“So you want to work in film and TV?,” prods social media expert Heidi Dean. “You can’t always control how many auditions you have or what type of work you book, obviously. But social media gives you an outlet. It gives you a stage to show people your talents.”
The concept isn’t new: Acting is a profession in which autonomy can be hard to come by. And that lack of control is exactly what drives many (sprinting) out of the business. But for those who stay, the imperative is always to be using all resources at your disposal to figure out what you can control. These days that certainly includes social media, especially when it comes to working on-camera—and even more so when considering the kinds of on-camera work you’re looking to do.
“A lot of actors feel like they’re kind of, especially when they’re starting out, stuck in this co-star rut, they’re only getting these smaller roles all the time,” says Dean (noting that those roles are nothing to sneeze at). “When you’re creating your own content and putting it on social media, you can create content that casts you as the lead, so we can see how we might cast you in a bigger, more important role.”
But social media is not just useful for booking jobs generally; it is even more so for your on-camera career when it comes to specialties. For example, your Instagram grid is the perfect place to display your knack for horseback riding, surfing, juggling, or any of the other skills you have listed at the bottom of that résumé.
“Maybe you do stunts or maybe you are really good at martial arts and you want to be in the next Marvel movie,” Dean explains. “Well, how could you show that on your grid? Obviously you’re going to post when you book something, you’re gonna show us a little behind the scenes into who you are, but also, show us your skills and actions. That way, when someone lands there, they see you doing stunts.”
And Dean isn’t just speaking in generalizations. In fact, this is a method that is tried and true in a big way. “That is very much what Tom Holland did when he was up for ‘Spider-Man,’ ” she says. “Some people credit that for him getting that role, because everyone [else who was auditioning] was equally as talented. But Tom was on Instagram every day, doing these really cool stunts that literally made you go, Ah, this guy is Spider-Man.”
Of course, the most crucial reason actors should be using social media if they want to have an on-camera career is the one you know well by now: relationships, relationships, and, oh yes, relationships.
“The biggest reason actors, especially on-camera actors, should be on social media is for your relationships. In the past, you had to, like, wait for the pager to go off,” Dean says. “Then you may have the opportunity to see that person in the room again. But now you can think about what type of work you want to do and who’s calling you in all the time. Are they on social media? Go connect with them on social media and stay top of mind. That’s the thing we never used to be able to do. But now between gigs, we can stay top of mind. Really think about who you want to meet and where we can find them on social media. That’s going to advance your on-camera career.”
Looking for remote work? Backstage has got you covered! Click here for auditions you can do from home!