It’s inevitable. Every actor will experience some downtime in their career. Whether it’s due to an industry hiatus or a personal lull in auditions, things will slow down. How you spend that downtime is entirely up to you and taking a short break is always smart for recharging your battery. But, if you extend it for too long, it can cause you to feel overwhelmed and underprepared once everything kicks back up again.
What if instead of letting weeks go by willy-nilly, you use some of this time to get a jump start on your PR and set yourself up for success later on? This downtime gives you the perfect opportunity to gather the tools you’ll need in order to promote yourself and your projects down the road. The best part is that you don’t even need to know what your next project is to get started! Here’s what you can do.
1. Find press outlets and reporters.
You probably spend time online during a break reading about your favorite shows, celebrities, projects, and filmmakers. So start noting which reporters and outlets are covering those projects. Follow their sites or social media and get a strong understanding of exactly what they cover and when they cover a story. Do an online search identifying who previously covered the TV shows you hope to book or a specific film genre you want to work in. New entertainment websites and blogs are popping up every day too and can be added to your list. This way, you’ll know where to go with your big news when you land the role you want.
Also, use this time to pull together a list of any reporters and outlets that have covered you in the past. Search online to see if they’re still writing for those outlets and make a note of any changes.
2. Update your bio.
If you don’t have a bio you love, then now is the time to get one. Reporters, agents, directors, producers, and other industry insiders often ask an actor for their bio, so it’s important to have one ready to go.
Don’t put it off until the moment you need it. That’s when you panic, throw something together and hope for the best. Instead, take the time while you’re relaxed and feeling no pressure to craft a bio that reflects who you are creatively and personally. Your bio should not simply recite your career details as if you lifted in from IMDb. Instead, create a bio that not only shares your successes but also sheds light on how you got to where you are today.
3. Organize your images.
Everyone has heard: a picture is worth 1,000 words. So, treat it that way by spending time reviewing what exactly you have available to share with the press and potential fans. Start by evaluating your last photo shoot to make sure that you’re using the ones you think showcase you best. This is not always the same images that your agent uses for submitting. There could be others that highlight your personality differently or deliver a different tone. Next time you book a photo session, ask your photographer to snap a few editorial or lifestyle shots for publicity purposes. Keep in mind that fans love to see behind-the-scenes photos of you in action on-the-set of your latest project.
Your images should be in a size and format that is good for sharing via email and posting online. However, make sure you have at least one high-resolution shot available for print in case you land a magazine or newspaper article.
4. Refresh your website.
Consider your personal website as a one-stop hub for highlighting your entire career. It gives you the opportunity to determine what visitors learn about your projects, news, photos and more. Use it as a way to directly connect with the world.
Have nothing to update? Even if you haven’t booked a job lately, you probably have something new to add to your site. Share the news about a project you’re in-development on, add something fresh to your bio, switch out your image on the homepage or even change the background color to offer a new vibe.
If you don’t have a website, I think you’re missing out on an easy way to showcase you as an entertainment professional. Consider getting one.
5. Connect with your fans.
You’ve worked hard to capture the fans you currently have. Don’t leave them hanging for weeks or months without hearing from you. Fans like consistency, so if you usually send out a tweet once a day, a Facebook post once a week or a monthly newsletter, keep doing it! It’s important that you stay connected and don’t disappear, even when you think you have nothing new to say.
Fans and followers don’t want to only hear about your projects. They want to know more about you. Switch it up and instead of posting about your latest role, try sharing your favorite ice cream flavor. If you’re not working on set right now, send out a selfie of you reading a script at the beach. But, please, whatever you do, don’t let your fans slip away because you didn’t keep in touch.
No one expects you to go 365 days a year on your career without a break. Everyone needs and deserves to have some fun. But, a little bit of maintenance on your PR during the downtime can save you from a whole lot of stress later.
*This post was originally published on July 10, 2019. It has since been updated.
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and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.