The Importance of Maintaining Your Online Presence

August 29, 2016

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.


Michael Douglas: Young American Actors Are ‘Too Caught Up in Their Image’

July 10, 2015

Michael Douglas has stirred up a degree of controversy after a recent interview with London’s Independent in which he spoke in unbecoming generalizations about young American actors. According to the two-time Oscar winning actor-producer Hollywood is currently suffering because up-and-coming actors have their priorities all mixed up. Douglas asserted, “There’s something going on with young American actors–both men and women–because the Brits and Australians are taking many of the best American roles from them.”

Well, let’s look at the last two years of Oscar nominations to see if he has a point. In 2015 there’s English Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game; English Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones in The Theory of Everything; and English Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl. The 2014 Oscar nominations include Englishmen Christian Bale in American Hustle and Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave; English actresses Judi Dench in Philomena and Sally Hawkins in Blue Jasmine as well as Australian actress Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine. The past couple of years have seen actors from countries outside the U.S. including Somali American Barkhad Abdi from Captain Phillips, German-Irish Michael Fassbender in 12 Years a Slave, Mexican-Kenyan Lupita Nyong’o in 12 Years a Slave, and French actress Marion Cotillard in Two Days, One Night. In addition, some popular Australian actors include “Thor” Chris Hemsworth, “Wolverine” Hugh Jackman, Bridesmaid actress Rose Byrne, Margot Robbie who played Naomi in The Wolf of Wall Street, Divergent‘s Jai Courtney… Do you think Douglas has a point?

According to Michael Douglas, the formal training of American actors is being compromised. “In Britain they take their training seriously while in the states we’re going through a sort of social media image conscious thing rather than formal training. Many actors are getting caught up in this image thing which is going to affect their range.”

Douglas also finds American actors lacking in their ruggedness, saying, “With Aussies, particularly with the males, it’s the masculinity. In the U.S. we have this relatively asexual or unisex area with sensitive young men, and we don’t have many Channing Tatums or Chris Pratts, while the Aussies do. It’s a phenomena.”

Douglas continued, ‘There’s a crisis in young American actors right now. Everyone’s much more image conscious than they are about actually playing the part.” He points out the way so many Americans spend their time on social media venues like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat. But really, that’s not just an American thing. After all, Aussies and Brits concern themselves with matters of publicity–as do American actors Tatum and Pratt who he mentioned.

Michael Douglas has been acting for 50 years and his career is still going strong. He plays Dr. Hank Pym in the upcoming Marvel comic movie Ant-Man who has the capability to miniaturize people.

Do you agree with any of Douglas’ opinions? Or do you find them to be amiss or maybe even derogatory?

Here’s Michael talking about his role in Ant-Man.