PREPARED! Had “my dear friend” not been prepared to deliver when I asked him to provide what I needed to consider him, this would have been a completely different blog. An old adage on the subject says: “If you stay prepared, you don’t have to get prepared.”
I hope this article has been helpful. I look forward to seeing you at the top!
Question: What will you do this week to BE PREPARED for your next opportunity?