Social networking is a big part of business marketing these days and since your acting career is a business, you should consider social networking as a helpful and effective tool as well. As I discussed in an earlier post, I’m not a fan of setting up your own Facebook page or website, but you can definitely use them to help you in other ways.
It might surprise you, but the most important function of ‘professional’ social networking is keeping up to date with what other people are doing, rather than keeping everyone up to date with what you’re doing. This may sound a bit backward, but it’s really the most career-effective way to do it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to put the word out when you’re in a show or film, but
a) you don’t want to get a reputation for constantly begging or bothering people (this is just another form of excessive self-promotion; it suggests that you are in desperate need of attention rather than working consistently and successfully); and
b) your focus is to keep working, and one of the best ways to do that is to keep informed of what’s going on in the industry, so you can be prepared and ahead of the game.
So the focus is on the future. You want to keep working. You want to be in things. That’s where Facebook, Twitter and Instagram come in.
I’ve mentioned before that being well-researched increases your chances of getting roles. Here’s how you can do this using social media:
- Say you follow a theatre company on Instagram or Twitter, and they start posting about plays for next season. Not only can you stay ahead of the crowd by reading these plays in advance, you can also call your agent and ask them to get you an audition. This applies to film and TV as well – anything you read about online you can research ahead of time. You may not be able to get a hold of the screenplay, but you can certainly call your agent and ask them if there’s anything in it that you could be put forward for.
- If you’re following production companies in other states, you will be informed far enough ahead that you can think about flying over for an audition if your agent can get you one. Sure, being on mailing lists will keep you fairly up to date, but you’ll get the inside info way earlier through social media.
- You’ll also get all the goss on who’s involved, so you can look at the productions these people have worked on before – ready to impress them with your knowledge at your audition.
- You might get some insight into the types of actors they’re looking for. At the very least, you can save yourself some time if you know in advance that you’re not what they’re looking for. If you’re the right type, then you’ll be ready to capitalise on that knowledge at your audition by preparing an appropriate audition scene and dressing for your type.
Other than helping you book more auditions, here are a few other things that might help you get more use out of your social networking accounts:
- Upcoming auditions notifications
- Keeping ahead of grant deadlines and up to date on new grants being released
- Discount offers on classes or events
- Opportunities for overseas training or residencies
- Articles of note (eg. companies receiving more funding, changes of staff for major companies, new companies, trends in the industry, etc)
- A starting point for researching the previous work or previous collaborators of a prospective employer
- Becoming immersed in other aspects of the industry – visual arts, dance, media
Remember to include people from any surrounding artforms you are also interested in (dance, visual arts, musical theatre, etc). An understanding of other artforms enriches your understanding of your current artform, and can also help you identify potential opportunities for combining your interests. Think lateral and long term and you’ll start to really make the most of social networking as a tool.
I know Twitter isn’t considered the most exciting platform (I’ll be honest, I’m really lazy with checking my Twitter account), but LOTS of production companies are very active on it, so it’s worth considering getting an account, even if you just skim through tweets every couple of days or once a week.
If you’re really not fond of Twitter, make sure you ‘like’ the Facebook pages of film-makers and theatre companies that you’re keen on working with. People tend to be less forthcoming on Facebook pages, so you might not get all the goss, but you’ll be able to stay ahead to some extent. If they don’t have a page, you can ask to be their friend IF you have auditioned or worked with them before, or if it looks like they run their account as a professional (ie. statuses are about work, they’re friends with over 1,000 people). If they only have a personal account, with a small amount of friends (300 or less), assume they don’t use Facebook for professional reasons and give them their privacy – don’t request to be their friend.
For those based in Western Australia, like me, here are a few accounts you might like to follow. If you live elsewhere, please share your ideas in the comments!
Some people you might want to like/follow (WA):
Advanced Acting Sessions in Perth
Acting Classes in Perth
Thespians Do it On Stage (amateur)
Perth Theatre Post – What’s On
Audition Notices – New Zealand and Australia (more over east)
The West Australian Acting Collective
Perth Auditions – Film and Theatre network
Others you might like to add…
Sugar Blue Burlesque
The Big Hoo Haa and Big Hoo Haa Appreciators
Tuesday Comedy Night @ Lazy Susan’s – Shapiro Tuesdays
Friday Night Stand Up @ Lazy Susan’s Comedy Den
WA Youth Theatre Company @waytco
ArtsEdge (arts education) @artsedge
Hopscotch Films @HopscotchFilms
AbaF (Australian Business Arts) @AbaFAustralia
Deckchair Theatre @deckchairfreo
Art Start Grants @ArtStartGrants
Theatre Board (AusCo) @Theatre_OzCo
Performing Lines WA @perflineswa
Aus Film Review @AusFilmReview
FILMINK Magazine @filmink
Australian Stage (online) @australianstage
Inside Film (online) @insidefilm
Propel Youth Arts @propelyoutharts
His Majesty’s Theatre @HisMajestyT
ArtsHub (online) @ArtsHub
Others you might want to follow…