Photo Source: Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels
If you’re a host or actor, you most likely have had more time on your hands than usual since production has been stalled. So what better time than the present to research the right agent for you and submit? Many talent agents are using this slower period to review submissions and check out fresh talent. That makes this the perfect time to put together and update your pitch package so you can get an agent during this period of quarantine. Here are six steps you can take to snag a rep that’s right for you.
1. Refresh your résumé and demo reels.
Update your résumé and online profiles on sites like Backstage. Be sure to include and update the special skills section. You’d be surprised at how helpful this can be when being considered for a specific project. If you’re an actor, make sure you have character-type headshots, clips from projects on your profiles, and genre-specific reels. Reels should be broken into areas like hosting, theatrical, commercial, etc. This makes it easier for an agent to see where you fit and what work you’ve already done. Your hosting reel needs to show diversity, authenticity, and charisma. Acting reels should include your strongest and most professional clips up top. Keep your reel to under three minutes if possible.
2. Update your website and headshots.
Every actor and host should have their own talent website and killer headshots. Simple websites work well and get the job done. Squarespace and Wix are wonderful DIY options or you can easily hire someone to put something together that you can update on your own. Your website will house your headshots, demo reels, social media handles, contact information, and anything else a potential agent would want to know about you. Include your online profile link so they can click and see it all in one place. Make it as easy as possible!
Online classes, training, and workshops are being offered on a regular basis now that everyone is social distancing. Be sure to look for workshops offered by casting directors and talent agents as they have been extremely visible online during the pandemic. Notable acting schools are also offering online options and giving deals due to the hardships caused by COVID-19. This is in an effort to help keep artists inspired, confident, and strengthening their craft. This is also a great way to connect with key players in the industry.
4. Explore and update social media.
Facebook groups are a great place to find entertainment professionals who share industry experiences, advice, tips, tools, and resources. Two Facebook groups to check out are TMFA (Talent Managers for Actors) and Hosts in L.A. These groups have a tremendous amount of useful industry insider info from veterans in the fields of acting and hosting.
You should also make sure your Instagram page is all professional and you’re connecting with casting directors, talent agents, and other professionals in the field. This is a great way to engage with those who make the decisions that could help change the course of your career. Think about posting your strongest video clips in Highlights to make it easier for them to binge your best performances.
The more professional of the bunch, LinkedIn has proven to build great relationships within the industry and create a space for groups within the entertainment industry. Remember to keep all profiles consistent to avoid any confusion on who you are and what you do.
5. Find a referral (hot or warm).
Once you make a list of your top talent agent picks spread the word within your professional circle. It’s likely someone you know will have some sort of connection to those agencies. If you have an industry referral it’s a lot easier to get a foot in the door than for you to try and break in yourself. A hot referral is when someone will personally ask their agency to consider you for their roster. A warm referral is someone who allows you to mention them in your cover letter to the agency.
6. Construct an agent email.
Keep your email brief and respectful. Note your recent career highlights, training, credits, background, and what roles or character types you believe you are right for. Bullets are best for highlights and keep paragraphs short. Include a line or two about their agency and why you think you would make a great team. This proves you’ve done your research and see this as more of a partnership than a transaction. Be sure to include a link to an online profile like Backstage so they can click and see your work.
Once you have your perfect agent pitch package together, you’re ready to execute. If you submit and don’t hear anything back reach out a few weeks later to follow up. They may not be interested in taking you on as a client or it just may not be the best time for them to sign you. However, be sure to check their website first to see if they’re currently taking submissions so you don’t start off on the wrong foot.
Having all the right materials prior to submission is key to looking professional and being taken seriously as an artist. Pro tip: SAG-AFTRA and the Association of Talent Agents are two great resources to find reputable agencies.
Photo Source: Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels
3 Ways Actors Can Earn Free Publicity
In order for any actor to succeed in this highly competitive market, it’s essential for key decision-makers to see them as marketable, talented, and in demand. It’s typically standard for professional actors to have a solid submission package that includes a demo reel, professional clips, headshots, and online profile links. In addition, using the power of media can help boost your visibility and help you stand out from thousands of other actors.
