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There’s no question social media is a huge asset for actors who want to market themselves and network with peers. At the same time, we see evidence regularly of people compelled to say too much too quickly. While it seems like having something to say about our acting careers is always helpful, there are many situations where stating the facts can actually do more harm than good.
I came up with a list of potential social media content, the problems each example can cause, and the way to avoid the issue completely. As a newer actor, getting acquainted early with these pitfalls of marketing yourself may help you stay in the good graces of agents, casting directors, and other industry peers at the critical time when your career is just beginning.
7 Social Media Mistakes…and How to Avoid Them
1. Telling everyone what you’re submitting for
- As an actor, you will self-submit for a lot of roles and be submitted by an agent for many more most likely. The general public doesn’t need to know about any of them since it’s merely a submission, and using a big name film you submitted for doesn’t make you more legitimate as an actor.
- Instead, privately make a submission list and track the results of which ones you get called in to audition for.
2. Telling everyone what you’re auditioning for
- Treat this the same as submissions. Confidentiality is an important part of this business and as you grow more successful, you will be invited to audition for projects that will demand it even before you record the audition.
- Again, track your auditions by making a list of who you saw, what you wore, and any important notes about the experience.
3. Telling everyone what you booked before it shoots
- This is a tricky one. We are compelled to publicize the roles we book once we get the news. It’s not a bad thing to feel that sense of enthusiasm, but it comes with a risk. The project may fall apart before it shoots due to lack of funds, for example. You could be replaced. Your role could be eliminated.
- If waiting until the shoot seems impossible, and that is understandable, at least wait until the contract is signed or any other relevant paperwork is finished. Then, you are officially attached to the project and can begin promoting it regardless of whether it ultimately happens or not.
4. Sharing photos in real-time when on set
- Instantly sharing evidence is appealing because it shows where we are in this moment. It makes us look busy and important, right? But the downside is, we may be revealing information about a project or presenting the project in an unflattering way to the public.
- Any content you shoot as an actor, whether it’s a commercial, film, TV show, or corporate video, is part of a brand. Before rushing to post a photo, make sure you have permission to do so first and be mindful that your content will contribute to the overall impression people have of the project, the client, the production company, etc.
5. Sharing proprietary content in public
- This relates a bit to #4 but goes beyond photos to include any information that is not intended for public consumption. For example, you worked on a a company’s video made for an internal audience and the client sent you a copy of that video for use in your demo reel. Posting it online for a public audience to see would be a mistake.
- Treat content created by others as “top secret” and avoid sharing anything in public that was intended for a private or exclusive group.
6. Falsely selling a project you’re involved in
- When communicating about a project you’re working on as an actor, it’s important to note the language used by the creators/producers may differ from what’s sensible for you to use. For example, the producer says the project is intended as a pilot or as pitch material for a specific network. You’re not part of those conversations and may not have verification that such a relationship between producer-network exists. The network name may be used to add perceived value to the project without the necessary merit and production quality included.
- Avoid any mention that the project you’re attached to or working on is set for a specific network.
7. Falsely selling the significance of your role
- This seems to happen on occasion when an actor working background is on set with an A-lister. You may see that actor mention how they were “working with” the A-lister when they were merely in the same scene and had no lines. It’s a blatant misrepresentation of the role of an extra. Even featured extras, who may get to interact with the leads, are not full roles but someone somewhere today may mislead you with a post that suggests otherwise.
- Allow your career to grow by respecting each accomplishment and achievement. Save the “I am working with” post for the time when you worked hard on the audition, earned the callback, and got cast in a role that put you opposite the A-lister in one or more scenes.
As someone who has been acting for more than 10 years, I have made all of these mistakes. I made some of them more than once. But I discovered rushing to promote myself to raise my value was never more effective than setting my value high early and then acting accordingly. I hope you learn to do the same—without making the mistakes first.