On a scale of 1-10, how sticky are you feeling today? 1 would be PB&J sticky. 10 would be Super Glue sticky.
As an actor, you want to be at your stickiest when you’re at a callback for a national commercial, get introduced to a film director at an industry event, or meet a member of the media at a networking mixer. If you walked into an audition today where a casting director was seeing 200 people, would your audition get stuck in her mind? Or would it be completely forgettable?
Making ourselves stickier is possible with even a little bit of effort. The benefits of creating this longer-lasting impression can include more acting opportunities, better roles, higher pay and much more. First, you need to do the work and it goes beyond just trying to get your name out there.
10 Ways to Make Yourself Stickier
1. Change Your Name
I don’t mean switching completely to a stage name or changing Hershlag to Portman. The addition or subtraction of a middle initial, use of a middle name or using your given name instead of a nickname can work in your favor if it makes your name easier to remember.
2. Be Visible at Industry Mixers
Taking time to socialize with your colleagues is a great way for them to see you’re the kind of person they would be willing to spend a 10-hour day with on set. You handle yourself well, don’t demand to be the center of attention, and you have a good sense of humor. It doesn’t hurt to be the one to buy the next round of drinks either.
3. Actively Pursue Learning More
Every major city will have a variety of educational opportunities for an actor. Beyond acting workshops, think of yourself as a filmmaking student eager to better understand all aspects of the industry, from cinematography to distribution. Attend as many events as you can, especially the free ones.
4. Take Acting Workshops
If you can find one offered by a notable casting director in your area, jump on it. This gives the CD a chance to see more of your skills and get to know more about you as an actor and a person. Workshops offered by working actors and reputable teachers are also smart options. These are the same people who could one day recommend you for a role.
5. Actively Support a Project
Supporting our own projects is a given; supporting ones we’re not a part of stands out even more. Your support could come in spreading the word about a fundraiser, a casting, a need for a location or a screening.
6. Be Quick to Praise Others Who Deserve It
We tend to get caught up in our own journey but it’s important to recognize the successes of those around us. Sending a note of congrats or posting a comment on someone’s Facebook page is easy and takes only a minute or two.
7. Align Yourself with Successful People
This is a bit of “hitching your wagon to a star” but it helps to be associated with “sticky” people with reputations for doing good work consistently.
8. Fill a Gap in a Production
The role you take may not be the first one you wanted, but even working as a background actor fills a need for the production. As a new actor or one with only a few years of experience, the answer to the casting form question “willing to work as an extra?” should always be Yes.
9. Remember Everyone’s Name
When you meet a lot of people in different cities regularly, it’s challenging to remember so many names. Even connecting with someone on Facebook after the first meeting doesn’t guarantee you’ll remember a name. Taking the time to learn, or asking the person with the familiar face for her name again, is always helpful in helping them remember you.
10. Thank People Who Helped You
If someone mentions a casting you didn’t know about and you get booked on it, sending a Thank You note by mail or email is a suitable response. A step up, depending on your relationship and the importance of the gig, would be taking them to lunch. Remember the time people spend helping you in a highly competitive industry is a gift.