Many actors are busy with training, day jobs, and auditioning that they don’t think to include publicity into their overall strategic career plan, and if they do, they’re quickly reminded that publicists come with a hefty price tag. One that most actors can’t afford. Media outlets like TV, print, and podcasts are an amazing way to get seen by millions and potentially promote upcoming projects. Reporters and hosts are always looking for a human angle that can add value to their show, so with some creative pitching, media training, and persistence, you can go from unknown to a rising star in just seconds on the air.
Here are just a few ways you can score free publicity.
1. Local and National News
Find a story trending in the news and think of how you can be the character in that story. Have production jobs stalled because of COVID-19? How has that affected you as an actor? Are you an actor who waits tables as a survival job and now can’t pay your bills because restaurants have shut down?
Think of how you can add value to this story and email the producer of the show or segment. Weekend and morning show producers and entertainment reporters appreciate a well thought out pitch, one which includes a solid hook subject line, a few lines about who you are and what you do, and elements that can help tell the story visually.
If actors want more of a promotional opportunity for an upcoming project, actors should put a digital pitch package or EPK (electronic press kit) together. Always include a headshot, a few lines about who you are, highlights of your project, and how you can add value to the segment. For these opportunities, actors should reach out to the entertainment reporter or producer for that segment. In some cases, stations have talent bookers that actors can reach out to as well.
Bonus materials for a pitch can include pre-approved video snippets or trailers of the upcoming project, photos that fit within the story, and mock interviews of the actor talking off-camera about their character and how they fit within the storyline. Be sure to always include a strong hook subject line, a few bullets of actor highlights, and links to an IMDb page, website, or online profiles.
Podcast hosts are always looking for their next interview. Actors need to find their audience and a podcaster who already speaks to them. Podcasts that focus on TV, film, acting, entertainment, you get the idea. Actors need to reach out to these hosts and pitch themselves as a solid guest who can speak well on a certain topic, add a positive vibe to the show, and have something valuable to share with the audience.
Email pitches should include a strong hook line, a few lines about the actor, bullets of project highlights, links to their online profiles, and any previous press coverage or appearances. This shows the actor is comfortable being interviewed and can speak conversationally with the host.
3. Guest Expert Posts
Another great way for actors to gain visibility is guest posting. Actors should research what publications or digital platforms have an audience they want to reach. Choose an angle that speaks to the audience and adds value.
Actors need to think about what they can talk about passionately or offer guidance on what will leave readers wanting more. Aside from being an actor, are you a health expert, fashion blogger, social media expert? Actors have other interests that make them a well-rounded artist and offering to share those talents with the world gives them an edge that other actors may not have.
The more credibility you have within the creative space, the more visible actors will be to key decision-makers and fans. These growing numbers make actors a marketable product in combination with their talent which is a recipe for a successful career.
I started out on television when I was just a kid, shooting commercials and TV shows. Years later, I entered the world of TV hosting and reporting which I discovered called for clothes with crisp looks and clean lines. There was no budget for a stylist and I was never offered a wardrobe allowance, so I had to be creative and thrifty.
Now, nearly 15 years after my first TV news job, I’ve learned a thing or two about what styles flatter on the screen and how to make every piece count! Here are 5 items you should consider adding to your closet if you’ll regularly be on-camera.
1. Black Dress Pants
Invest in a flattering high-quality pair of black pants. It doesn’t have to cost you much. My go-to pants weren’t that expensive and they fit me like a glove. My pants were from New York and Company and I paired them with a variety of bold tops and jackets. When anchoring, I really focused on my upper half more as I would be sitting at the desk most of the time.
2. Bold Color Dresses
When you’re shooting in a studio beware of the green or blue screen. Make sure you don’t wear a green or blue colored outfit. If you do, you might just look like a floating head. If you’re at the anchor desk or in the field, go nuts with color! Just stay away from patterns and distracting jewelry. If you’d like to show off your arms, sleeveless is acceptable. If you’re not, then stick with a three-quarter length sleeve. If you happen to like showing off your legs a bit more than dress length, a few inches above the knee is classy but still sexy. If you’re pear-shaped like me, an A-line dress always flatters. Keep collar lines simple.
3. Color Block Dresses
These styles look great on almost every woman! I own a few and my favorites are by Calvin Klein. These create the illusion of a slimmer shape and appear to trim your waist and hips.
4. Crisp Suit
You don’t see many women wearing crisp suits on TV anymore, but there’s something powerful about a woman in a suit. Pant and skirt suits look incredible with a pair of fabulous heels and a statement blouse underneath. I used to wear suits to fit the theme of where I was shooting content. If it was a more professional event I’d come ready with a power suit. Suit colors vary but I always stuck with a neutral or basic black and dressed it up with an accent top or heels with a pop of color.
