In the 90s, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon were the perfect picture of actors who wanted to make their own careers happen. After quite the dry spell and no big break, they took it upon themselves to write and produce the best screenplay of 1998, “Good Will Hunting.” And for the last decade, the age of new media has been beckoning actors to create their own films, television, and Web series. Actors such as Andy Samberg or Colleen Ballinger (YouTube sensation Miranda Sings) and singers including Tori Kelly or Pentatonix have all taken great advantage of producing their own content and gathering large fan bases to promote their work. So it’s not so much whether or not actors should create their own content, it’s when and how well!
1. Stick with your strengths.
Whether you’re an actor, poet, musician, or dancer, impress people with your best work. You want to show the world your greatest talents! While you’re filming, if you know you can do better than your first take, do another…and another until you really nail your performance. This goes without saying, but until you feel great about your material, it might be better to keep it on your hard drive instead of posting it on the Internet.
2. Keep the production quality strong.
Truth be told, there’s a ton of competition on the Internet. You’re not just looking at the acting pool in Hollywood, you’re looking at people gathering around the globe. What will make you stand out is the quality of your production. Is your content strong? Have others given you positive feedback on the script? Are you working with a high-definition camera? Do you have a great makeup artist? What about an editor? Good lighting? Lighting is essential—you have to make sure you can be seen and you look good!
Nowadays, high-quality videos do not require a ton of money so long as you collaborate with your artistic community. People know people! And if you’re new to networking and production, branch out to college students who are looking to build their credits and careers. Chances are, they can rent equipment through their university for free and will probably film you for free, too. Again, just make sure the students’ production quality is strong before you upload the video to your channel.
3. Find the best website to distribute your content.
YouTube paved the way for millions to post their own content, but there are also other options. If you’re planning on posting an original comedic piece, look at Funny or Die or consider posting to CollegeHumor, Blip.tv, Vimeo or Web Series Channel are also great spaces for your original Web series. These sites have less overall traffic than YouTube, however, they offer users more features to help showcase their work. You may need to do more to promote your content so viewers find you on these sites. And no matter where you upload your video, add rich text words to the description or tagging options to increase your viewership!
4. Find your groove in internet promotion.
Most artists will normally start promoting to their friends and family first in order to gain a following—encourage them to share your great video(s)! Also consider creating social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.) for you or your latest projects. Thousands of lesser-known actors have started Facebook fan pages. Fan pages are most effective if you update your content on a regular basis. Those who have achieved the greatest Internet fame all have a familiar pattern—a consistent schedule for releasing videos. This is where your producer’s hat comes into play. Figure out how much content you can regularly produce (write, film, edit, post), and aim for that to be your weekly or monthly release goal. It can range from up to three videos per week (easy for vloggers) to one video a month (for higher production quality sketches or Web series). Your viewers crave this consistency—they want to know when they can tune into your next thing!
When you post to Facebook, make sure you tweet your material out too to connect with another pool of online users. Tag people, use hashtags, however you can get more viewership, do it. You can also consider advertising, but it’s important to have a marketing budget in place and evaluate the best options for your project—do you just want people to see it exists, or do you want people to click on your ad? It will be different for everyone.
And make sure you monetize your Youtube videos. If anything goes viral, you can use your monetization feature to advertise on Google as well!
Through strong performances, quality, and promotion, your talents have the potential to gain a huge following! Don’t keep your talents a secret—instead, produce your own content!
*This post was originally published on Oct. 24, 2017. It has since been updated.
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