Friday, 20 April 2012

TASK 3A - Current Networks

I am a huge fan of social and professional networking sites, I am part of a large amount of different sites, all of which many of my friends, relatives and colleagues are also on.
Facebook – I mainly use Facebook for domestic use. However, as it is such a huge site, I have also created a professional account. This has pictures of my headshots and information about me and the work I have done. I use this to add relevant people within the business and it's good because they often put up things that interest me about auditions or classes that are going on.
Twitter – Twitter is the new up and coming site. I use my professional Twitter way more than my professional Facebook. This is because it is so much quicker to read and understand. You can follow people with out having to get them to accept the request. And again people constantly put up information about jobs and classes or just their opinion on a show or television program. I love messaging people on Twitter as it is very casual and it then also becomes a topic of conversation, 'Yes! I Tweeted you!' I went to the Surviving Actors open day, to mingle and meet lots of people and someone that worked for Spolight recognised me from my headshot that they had seen on Twitter. That is what it is all about. People remembering you.
Casting call pro – Casting call pro allows you to put up a profile with the work you have done and all your vital statistics. You can also apply for jobs and they give you loads of information on relevant things. There are web chats where people can blog about something they are concerned about and anyone can reply, helping them with the subject. It also shows you who has viewed your profile too. Which is great because I then jump on Twitter and contact them personally. 'Thank you for viewing my profile. I'd love to chat about any of the work that you do etc.' However, nothing is ever free, one should try to utilise it as much as possible to get the most out of your money.
Equity – Equity can help you in any bad situation that arrises. They also now send you emails about jobs that you can apply for.
Spotlight – Spotlight is very similar to Casting Call Pro, however this site is the one most used within the industry. Your Spotlight page can easily be printed off, or linked on an emailed. It is very clear with your details, headshot and resume all set out nicely. Spotlight not only emails you jobs but also articles that they think you would be interested in reading. Again, this is another thing that you have to pay for just because it's the right thing to do.
Emails- At the bottom of my emails I have set up a personalised signature. This goes as follows:
My name: Blake Curtis-Woodcock;
My profession: Actress, Dancer, Singer;
I then have my agents details;
A link to my Spotlight page;
A link to my professional Facebook;
and my Twitter name.
This makes it very easy for me to put in all my information without shoving it in someones face. If only one in every fifteen people look at any of the links that I have attached. That is one more than it would have been, had it not been there.
Another great networking tool is actually going out and meeting people face to face, whether this is going into someones office and waiting around until they have a free five minutes to chat to you. Or there are many networking evenings going on all the time. The hardest part is getting invited to them. I have been lucky enough to have been invited to a couple of these on a whim. They basically needed a few more girls walking around the place, so I jumped at the opportunity. They are club evenings where people chat and drink and have a good time. But being in a club is the best time for me to be business minded. Because you are able to make a good impression on someone and with the drinks flowing, it's all very casual. You can have a laugh and a joke with someone that you wouldn't be able to have in a board room. Being able to weenie yourself in this way could be a huge advantage. Remember: It's not what you know, it's who you know.

The reason people use these networking tools is simple:
To contact people;
To show what they have done;
To show your face;
To be remembered.

Celebrities having their own websites, telling fans when they are going to be somewhere, such as a book signing or gig. Even sections for buying merchandise. This creates revenue, and is also a free advertising method. Seeing someone with a Steps T-shirt on will make you think of the pop group. That is the most important thing, because if people don't hear about something for a long time they forget about it. However, now that I have mentioned this band you will notice things to do with the band, which you wouldn't have batted an eyelid at before. This is the brain working subconsciously. This is the best form of advertisement.

Years ago, you could not work as a professional actor with out an Equity Card. Macleod, Joseph Todd Gordon Today, called it, the actors right to act. Equity is a union that looks after actors, almost like an insurance policy. Many employers would not even look at your resume until you had acquired an Equity Card. Today however, it is not vital to have an equity card to work as an actor. But people still continue to pay a minimum of about £100 a year to be part of the union. Why is this? People still want to be a part of equity, not only for all the good it does for actors but because it's a highly recognised symbol of being a serious actor.
Having an equity card is an extra thing you can tell people to impress them. 'Yes I am part of Equity,' is always better than, 'no I am not.'

My ideal network, would be set out like a Facebook account. With different tabs for showing, the work you have done. Then being able to click on the individual job and a list of pictures, video's, comments you have made on these would come up.
There would be a video section where you could upload a showreel, but also little home made videos of dances or just you singing to the camera at home. It would be a very casual site where there would be different friends you could add, and put them into sections, Casting Directors, Actors, Film makers. You would be able to follow them as you do on Twitter, rather than having to send a request.
There would be people blogging about what is going on where, sections for reviews, for advertising dance classes and even a jobs section. To send off to be put up for roles. And a privet message section to anyone that accepts you as a privet message contact.
All this would be done as a website, however mobile sites would also be created so that it is easily accessible on the move.

To create this network you would need a team of computer specialists to create the website, but once it has been created you need people there at all times to stop it from crashing. You need a huge amount of money as paying people to work twenty four hours a day costs a lot of money. To generate this money you would need advertisement. But before all this, you need customers, there is no way that any of this would work without a huge network of people. People are like sheep when it comes to new things. I recently joined a new site called Branched Out. I did this because everyone else did. However I spent five minutes looking at it, realised I didn't understand what was going on and left the page. I haven't returned since. It is all well and good people joining, but many of these sites are a one hit wander. Not only do you need to take the horse to water, you need to make sure it drinks.

Although I try to use my networking sites as much as I can to get value of money, They are constantly changing and being developed. So there are always new ways that I can contact people with better information on myself. I still don't know how to use Equity and Spotlight as well as I could. I have worked out how to get auditions with my casting type sent to my email address. But I know there are more things on the site that I need to delve into more deeply. I have been very lucky and not yet had a chance to be an out of work actor. But I know as soon as that time comes I will have to learn very quickly to make getting the next job as easy and efficient as the last.

References – Via Google Scholar


  1. Hi Blake. After starting this BAPP course and gaining understanding of the importance of professional networking (maintaing a professional manner/impression on social networking sites)I also created a new professional Facebook account. Having read your blog you have inspired me to set up a Twitter account. (Details to follow on the news feedo you have any advice for using twitter? I always thought it was for the rich and famous :)

    Perhaps a tool for discovering how to get the most out of Equity and Spotlight could be to Google it?


  2. feedo = feed. Do you have any advice on using Twitter? Thank you :)

  3. All I can say is that you need to get into it! It will be hard at first, but just like commenting on peoples blogs as soon as you understand what you are meant to be saying and doing it is a doddle!
    Follow as many contacts as you can in your chosen field. Type in key words to help you find the correct people and then tweet them every so often. Just to find out what is going on. You could always start by following my professional account! @blakecw92 xx