With all the emphasis on internet searches and social media these days, it’s important for actors to periodically take a step back and look at their online presence. Many casting directors are making use of all online tools available to them, and it’s highly recommended that actors do as well. What are casting professionals learning about you based on your public Facebook posts, Tweets, uploads to a YouTube channel, Snapchat Snaps, Instagram pictures, your IMDb profile, and what shows up when you Google your name?
Indeed, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) is one of the most popular online databases in the industry. It lists millions of names of cast and crew members along with their biographies relating to 3.7 million television, film, and video game titles. According to Amy Jo Berman who was HBO’s Vice President of Casting for over fourteen years, casting directors use IMDb every day. At a minimum she instructs actors to maintain up-to-date credits, at least one professional headshot, and ideally upload video clips. Most importantly, she advises talent make sure their contact information is displayed accurately on their page. When she looks up actors, she is surprised at what she comes across. “For goodness sakes, I’ve actually seen IMDb pages for actors without a picture. That’s crazy!…Make sure that your contact, your agent, your manager, that everything is up-to-date,” she urges.
It’s an increasingly important part of the game these days to both create and maintain your online presence. After all, many casting directors have shared that they routinely research actors’ social media sites to learn about, and keep a current knowledge of, the talent pool. When it comes to actors on social platforms, it’s important to distinguish between their private accounts which cannot be seen by the public, and the ones that are accessible for all to view. Public platforms represent excellent venues for an actor to promote him or herself. In fact, some actors have this aspect of the competition down to an art form. Comfortable with learning the technical requirements (camera options, lighting sources, editing tools, etc.) coupled with a knack to continually create compelling content, these individuals stand out amidst the competition.
Those who don’t feel a continual output of content is their strength can choose to find others to help them with this aspect of promotion, keep things simple, or skip it altogether. But for those who do maintain public venues, it’s important to adhere to two important practices. First of all, keep them up-to-date. Actors who post the same headshot for ten years or who used to rock climb but no longer do so represent just a couple examples of how outdated representations of are not helpful for casting. Maybe your type has changed; maybe your old talents need to be replaced with new ones.
And secondly, actors using public social media accounts need to demonstrate professionalism. For example, actors who publicly involve themselves with negative talk are likely standing out for the wrong reasons. They might inadvertently be advertising themselves as a person with a lot of grievances, anger, insecurities, or problems with professionalism. Make sure any expressed opinions don’t interfere with you being perceived as an excellent person to have onboard with any future project. Casting and production seek not only talented actors, but people with whom it’s a pleasure to work–and a certain standard of professionalism is expected. And of course, be careful of which photos you choose to make visible to potential employers.
As far as your Casting Frontier profile is concerned, it’s important to know that it is not open to the public unless you choose to share it with people. All Casting Frontier profiles can be seen by casting professionals who are considering you for their specific jobs. But you can also choose to share your profile with agents, managers, colleagues, or any individual of your choice. Your CF profile is an excellent platform to exhibit your skills, experience, as well as your many looks in an organized, professional manner. In addition, many actors are happy to publicly share their profiles on Casting Frontier’s homepage via the “Featured Talent” option. And remember, Casting Frontier’s Premium and Premium Plus profiles include a link to a website of your choice. So, your engaging social media content can be just one click away from industry professionals searching for talent.
Just like we’re all encouraged to change the batteries in our smoke detectors about the same time each year, it’s also a good idea to routinely check in with your online presence to make sure it’s honorable, up-to-date, and interesting. Then it’s just a matter of having fun with it, and bringing all your authenticity to the medium.