When you hear about a new production which is casting, what’s the first thing you do? Head to Google. When you get an audition with a director, what’s the first thing you do? Head to Google. We all use Google daily, it has made our lives so much easier. When we want to find out about, a director, a production company, a casting director, a production, we all head to Google and spend a lot of time researching the role, the play and the people involved. Chances are you will find all you need to know on the first few pages of Google results. What makes you think casting directors, directors, producers, agents, are any different? When they want to find out a little more about an actor they have just heard about, maybe even an actor they are about to meet for a role, they will have looked at Spotlight and seen your CV and headshots, but chances are they will also head to Google and see what else they can find out about you. You can control what they find by taking control of your very own web presence.
You’re a nobody unless your name Googles well
These days having a good website is just as important as having a good headshot. A great website will let you direct interested parties to a fuller look at who you are and what you do, and let them see how seriously you take yourself and your craft. Anyone who is anyone these days has got a website. Being in Spotlight is hugely important, but that is like a plumber being in the Yellow Pages, it isn’t the whole story, you can easily get lost and its hard to show off who you really are. If you can direct the casting world straight to your up to date, stylish, professional, and simple website, then you are a whole lot closer to getting the job. The easier you make the casting industry’s job the better it is for you.
There are a lot of tools out there for building your own website, but often these ‘home made’ websites can look exactly that …. a little bit ‘home made’ and ‘amateurish’. If you wouldn’t want to take your own headshots, so why take the same risk with your website? There are lots of skilled professionals out there who can build and host your site for you, with a bit of research I am sure you will find the right person for the job.
Be wary of anyone who is going to offer you an over-the-top fancy site full of ‘bells and whistles’. Casting people have only a limited time to spend waiting for your site to load. Also worth bearing in mind that nowadays our PC screens are all different sizes, and sometimes these ‘fancy pants’ sites might look great on your monitor at home, but pop them on an iPhone, a widescreen monitor, or an iPad, and everything can get jumbled up and make it difficult to navigate or read. Some might not even load up. Keep it simple. Give them exactly what they want. Actor Design have worked with the casting industry to build a site structure which offers exactly what is needed, and is tailored for the industry and not for an actor’s ego. We don’t want your site to sell you as anything other than you are, a professional actor who knows exactly who they are and what they can offer.
You’re just anybody without your identity.
Keep an eye on the costs. Many design and hosting services will offer a great price on the surface but when you delve a little deeper you can find the costs of them ‘running’ your website quickly adds up. Some will offer very low prices but only consit of three pages and will then charge you for any additional pages. See how much it will cost to update your website, is there an extra fee for adding extra video and headshots? Website Design companies can often act the same as printer manufacturers. You buy the printer at a great price, but then when it comes to buying the ink to run the printer your funds are quickly eaten away. We believe in keeping things simple. Actor Design charge you a ‘one off fee’ for design which also includes the first year’s hosting, after that we have a low price hosting annual charge. Our updating costs, are charged using a simple retainer program. You pay for the work done. We charge you for an hour of updates and if you want to add a credit, it will probably take 3 or 4 minutes, so you are left with 57 minutes of updating. Simple. It works for us and for you. We are actors ourselves and understand an actor’s budget, so we have built our pricing structure so that it works for everyone. Look around, and look for the hidden costs before you choose who will build your site.
Whoever you choose to build your site, remember that having a website is a legitimate business expanse and can be claimed when it comes to doing your taxes.
Once you have your site up and running, link to it from your twitter page, from your Facebook account, from your YouTube videos, and most importantly from your Spotlight profile, and any other casting sites you are live on. You want people to be able to find you quickly and easily.
I would recommend having business cards printed up with your URL on, perhaps your headshot, or a QR code which links straight to your site. You can get some really swanky and relatively low cost cards printed if you search around. I personally use Moo cards, as I love how individual I can make them, and I think they really suit us creatives. Carry these with you at all times, and you can hand them to anyone you meet who might be of interest. A lot easier than having to hand over a headshot and CV, or relying on them remembering your name so they can find you on Spotlight the next time they are at the internet. Your card will send them directly to your website which gives them all they need to know.
The three key rules of marketing are brand recognition, brand recognition, brand recognition
Embrace the internet, embrace social media, and embrace your own web presence. Control how you are found, and control what the world will see when they Google your name. Kevin J Delaney said in the Wall Street Journal, “You’re a nobody unless your name Googles well”. Make sure that you are not one of the “Un-google-ables” get a good web presence and stay ahead of the crowd.