Attention Actors: Use Social Media to Your Advantage!

In March of 2012, I wrote a blog for Cast It Talent about using social media to your advantage. I felt it was important to do a Part Two of this entry, mainly because I just recently cast a pilot for a major network that was looking for me to find new comedy-talent. My days were spent combing Vine and YouTube and calling people in whom I had never met before to bring them to the Network executives for approval. Two of these people went on to be cast as Series Regulars!  Aside from having access to Cast it Talent showcases and searches, actors have a REAL advantage today that they did not have in the past: social media.

As most of us don’t have access to producers waiting to put our sketch ideas on TV, luckily, in the era of the internet, this is not the only avenue to having your talent discovered.  If you have an idea for a sketch, write a script, grab some friends and a camera (even phones will do!) and make it happen.  Casting directors love this new way of having access to a wealth of talent at their fingertips.  YouTube is available to any actor, regardless of their experience level.

The vast majority of videos on YouTube weren’t made in professional studios with elaborate sets and professional cameras.  Maybe a step up from your cell phone camera would be nice, but phones are so sophisticated now that you don’t have to rent professional equipment to make a perfectly fine YouTube video or Vine.  Please note: if a casting director Googles your name, make sure this video shows up in the results, and be sure to have your contact information current. This can be your direct link to the casting director without you even knowing it.

Since this is your sketch, it allows casting directors to get a glimpse of you as an actor–your personality, your sense of humor, etc.  This insight can help them identify roles you may be perfect for, even if that project is somewhere in the future.  Demo reels are perfect for showing off your range and versatility but it’s also important–crucial even–for casting directors to get to see the “real you”.

The internet is an especially great tool for beginning actors who may not have enough experience to put together a full-length demo reel.  Casting directors are not always willing to call in actors based purely on their headshot (no matter how wonderful it may be!), but even just a three-minute sketch can highlight your talent’s enough to pique someone’s interest even more.

When casting directors need unknown comedians, often they’ll turn to websites like  Funny or Die or College Humor in addition to scouring the comedy clubs and improv theaters.  The most important thing for an actor is just to get their talent out there for the world to see . . . and who knows?  You could just be the next YouTube sensation!  Some actors have managed to turn their online videos into their career, garnering huge amounts of subscribers and views. My recent experience proves this a viable option more than ever!

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Joanna Colbert began her career as a casting director in association with Juliet Taylor on Interview with a Vampire for which she conducted a nationwide search resulting in the discovery of Kirsten Dunst. Colbert then went on to work at Universal Pictures as the Manager of Casting and then Senior Vice President of Casting, overseeing such blockbusters as The Mummy series, American Pie, Meet the Parents, and Bruce Almighty. She formed Joanna Colbert Casting in 2001 and Colbert/Mento Casting in 2006. Her credits include: No Strings Attached, the Step-Up series, Cedar Rapids, The Mummy, Everything Must Go, Hollywoodland and The Good Girl. Colbert is currently producing several projects, including a documentary about casting and its influence on film titled Casting By, a feature film titled Atticus Run, The Black Version tv series and Kate McClafferty’s blog, 356 til 30.