When actors think about marketing, they usually see dollar signs. Sure, an essential tool like your headshots can be expensive, but once you have them, there’s plenty of ways to improve your actor marketing without spending a dime.
Actor marketing is defining your brand, building relationships with people interested in your brand, and convincing them your brand is what they need.
If you’re between acting gigs and money is tight, here are some inexpensive ways you can work on your actor marketing!
1. Make sure your headshots are working for you, not against you. Cost: $0
When I graduated from NYU, I spent a lot of money on headshots. Of course, I chose the prettiest, most glamorous ones! Unfortunately, I was mostly playing 14-year-old girl next door roles at the time.
If your headshot is “glamorous,” casting folks expect to meet “glamorous” when you come in. They don’t expect a 14-year-old girl next door. Choosing your best looking shot is great if you want to get a date but, if you want to get a job, choose a shot that reflects the roles you’re most castable as.
If you’ve chosen a photo that doesn’t accurately reflect your brand (like I did), look over your proof sheet again before spending money on a new photo shoot. You may already have a shot that works! When you find the one that best represents you, feature it on your website and on all of your social media accounts.
2. Clean and update your résumé! Cost: $0
Your résumé's job is to show people how to cast you, not to list every credit you’ve ever had. Take off credits that are out of your age range or type. If your résumé looks sloppy and unprofessional…so do you! Check for typos. Have a friend proofread it for you! Be sure to update your hard copy for auditions, the PDF on your website, your IMDb, and any casting sites you’re on!
3. Set up a website! Cost: $0
Actors need a website that houses their marketing materials and links to all of their social media accounts. Don’t put off building your website because you can’t afford one. You can set up a free about.me page or Wix site right now! To get started, read my article, “10 Things Every Actor Website Must Have.”
4. Spruce up your social media accounts. Cost: $0
Do your social media accounts look professional? Do they feature one headshot you chose to consistently promote your brand across platforms? Do you have professional social media headers? A compelling bio with keywords? (Click here to discover how to write one.) These things cost nothing and are necessary to effectively use social media to advance your career.
5. Track your relationships. Cost: $0–$10 (notebook, app, or journal)
Are you logging your auditions? Use a blank notebook, an audition log, or an app to record your auditions. Remember, marketing is about building and nurturing relationships! It’s easier to write a thank you note when you get home if you know the names of the people who were in the room. If you’re already logging your auditions, analyze your log! Which casting directors are calling you in the most? What shows are they working on next season? You don’t need relationships with thousands of people for your career take off. Focus your marketing efforts on these people!
6. Expand your network of contacts. Cost: $0–$30
Get off the couch and find a local group of actors to network with! If you are in NYC, Backstage has its monthly networking event. For a very small fee you can get out and meet new people in the industry! Volunteer at your local film commission or for a cause that supports people in your industry like the Actors Fund. Not only will you be doing a good thing for others, you’ll be expanding your circle of quality friends in the business! If you want to network from home, expand your online connections by joining a Facebook or LinkedIn group of like-minded people.
Now that money is no longer an excuse, get started!
To learn more about the art of networking, watch this short tip about how to network without feeling icky!
Like this advice? Check out more from our Backstage Experts!
The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.