The headshot (an 8 x 10 photograph of an actor), cover letter (a brief letter introducing an actor) and résumé (a listing of training and experience in the performing arts) are the traditional tools that actors use to market themselves. Actors send them to casting directors, talent agents and other industry professionals in an effort to obtain work and representation. But these tools are not the only tools at an actor’s disposal. Sophisticated actors know that there are many other tools an actor can use to get his face, name and talents in front of decision-makers. Sophisticated actors use an array of postcards, business cards, thank-you notes, greeting cards, and performance invitations to sell themselves to directors, producers and agents.
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Postcards, small and inexpensive pieces of mailing, are a great way for actors to keep in touch with casting directors. Postcards can also be sent as thank-you notes. Actors can put their headshots and contact information on these postcards. Later, if a casting director is auditioning actors for an upcoming movie, the postcard may help the actor gain consideration for an audition.
Actors can use their headshots to produce business cards. An actor’s business card is similar to a traditional business card, except that an actor’s business card will contain the actor’s headshot and contact information (or the contact information of his or her agency). Actors can use their business cards to market themselves. Instead of carrying around a bunch of 8×10 headshots, actors can carry their business cards in their wallets and pocketbooks. They can then pass out these business cards to network with industry professionals or other actors.
A thank-you note is a note of thanks that an actor sends to a casting director, perhaps thanking him for the opportunity to audition. Actors usually send thank-you notes in the form of a postcard. The postcard contains the actor’s headshot and contact information (or his agent’s contact information). Thank you notes are a great way for an actor to establish a relationship with a casting director, increasing the actor’s chances of getting more auditions and future consideration for acting roles.
Greeting cards are tools that sophisticated actors use to maintain relationships with casting directors and other decision-makers. When important holidays come around, such as Christmas or Thanksgiving, an actor can send a greeting card. The greeting card might contain a “happy holiday” message along with a more personal message, such as “Thanks for giving me the chance to audition last month”. It’s a great way to use the holidays as an excuse to contact decision-makers without being a pest about it.
When an actor is performing in a play or film, it may be a good idea to let directors and producers know about it. This way, the actor essentially gets a “free” audition, using that performance as a way to get directors and producers interested in the actor. Therefore, the actor might send an invitation to decision-makers, identifying when and where a performance might take place.
To be sure, traditional forms of marketing are always the most effective way for an actor to get noticed. But sophisticated actors know that you must use every available resource—greeting cards, thank-you notes, business cards, postcards, invitations—and other tools to give yourself that extra edge.