Bob Fraser sends out a series of email newsletters to his new subscribers. Over the last few years I’ve been re-publishing them (with his permission) here for folks who don’t subscribe.
YOU MUST HAVE A WEBSITE
by Bob Fraser
A while back I posted an old actor’s joke to the many acting groups I belong to. The joke goes like this: How many actors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
100. One to screw it in and 99 to sit around Starbucks saying, “I could have done that – if I could only get a break.”
The reason this is a funny joke is that it reveals an underlying truth – a truth about actors’ attitudes. The joke, however, caused many actors to react negatively.
“That’s not funny,” was a common response.
Anyway, it caused a little stir.
I posted the joke because the attitudes it reveals are so widespread among actors, that they have become fodder for jokes. Look, the fact that you know how to do a job is not sufficient grounds to be offered the job. And please don’t wait for someone else to take action in order to have your dreams come to fruition. My friends, if you do, you’ll be waiting a long time – like forever.
There is a lot of grunt work involved in convincing others to hire you. If you don’t do the grunt work, your avid aspirations will not suffice.
“Could have” is no consolation for a dream neglected. Don’t ignore the truth just because it’s in a joke.
On another subject, I have also made it clear, on occasion, that I think every actor should own a computer – since it’s helpful for keeping records, printing résumés, sending emails, finding auditions, sending and receiving faxes and many other day-to-day chores.
I’ve also urged all actors to get a web site. There are nay-sayers, who rail against the computer and all its works.
One recently posted opinion stated that having a web site was of no help to an actor. The main point of the post was that casting directors were not out there, hiring actors off of websites.
And no one was looking for actors’ websites, in hopes of finding the “next big thing.”
There are two false assumptions here.
One, that casting directors hire actors – they don’t. (Producers hire actors. Casting folks are the personnel office.)
And two, that the whole idea of a website is that people will look for it.
If you approach this website business with the idea that, “if you build it, they will come” – you will be sorely disappointed in your results. Doing that is like putting a bumper sticker on a car in Oslo, Norway and hoping that a big important director will eventually see it.
A website is nothing more than an electronic brochure. It gives you “space” to promote the benefits of your product – trying to land a contract for your services.
Once you realize that your website is an opportunity to sell yourself – and you begin to use it to sell – you will start getting better results. It is worth doing your homework to learn how to sell with your website. There are lots of free guides about how to do that – out on the digital highway.
A FEW RULES …
1. Get your own domain name — HarrisonFord.com is much better than the free “HarrisonFordareallygoodactor/Yahoocommunities/Hollywood.net/hford.html (… and you should use your name instead of Harrison Ford, because that one
is already being used.)
Your own domain name is not expensive. It costs between 60 and 90 bucks a year to have space on a web server – and when you order from most companies, they will throw in the registration of your domain name for free. There are also places that sell domain names for as little as $4.95 a year (when you buy ten years – which isn’t a bad idea if you are planning to stick with one name during your career.)
2. Get professional help – there are thousands upon thousands of people who do web design. Get one of them to help you. Again, it’s not really expensive. I’ve seen designers who will do the basic job for under a hundred bucks. Try looking on google for one near you.
3. Don’t wait for people to find your site. Remember, this is an electronic brochure and like all brochures you have to “hand it out.” Put your web site address on your resume, on your cards, on your headshots, and heck, even a bumper sticker on a car in Calcutta – or NYC if that’s closer.
When you talk to casting directors, directors, other actors, etc., make mention of your website. Make it part of your schmooze. Think of your website as a ‘silent salesman’ who is at work 24/7/365 – selling you. BTW, that’s why it should be done professionally.
There’s no point in sending people to an amateur-ish site – it just makes you look, well…
– like an amateur.
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