Do you need an actor website? No. You do not. There are plenty of actors out there getting work without having a website. But you might decide you want one because a website can be a really useful tool as part of your self-marketing.
For me, the moment I decided I wanted a website was when I realised that I wanted to take more control over my career as an actor, and help people understand how best to cast me—so that I could go after more of the types of roles that I wanted to play.
It took me a long time to realise that as an actor I am essentially running a business, and the product I am selling is myself. For me, this lightbulb moment came while reading Bonnie Gillespie’s book “Self Management For Actors”. This might be the best advice you’ll ever receive as an actor; if you haven’t read the book, read it!
Reading Bonnie’s book, I realised I was floating along: hoping my agent would find me work; hoping people would ask me to be in their plays; hoping that the phone would ring. But, in reality, I had no idea how to work toward making any of these things happen.
After reading the book I knew that I needed to take control of my career, and part of that was developing a website that would communicate my brand to the people who are in a position to cast me.
Your actor website can be an important and useful marketing tool for your career. It showcases who you are as an artist and as a unique individual to casting directors, agents, and industry professionals. It’s an opportunity to connect and network with people who might not know you or your work.ActingStudioChicago.com
You are in business
I know some actors don’t like to think in business terms, they prefer to keep their minds firmly in the artistic side, but I find that separating the art of performance from the business of landing roles is a useful device for me. It helps me focus on how to actually make a living from what I do.
As an actor, YOU are the product and you are in the sales team to sell yourself. It’s the reality of the entertainment business.ActingInLondon.co.uk
Many actors shy away from this, thinking that it diminishes their “artistic” presence, but it’s simply not true. Acting has been over-romanticized, but as someone who’s just starting, there’s almost no chance for you to become a working actor if you will not work on marketing and promoting yourself.
Your brand is how people feel about you
So if we are to work at marketing and promoting ourselves, how do we do this effectively? It helps to understand your brand and then work at strengthening it through your deeds and materials.
So what is a brand exactly?
Your “brand” is what your prospect thinks of when he or she hears your brand name. It’s everything the public thinks it knows about your name brand offering—both factual, and emotional.Forbes
Your brand is what people feel about you. It’s the culmination of all you do and say publicly: the images you put out, the roles you play, what people know of how you are to work with—everything. When someone hears your name, what sense of you comes to mind?
As LA-based casting director Bonnie Gillespie says, “you are building your brand daily either by design or by default—get purposeful.”
Your website can help craft your brand
Your website can help shape how people think of you, particularly the people who are coming into contact with you for the first time. You want someone who Googles your name for the first time to land on your website where you are in full control of what they see and where you can give them an indication of how to feel about you.
Potential employers and colleagues WILL google you, so it makes good business sense to have a professional website that shows up when they search and represents you with the content you want them to see, along with an easy way to get in contact.Amy Russ – Backstage.com
For people who are new to you, it gives them a shortcut into how you want to be perceived. Over time, everything they know about you will feed into how they feel about you. So if you have an authentic brand, everything you say and do will feed into your brand. This means that your website will confirm the perception that people already have of you.
Choose images that best represent how you want to be seen, and therefore how you want people to cast you. Spend time crafting a biography that gives people the right feeling about you. Edit your showreel to show clips that illustrate how best to cast you.
As a producer, the impact of casting those with a personal brand and influence is getting more and more common. […] An actor website should be a living-digital resume for your work and a place to highlight all the reasons why we should cast you. It’s a powerful way to collect useful information such as headshots, resume, press, photos, acting reels, etc.Ben Bailey – TheatreNerds.com
A simple and practical tool
It probably goes without saying, but there is a simple, practical benefit to having a website which is that you have a single point of reference for all your materials.
To make it as a professional actor you need more than just acting ability, you also need to know how to promote yourself effectively. These days, an acting website is one of the most essential ways to market yourself as it allows you to put all of your promotional material in one easily accessible place that you can simply point new contacts towards.
It’s never been easier to have a website
What’s great for actors right now is that it’s never been easier to have a great website. In fact there are so many options it can be overwhelming to figure out the best way to have a website.
Three popular solutions are:
- Build it yourself on a website builder
- Learn to develop a site in WordPress
- Hire a professional designer
MySite.Actor gives you the best of all worlds by offering a WordPress solution that has been designed by a professional designer, with a website builder built in as well so you can edit your website if you like.
Your actor website does not need to be fancy, a casting director won’t be impressed with jumping fonts and animations. But they will be impressed if your website is simple, clean, modern, and easy to navigate.
You don’t need a website, but…
If you Google “do I need an actor website” you will find every possible answer, including:
- yes, you need one
- no, you don’t
- you need one at a certain point in your career
- you need one but you should make a free one yourself
- you need one but you should pay a professional or it will reflect badly on you
- you don’t need one but you need an online presence
Whether you need one or not is ultimately a personal choice, based on how you intend to market yourself. Casting director Bonnie Gillespie says “you don’t have to have a website, but you have to be google-able.”
Casting director Amy Jo Berman is a little more pro-website in that she also says you don’t need one, but should have one:
Do actors really need a website? According to casting director and social media consultant Amy Jo Berman, the answer is no; actors do not need their own website to achieve their career goals. However, she firmly believes actors should have one. […] She encourages talent to take control of exactly what casting professionals see of them online.
“You want them to click on your website link, and go where you want them to go, and see what you want them to see in the order you want them to see it. So that they can take in the branded message you’ve carefully crafted on your website”
So no, you don’t need a website, but it can be a useful tool to help promote yourself and strengthen your brand as part of your overall marketing efforts.
It’s never been easier to have a website, so if you are interested in taking control of your career and examining ways to promote yourself as an actor it might be time to get yourself a website.