Actors – Now Is the Time to Shake Up Your Website

Article Image
Photo Source: Unsplash – John Schnobrich

A website provides the perfect opportunity to demonstrate who you are as an artist and put your personal stamp on how you share your work. There is a plenitude of actors’ websites, many with great examples of the standard inclusions. However, if you are a multidisciplinary artist who wants to demonstrate your versatility or wants to create a separate space for other forms of creative work, the following are examples of website formats you might consider. These formats can either constitute an entire website or supplement one you have already created. And there’s no need to be a code master – you can do these with templates from user-friendly website builders like Squarespace, Wix, or WordPress.

JUMP TO

The Business Card

This is the shortest and sweetest of them all. Essentially, a business card website is a one-page stop for getting in touch with you. It may include a brief headline or summary of what you do, as well as a contact form or a preferred email. A simple list of links to other social media pages or reviews is a big plus. Having your name as your domain is also key in this situation, with the idea being if they know your name, they will be able to reach you. Most website builders show you how to do this – for example, this guide from Squarespace. To make it more personal, you might make the background an image that says something about you. When presenting yourself so succinctly, be sure to consider what you present “above the fold” – what the visitor will see first before having to scroll. Squarespace’s Suhama template is one example of how this packs a punch.

The CV

Very much in the format of how it sounds, a website consisting of your CV is a simple and great way to show what you have accomplished. Professionalism is the goal here as it should be crafted with employment in mind. Often, agencies will use CV formatting for their clients’ individual pages. Director Robert Icke has an interesting take on this, putting his CV and work at the fore. Wix has simple CV websites you might like to peruse for inspiration. It’s worth noting that the best and safest practice is to remove your address or any other personal information you might normally include in your CV, but don’t want on the web.

The Portfolio

When you have plenty of images, like production photos, examples of design work, or a showreel(s), the portfolio is the way to go. Here, quality and clear descriptions of content are critical, especially for casting directors like Belinda Norcliffe CDG. “Sometimes, I only have a few seconds to watch a showreel so the first 10 seconds are so very important for me,” Norcliffe tells us. “I love seeing up-to-date, well-lit scenes so I can see the actor clearly in those first scenes. If there is a montage of work, it is always helpful for me to see it listed alongside the date it was filmed.”  For some beautiful, clean portfolio templates, check out Squarespace’s Hawley or Tepito templates. One example of a site with a strong sense of identity is that of UK performance artist Louise Orwin. She describes her portfolio website as “an essential part of my artist toolkit. Not only as a space to market my work and communicate ideas around my practice, but I have also found it to be a vital space for me in terms of playing with aesthetics and the identity of my ‘brand’ as an artist.”

The Archive

Orwin also incorporates an archive on her site, which, she says, “gives my practice a sense of legacy” and “a way of connecting with my audience – many reach out to me to watch my old work…even when I’ve stopped performing it.” If your work has a solid breadth but is harder to distinctly categorise, you might opt for archiving your work chronologically. This make your career history clearly accessible, but it also tells the story of your journey as an artist. Each “record” or “entry” of your work should include a contextual description, and perhaps a few images or footage. Whether you’d like it to lean more toward documentation, like performance and installation artist Anne Bean’s archive, or be more playful like Gob Squad’s site, it can be a great resource to delve into your creative history.

The Blog

Writing frequently through a blog is a fantastic way to demonstrate your individuality, illustrate your process, reflect on your practice, and review work you’ve seen. Blogging can also be a means to build a habit and set targets for yourself. If you are committing to a blog, try to post regularly so the content stays fresh. Not sure you want to crank out a post a day? To help you decide the blogging frequency that’s right for you, have a look through Blog Tyrant’s The Latest Blogging Trends and Statistics for 2020 (and Beyond). Don’t limit yourself to writing. Integrating media like images, video, and audio clips are a great way to beef up your blog and sprinkle in variety. There are loads of examples of blogs and vlogs out there – American theatre-director Ann Bogart has a wonderfully rich blog, and so does Gecko Theatre. WordPress is probably the most widely used platform for bloggers, and they have tons of templates to peruse.

The Experience

An interactive website is probably the most challenging to create but can have a big impact. It can be a powerful marketing tool for a current project or your practice more generally. For example, a voiceover artist might consider having clips of their voice play when users click buttons throughout their site; or a filmmaker might have their homepage as a series of short films to watch. Wind and Words is an interactive example exploring dialogue from HBO’s Games of Thrones. And the site for the film Lady Bird integrates a fun quiz for users to go through clips from the feature. While exciting, tread lightly – don’t sacrifice clarity for interactive effects. Ollie Campbell from the UK-based acting agency BWH tells us: “The most important thing is to just make sure that any links are fully functioning (eg. showreel) and that full contact details are listed and easy to find. I’d far rather something be easy to navigate than to have flashy visuals.”

Resources:

More industry advice for UK actors? Click here.