April Frontier Insider

In a lot of ways things for actors are better than ever before in Hollywood. Let’s take a look at some of those things and how you can take advantage of some of the recent changes in the business.

Social media has never been a more effective tool than now. First, there are more social media platforms than ever before. Also, access is easier as is navigation. The kinks are gone people. Anyone can easily and immediately utilize social media to promote their acting careers. Actors need to remember that sites like Facebook are effective tools to promote their careers and they are free! Producers and casting directors may not need you to have a million followers but think how they’ll feel if they search you on these sites and you aren’t even active.

The days of actors having to print up thousands of hard copies of their headshots and resumes are long gone. You still want to carry a headshot just in case. But now most people will just call up your information on their devices. This allows actors to divert a lot of money into other things. The money you save on copies of headshots and resumes can be used for classes, etc.

And because so much of this process we call casting is online now, actors have greater opportunities to show us multiple looks with their headshots. You still need to think about branding and you still need to have one prime headshot, but now you can get a lot more information across via websites, social media and anything else that comes along.

Your demo reel really isn’t anymore. And that’s a good thing. I remember my office bookcase full of klunky VHS tapes that actors would drive to my office to retrieve, only to have to mail them out at great expense the next day! Now you not only save money, but it is so much easier to get your work out there. No guarantees but we are much more likely to click on a link than we were to get up and put your tape into a VCR. And you can put up an endless number of clips and compilations, comedy or drama, to spotlight your many talents. All for just about zero dollars. Nice.

Production really is spreading out. So, not that I am advocating that you stay in the smaller markets, but while you are going to college or planning the big move, you can also try to land some roles in film and television with better results than ten years ago. Just remember that while production is all over, casting is mostly still based in Los Angeles so that’s where you should be as well.

Postage? You don’t need no stinkin’ postage! Ask actors that were pounding the pavement in the 1990’s how much money they spent per month on postage. It’s almost all digital now which is free. Sure, you still have to put the materials together, so there is some cost, but compared to twenty years ago the savings are enough to buy a lot of groceries.

It’s practically expected that actors will at some point in their careers make their own content. Go back just ten years ago and it was rare, expensive and clumsy to do this. Now, everyone seems to be doing it and more importantly to you, the industry is embracing it. We used to dread having to watch poorly-made content. Now, we’re going onto YouTube in an effort not to miss out on some of the bright new talent that is popping up every day.

Mark Sikes began his casting career in 1992 for Academy Award-winning filmmaker Roger Corman. In the past 25 years, he has cast over 100 films as well as television series, commercials and web series. He has cast projects for Tobe Hooper and Luke Greenfield and many others. In the past few years Mark has also produced four feature films.

Based in Los Angeles, Mark has cast films for many markets including the United Kingdom, Peru, the Philippines and Russia. Domestically, he has cast films that shot all over the country in Texas, Ohio, Massachusetts, Virginia and multiple projects in Colorado.

He currently teaches three weekly on-camera, audition technique classes in West Los Angeles.  Follow Mark on Twitter @castnguy.