TOOLS OF THE TRADE: Your Acting Website

Every actor should have a website. Don’t know how to do it? Don’t know where to start – well, here are a few suggestions …

I can’t say this often enough … EVERY ACTOR NEEDS A WEBSITE.

Now, some would say that it’s all very well for me to talk – I’m a web designer. But this isn’t about drumming up more business for myself (I’m too busy most of the time to take on huge jobs now anyway). I don’t care who you use to design it – you can even design it yourself – just get a website up on the ‘Net as soon as you can.

Why?

Firstly, it makes you look more professional. You are a business, are you not? What does every business need in this modern age? A website, of course. Will casting people look at it? Possibly not. In fact, most likely not – not in Australia, anyway, as we still rely on CVs and photos when considering actors for jobs.

BUT – that is changing. I just got an audition last week due to the director visiting my website – and it was a PAID gig – very well paid, as a matter of fact. Did the audition invitation come only through his seeing my site?. No. He had been sent my CV and headshot by my agent, but we make sure my website is listed on the CV and so he went to have a look. He watched my showreel, read my biography – found out about my other interests and that’s what swung him over to calling me in. IT MADE ME STAND OUT FROM ALL THE OTHER ACTRESSES. He felt he’d got to know me before even meeting me. And that’s invaluable.

And student and independent filmmakers actually do look at websites regularly. I’ve even been offered some gigs without audition, based on the director visiting my website and seeing my showreel, photos and CV. I also include the website url on all my correspondence to do with my acting (actually, it goes on ALL my email signatures), and it also appears on my CV and headshot.

DO get your own domain name (mine is sallymclean.com). This is professional and stops someone else taking your name at a later date, once you become better known.

Domain names range in price from $10 per year to $80 per year (I pay $20.90 for two years). Then you need some site hosting space – use Google to find one that works for you, or get recommendations from other actors. I use GoDaddy.com, but you go with the provider you feel is going to give you the  best deal and the best service.

Basically, as actors, we’re just businesses like any other – regardless if we have an agent or not. If we do have an agent, then we’re in partnership with another business – but we’re still selling the same product – ourselves. And like any business, marketing our “image” and “product” to as many people who might buy it as possible is one of the most important elements to our success – and a website is a really cost-effective addition to your marketing arsenal (especially if you do it yourself).

It also helps from an international marketing perspective – as the Internet is, after all, an international medium.

The bottom line is that we’re living and working in the 21st Century and if you do not have a website, then you’re falling behind the game.  Take control of your brand, take control of the information that is out there and the easiest way to do this is get your own website.

Originally published May 2007 © Sally McLean. All rights reserved.

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