5. Jewel Tone Tops
This is a staple for anyone who works on-camera. These pieces really pop and keep the attention on your face. If your body type calls for a fitted top than go for a sleeveless blouse or slim longer sleeve. If you care to cover your arms, a long sleeve or three-quarter length is always a safe and classic bet.
Also, don’t forget this TV tip: Try and stay away from patterns, overly textured styles, and baggy fits. Always choose figure-flattering tops and dresses.
Following these simple suggestions will keep the focus on you and not your clothing!
Photo Source: Photo by Danny Feng on Unsplash
If you’re looking to boost your TV and film career in the new year, there’s a strategy to it. For years, clients have come to me for help on how to jumpstart their professional journey when feeling stuck in a proverbial rut. Although the main focus should be on perfecting your craft, there are many elements you must consider in order to have a successful on-air career.
It’s important to set goals in order to build your business. To help keep you on track, here are five ways to stay focused and book more work in the upcoming year!
1. Look at the big picture.
What is your end goal? Do you want to be a series regular? A talk show host? A commercial actor? Only once you’ve verbalized what you want can you start working toward that goal. Research your ideal roles, actors playing those roles, and gear your demo reel content and headshots toward that character style. Make it as easy as possible for casting directors and talent agents to visualize you in those roles. Also, make note of what resources and tools you’ll use to achieve these goals. Perhaps you’ll start attending ongoing classes, take part in webinars, or sign up for private coaching.
2. Recognize challenges.
What are the challenges preventing you from reaching your goal? Challenges can come in all forms. A demanding survival job, children, a poor-quality demo reel, lack of time management skills, and more. Whatever the challenge, it’s important to list them all and a proposed solution. As an actor, some things are truly out of your control, but others are in your control. It’s important to recognize the difference. For instance, the amount of work put into becoming a stronger performer, creating and promoting your own content, and building self-confidence on-camera and off, is all within your control. It’s truly empowering when you focus on becoming a better performer.
3. Make a marketing plan.
Once you’ve established what roles you feel you’d be right for, it’s time to share it with the world! You’re a business. Building your online presence will boost that business and draw attention to your work. This includes marketing materials such as casting website profiles, a professional demo reel, a personal website, and headshots. Utilize social media to connect with others locally in the TV and film industry like talent agents, casting directors, acting community groups, and more. There you can find out about workshops, networking events, social media live Q&As, and more. Always be hungry to learn and be a part of something bigger than you!
4. Write out a timeline.
Writing out a reasonable timeline will make reaching your goals more attainable and concrete. Without a written timeline, you can get overwhelmed and try to tackle too many tasks at once. This leads to actors not making any real progress. Ask yourself what lists will support you in these efforts. Do you want to set goals by type? Or maybe the order of priority? Every actor is different, so do what will work best for you and your schedule. Once you set out your timeline list your action steps including date and time, and describe your life after you complete these action steps. What do you see? Hear? Smell? Visualizing life after you’ve reached your goals will help keep you motivated.
5. Hold yourself accountable.
Accountability is key when trying to stick to a timeline. The best way to hold yourself accountable is to work with a certified coach or check-in with yourself on a regular basis. Decide whether a list of weekly accomplishments or a checklist that’s been completed will be best for you to stay on track. Make notes of what helped, what held you back and how you will move forward. Seeing a solution on paper will help put it into action.
Putting all these actions into place will ensure a more productive, profitable, and pleasant year to come. You have the talent, now it’s time to get motivated and make it a memorable new year!
The hosting world has changed drastically in the last few years, from talent agents and networks looking for presentational hosts to searching for quadruple threats: those who can host, write, produce, and edit. This is huge news for creative artists like actors who have more to offer the world than just their acting chops.
Big-name brands and production companies are looking for fresh faces, experts and influencers to take over the hosting space, bringing with them content and a large existing audience. This emerging style of host takes viewers on a journey of discovery, paving the way for brand ambassadorship and, potentially, a new show produced in their honor.
Actors have charisma, creativity, and passion that can transform into a price tag. But how does an actor add “host” to their résumé and create more job opportunities? In today’s digital market, you don’t necessarily need a degree to build credibility—just a strong point of view and the ability to create valuable content!
