Is your actor website doing you more harm than good?
Your own actor website can be an incredible marketing tool that should help get you noticed and hopefully bring you more auditions and lots of work. On the other hand, your site may put agents and casting directors off if it’s a shoddy, out of date, one page web page that’s difficult to load. Some actor websites do more harm than good mainly because they are not properly formatted properly or don’t contain the adequate information.
Some actors think that they don’t need a website because their agents will do all the promotional work on their behalf. But these actors are missing a trick. An actor’s website can be a very useful hub of information about that particular performer, that even an agent can’t put across in a single email or telephone call. It could be the key to clinching that audition or even the role.
Actor Design have put together a useful checklist that should help any actor who maybe considering getting themselves a professional website.
Your website must look professional
Too many actors create websites that actually work against them. Some actor websites contain either too little or too much information. Your website needs to look professional and be easy to navigate. You also need to display all your vital information clearly and efficiently. Invest in a company to design you a good, sleek and simple website that will show you off in your best light. This investment will actually pay off and promote you as a professional committed actor who is serious about their craft. Actor Design is a good choice because the company is actually run by IT trained actors who know the industry from all angles! One golden rule is that a ‘professional website’ equals a ‘professional actor’. First impressions mean a lot in this particular competitive industry.
Don’t over do it! Keep it simple!
A performers website doesn’t need fancy effects. It’s very tempting to create a website that will to grab the attention of a browser by including hi tech ‘bells and whistles’, vivid rainbow pages and neon colour schemes. These effects are a big ‘no no’ as are music loop reels and flashing GIF backgrounds. They WILL get you noticed, but for the wrong reasons and will only make the browser press the delete button. Keep your site simple, sleek and easy on the eye. Industry professionals can sometimes sit at a computer screen for long periods and won’t appreciate a jarring website that tires their eyes. Use a simple colour scheme too. Usually a three to four colour scheme combination is required not to mention a good readable clear font. Have a browse on the internet and look at all the various actor websites out there, noting what you like and what you don’t. All the good website design companies will advise you on colour schemes and any design queries that you may have.
Your website should contain a showreel
Most casting directors will not offer an actor an audition if they don’t have a showreel or clips of their screen work on their website. Our sister-site Actor Clip
is really great value and can clip any work you have into a professional short titled clip which is great for casting directors. I have never known any casting professional to sit through an actor’s whole showreel. So make sure your website showreel and clips are up to date and easy to view. Does the reel load quickly? Does it even load at all? The ‘Flash’ format is always a winner, it’s quick to load, looks good and very universal. A good tip is to then watch and test your showreel on various different computers by asking your friends to check it for you. Some actors upload a showreel to Youtube and link to that. If you don’t happen to have a show reel, no fear, start building up your filming experience, even one Actor Clip
can make ALL the difference. Don’t be tempted to make your own showreel of monologue clips and film them at home as it will look very unprofessional. In addition to your showreel, include any voice over work clips on the same page using a good web audio player.
Your website must contain your headshots
Before thinking about getting an actor website, make sure you have recent professional headshots taken. These headshots act like an actors business card and get you through the first part of any casting process. When you attend any standard audition, chances are the casting directors have only seen one of your headshots. Creating an actor website is an added bonus because you can display a varied amount of headshots plus any theatre and film production stills of your work. It’s usually a good idea to seperate your headshots from your production stills and displaying them in easy to navigate thumbnail galleries. Make sure your photos have clear titles, descriptions and credit the photographer whenever possible
Your website must contain a CV
Make sure your website CV is always up to date. Sometimes it’s even easy to forget about your Spotlight page so always make sure you keep it up to date at all times. It’s essential to include a copy of your CV on your website and also to link to your Spotlight CV if you have one. The Spotlight CV is professional and easy to print, so make sure a casting agent can link to it easily. It’s best to make sure your CV downloads in either HTML or PDF formats.
Personalise your website
It’s always a good idea to personalise your site by including an ‘About Me’ page. It’s an opportunity to describe yourself in an honest, cheery and personable way. Think of it like a theatre programme biography, where the reader can find out about you, your background and how you came into acting. Include your training, experiences and any acting highlights which may include TV appearances, press releases or even awards. Sometimes agents and casting directors may not have time to read these pages, but it’s always there if they want to return to your site and find out more about you.
Include a ‘News’ page
If you happen to be quite a busy actor it’s a good idea to include a ‘news’ or ‘blog’ page so people can keep up to date with what you have been doing. A casting director may keep checking your site regularly if they happen to be interested in you, so always keep them in the loop with what’s been going on. Again, this sort of page makes your website more personable and friendly. Don’t forget you can also include any links to prestigious projects you have been working on. Don’t let your experience with the RSC go unnoticed!
Your website must contain a contact page
Make sure you, or more importantly, your agent can be contacted via your website. Include as many agent contact details as possible such as email addresses and telephone numbers. It would be a good idea to include your own details too just in case industry professionals want to contact you directly.
Is your actor website easy to find?
Any actor serious about their profession should have a website. And there are thousands and thousands of actor websites out there. Some good and some bad. You will need to constantly promote your website on a regular basis and don’t expect any agents or casting directors to come across it randomly. One myth is that agents and directors trawl through actor websites on a daily basis and will one day come across yours and offer you work. The truth is that you must always keep your website up to date and be constantly sending out the link in your emails, letters and even on social network sites. Include the link on any business cards, CV’s and letters that you mail out. Another important tip is to create a website with your own domain name. Even if you have a common name like John Smith, you can always create ‘johnsmithactor.com’ or ‘jon_smith.com’. Also make sure you keep up to date with any website hosting fees, the last thing you want is for your website to be ‘unavailable’ when that top Hollywood casting agent clicks on your link.
Brand yourself well!
A professional looking website will leave a good and positive impression to any browser. Stay ahead of your competition and create a brand for yourself that will always get you noticed for the right reasons. A website is a good investment to any actors career. Who knows, you may end up having to create a seperate ‘fan website’ when you become famous and hit the big time!
We will repeat the golden rule once again: ‘a professional website = a professional actor’.