How do you keep promoting work that’s finished?
When the show is “running”, it’s super easy to post about it — after all, you have new content to promote every single week. But all good things come to an end and, at some point, you’re going to want to wrap it up. By the time you’re finished, you’re probably pretty drained anyway — on top of creating your masterpiece, you’ve also spent so much time and energy on social media.
So first up — do you even bother continuing to post? Sure. But you can relax the schedule. You have a finished product now and that’s going to be more appealing to different people than the ones you attracted first. Some people like binging. Something I did for Classic Alice when we were totally done was I recut the entire series to be easily bingeable: I squashed episodes together, redid the title sequences, and uploaded it all to Amazon.
You can also take your project onto different platforms. With Classic Alice, we ran originally on YouTube then moved the entire show to Amazon/Amazon Prime, which (at the time) was offering a pretty juicy payment for us. You can move to Vimeo or Funny or Die or wherever — just make it an Event! around which you can push your social media content.
After a while, though, there’s nowhere new to go and you just have a completed show on your hands. I think it’s fine at that point to slow down your social hollering and share photos or tidbits once in a while — special days, when you’re feeling nostalgic… It just becomes a more natural part of your social media calendar.
And there is still value, once in a while, in looking around for existing conversations/threads and sharing your show specifically with people who might like it, or letting Reddit leaders know about your show, or any of the other tactics you originally used: it just shouldn’t be your main drive anymore because, I hope, you’ve moved on to other shows and still have so much more story to tell the world!
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What are some things you wish more casting directors would do for actors?
Most experienced casting directors know and do all of these things already and it’s a big, big red flag that a production isn’t going to be super professional if I get a breakdown or sides that have the following issues. But I’ll share them because …it’s happened!
Please, please, PLEASE do not give us scenes that are impossible to do in an audition setting. I’ve had scenes with complicated blocking, sexy-times, MONOLOGUES for the other character, and other weird roadblocks that are just a huge pain in the ass to try to figure out how to act around. It’s more than obnoxious, it hinders my performance.
Mark up the scripts if you want us to start or stop somewhere. It should say START, END, and you should cross out anything that you don’t want us to do in the audition. The scene should NOT skip like three pages; at that point, you’d be better off getting a different scene for us. Think about all the page turning we’ll have to do on camera and how distracting that is for everyone!
NEVER, EVER give actors a choice. Just tell us what scenes you want to do. I hate it when casting gives us four scenes and says “pick two!” No. Just tell me what work you want to see.
Likewise, figure out what you want us to work on BEFORE YOU SEND THE SCRIPTS & SIDES. Don’t tell me to prepare three scenes “but we’ll probably only do one! 😀 :D” It takes HOURS to work on a scene and fill up a character and her world; if you want me to learn nine pages, great! That’s fine. I’ll do it. But don’t ask me to do all this work and then dismiss it on the day. Can you imagine putting in days of preparation and having your boss just shrug it off and not use it? Not even look at it? That sucks.
I know that for The Long Dig, Tom & I felt that we didn’t have a scene for any of our auditioning actors that was full and gave them depth, range, and adequate time; the actual movie is pretty sparse. So instead of slicing & dicing in a weird way to compose audition sides, we actually took the time to write full scenes for Laren, Ioseph, and Seamus. It gave the actors something more to chew on and gave us a way to watch for performance. If your sides don’t give the actors that benefit, consider asking the writer for a better audition scene… especially if you’re trying to cast a lead.
Casting directors generally do know this but every once in a while … we’re not robots. We aren’t mind readers. We’re also not idiots. We audition for hundreds of offices; if you like something done a certain way, just tell us. We don’t need to be scolded about anything.
Like I said though: most casting is great! Everyone I’ve met who is working at the indie/TV/film level knows ALL of this and is rooting so hard for me (and all actors!) that they stack the deck for us to win. That’s all we need — you in our corner.
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How do you meet people with money or influence or power in the industry ? Everyone I know is broke and everyone I meet at networking events and parties is at my same level. I feel like I can’t move past the stair level I’m on right now no matter how many events I attend or how many classes I try to take. – Rayne
I think this is a really good question that we don’t ask enough because it feels a little skeezy to ask. All the more reason to get some straight talk! And the answer here is:
You (probably) don’t meet people with more influence. You meet people where you are and you work with them. You offer your collaboration and expertise and do the work. Someone in that group will get staffed on a show. Someone will win an indie film fest award. Someone will book a huge editing job and need an assistant. Someone…
You get the idea. Build your tribe. Work hard, work smart, and be kind; those people will remember you and will reach out to you as they (and you) move up these stair levels.
Don’t worry about meeting the “right” people because that’s an absolutely impossible battle. You will never position yourself correctly to meet everyone you think is “right”. Also… you never know who is right. You never know who will blow up. So I think it’s a much better return on your time to simply find who you like, cultivate those relationships, and continue to do good work.
I personally find no value in “networking events”. There are way too many people all trying to make better contacts and that’s not the kind of relationship I find sustainable in this industry; I want to meet people I love working with. Think about it: you’re on set for 16, 18 hours a day. Who do you want with you in those trenches? Someone you enjoy or someone you think can propel your career? For me, 100%, it’s the former; if nothing else, because people are way more interested in THEIR careers than yours.
So to sum up: don’t worry about your stair level. Keep doing good work, keep asking questions, and you will move forward.
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