Two of the hottest hosting markets are New York and L.A., home to celebrity experts and docusoap talents. Mark Turner, Abrams Artists Agency VP and the New York head of alternative programming, digital media, branding, and licensing says now, most shows want authenticity on a subject matter, not just a “show host.” Talent needs to be so much more than that.
“Pursue a specific angle,” says Turner. “Talent-wise, it’s really about trying to find the next Anthony Bourdain, Guy Fieri, Zak Bagans, Josh Gates, etc. Or building a full-on brand, like the Kardashians and ‘Duck Dynasty.’ ”
In Atlanta, where production has really picked up, the hosting market is hot for spokesperson gigs. ATL is home to so many company headquarters that they’re really in need of bodies and voices to represent them.
Commercial and industrial agent Mason Thurman of Atlanta Models & Talent says that although corporate industrials are big in the peach state, new hosting platforms—like game shows that live on your smartphone—have emerged. (Just look at the host of HQ!) If you’re looking for representation, do the legwork first. Thurman says you must be trained, have materials, and get serious because the competition is fierce!
The one commonality all hosting markets share is the search for real, authentic talent. Someone who has creativity, drive, and confidence on camera. Talent coaching and workshops are highly recommended to hosts in order to sharpen their skills and effectively brand themselves.
Actors looking to jump into hosting need guidance just like any other career, so do your research on hosting workshops, sizzle reels, and coaching in your area to see what fits best and how to create compelling content that sells.
Many actors struggle with side gigs and survival jobs to pay to the bills. But what if there was a better way to make big money using the creativity and talent you already have?
Social media influencers have taken the digital marketing world by storm with endorsements, brand collaborations, and a variety of cross promotions. It seems like a pretty incredible way to make a living while feeding your passion to act, right?
Keep in mind becoming a social media influencer doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, becoming a successful influencer is more of a marathon than a sprint. But once you hit that finish line, cash can be rolling in with every hit on your YouTube channel or like on your Instagram feed!
If you have the patience, persistence, and serious drive to succeed, you can have the best of both worlds: a thriving influencer and acting career. It’s all about being efficient with your time and producing creative content. Here’s how to get started:
Pick a niche.
I’m sure you’ve seen influencers all over your IG feed. Health, style, and beauty content seems to come at you in tsunami-like waves. The key is to pick a niche you have passion and experience in, knowing that you have something unique to bring to the table. Be as specific as possible; this is a good way to ensure loyal followers. For example, instead of focusing on becoming a general makeup expert, specialize in something like organic or vegan makeup.
Produce valuable content.
Pick which platforms you’re going to dominate. YouTube and Instagram are currently the most popular and generate the most interest from brands looking for influencers. There are two buckets that influencer content falls under: entertainment and utilitarian. Ask yourself if your followers would be more entertained by or if they can learn something valuable from you. If you can encompass both, kudos to you, a brand has now struck gold!
If you don’t have formal on-camera training, now is a good time to seek out a professional coach or online class. You can tell who has been on camera before and who is just getting started. Remember that online content is there to stay so you want everything you produce to look and sound professional. Even the best personalities need grooming. An influencer needs to be the best version of their authentic self and it takes practice to perform on camera and hold a successful interview on both sides.
Followers follow for a reason: to become a part of you and your journey. Don’t leave them hanging, wondering when they’ll see you next. They look forward to your content on a regular basis, so stick to a disciplined posting schedule. Whether it’s photos or videos, give them something new daily. A good way to be efficient with your time is to shoot a ton of content at once and release segments at different times during the week or month!
Be a part of the conversation.
Whether it’s a blog, participating in interviews, or staying active in online conversations, make your voice heard. Remember that you are the go-to expert, so your online presence should be known. This will draw in new followers and solidify your brand as the expert. This is also a good way to drive readers to your pages filled with additional items you would like to endorse!
Travis Hawley, VP of Business Development and Marketing at Viral Nation, a company that represents successful social media influencers and brands, says potential influencers need to focus more on the content than becoming famous. “If your content is good your success will follow,” he says. “Social media influencers get paid anywhere between hundreds to thousands (of dollars) for brand promotion and sales. There are so many ways to monetize your social media influencer status if you have the following and ability to engage potential buyers.”
So, when is it time to seek out an agent or manager? When you have a large, loyal following and the ability to generate real interest in the products or services you feature. This adds up to big bucks for brands and for you!
Unlike actors, TV hosts have to be one hundred percent themselves on camera. They absolutely cannot “act” like a host, or their career will be a short one. That is one of the biggest challenges for any performer looking to break into the hosting industry. But the good news is that actors have so many traits in common with successful TV hosts that the transition from acting to hosting can be an easy one, with the proper training.
By Nicole Sellars, continue reading on backstage.com
As an actor, host, or anchor, a demo reel is crucial to catching the eye of a casting or talent agent. You need a solid reel to be considered for an on-air job, but you also need to have actual work on your reel—a bit of a catch-22, right? Luckily, there is a way around this frustrating scenario.
By Nicole Sellars, continue reading on backstage.com
Your dream TV job doesn’t just have to involve acting—there’s a world of opportunity out there for television-related jobs.
By Nicole Sellars, continue reading on backstage.com
As actors, you have a variety of skills that could potentially open doors to a hosting career. Actors are driven, determined, creative, and outgoing. However, with so few lead host jobs out there, actors may sometimes need to take a detour to create more job opportunities for themselves. Enter the “expert host” route. Ask yourself, “Do I have an expertise? A passion I can pursue with an audience? That I can offer valuable information about?” If the answer is yes, you may be on your way to a hosting career!
Talent agents are always looking for the next big personality that can garner a huge social media following and eventually carry their own show. The “expert” host is a position that many actors as any professional, can pursue.
According to Mark Turner, VP, and head of the non-fiction, digital, and branded content division at Abrams Artists Agency in New York, it’s really about personality, first and foremost. Without that, the rest is fairly moot. But for the talent who do have that truly engaging and charismatic personality, the next step is to determine what else they bring to the table that sets them apart from other talent. True passions and areas of expertise are definitely key, but determining your angle is also important. For example, if you’re a lawyer, what differentiates you from all the other lawyers out there?
And having a large social media following can also be tremendously helpful. But you still need a brand; just having a million followers on your YouTube channel doesn’t necessarily guarantee any success. The kind of content you put out is critical.
Here are a few key questions to ask when finding your brand, a necessary part of becoming an expert host.
Do I have an expertise?
Are you a nutritionist or fitness expert? Are you a new mom who tried almost every baby product on the market and can offer honest reviews? Are you avid gamer? Maybe you’ve worked in human resources and are an expert in job recruitment who can help an audience through the job search process and help them build a successful career.
Be creative with your branding choices and know what you can sell! If you’re having trouble pinpointing an area of expertise, start by going online and searching for experts who speak to you. Study their style, see what they’re offering to their audience, and what the takeaway is. Take notes and then put your own spin on it.
Do I have a large social media following? If not, can I build one?
If you have thousands of followers, you’ve won half the battle! Agents will see this as a huge benefit since this makes it much easier to market you. If you don’t have a large social media following, don’t worry; you’re not alone. Everyone has to start somewhere.
Be consistent with content and post on social media regularly. Follow folks within a network you’re trying to break into to build your brand and garner the attention of those you’re looking to snag as followers. It’s all about targeting the right audience that will find value in what you’re offering.
What area do I feel comfortable talking about and giving advice on?
Makeup tutorials? Fashion tips? Medical advice? Nutrition and fitness? If you have a certification, degree, or years of experience, this will boost your credibility.
Start by finding your angle. Don’t just generalize—choose a direct approach. For instance, if you want to hone in on the lifestyle angle, be specific: fashion finds on a budget, makeup tips for TV, how to stay healthy on $50 bucks a week. Be different!
Can I create content that sells?
Tips, tricks, tutorials…oh my! Record yourself offering helpful hints or take your audience on a tour behind the scenes of a cool spot in your neighborhood. Be creative with what you think an audience would want to learn, see, and experience. Content needs to be consistent and useful so your audience returns every day to learn or see something new. Otherwise, else there’s no reason for them to come back.
Once you’ve answered these questions, it’s time to show your stuff! A demo reel is the key to putting your best face forward. This sounds like a daunting task but it’s possible to do on your own without hiring an expensive production crew. Be creative with your content and keep clips concise. Use a high-quality camera, light attachment, and tripod. And be sure to show diversity and personality because it’s all about selling you and your brand!
See original article at here backstage.com