Why Actors Shouldn’t Trust E-mail

March 27, 2013 at 9:31 am | Posted in acting, actors, Submission Guidelines | Leave a comment
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Paul Russell

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Actors have lost auditions and jobs due to e-mail.

On recent Paul Russell Casting projects I deliberately engaged in a digital experiment. My office, when reaching out to unrepresented actors, sought electronic submissions only. The result? Devastating for the techno-addicted thespians.

What happened? Some startling surprises:

  1. Actor e-mail submissions dumped into the PRC spam folder

How & why?

The algorithms of PRC’s public e-mail address server tossed—as junk—numerous incoming e-mails by the hundreds which contained the project’s
title and/or role(s) sought. Yahoo (which my office has abandoned) Where Casting Submissions Go To Die_SPAMprograms its server to divert multiple incoming inquiries in which the text of each e-mail contains repeated words and/or phrases shared by more than one e-mail. Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, AOL and other public e-mail servers also divert e-mails from unknown senders which contain large attachments. And so, the actors I actively sought were banished to spam.

Only because of my interest in this digital experiment was I aware of what was happening. Another casting director (or a talent rep.) would have deleted with a single mouse click the long digital list of actors unjustly intermingled into the spam with the ads for sex aides and phishing scams.

  1. Audition appointments never received by actors

This was the more shocking…

My office replied to a number of unrepresented actors to offer audition appointments. Too many of the audition appointments sent to actors utilizing various e-mail servers (the most popular among actors being Gmail), were diverted into actors’ spam folders. A director’s request for an actress could not sway Yahoo from swiping away the young thespian’s audition appointment into a spam folder. The actress had only discovered the appointment (and my office’s multiple follow-up inquiries) in her spam folder after her audition day came and went.

Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail and AOL have also tossed e-mails from my office to recipients with whom I’ve had past electronic correspondence because the e-mails sent to associates contained identical text in each e-mail: “audition,” “appointment,” “call-back,” and alike. These e-mails were not mass marketing materials. I was corresponding with requested information.

Why does this happen more than previously noticed? E-mail delivery is at the unmerciful whim of Silicon Valley techno-geek programmers who set algorithms deciding for you the delivery priority of your digital communications to your targets. E-mail platforms are becoming more stringent as to what and who can contact you. Overzealous algorithms now block desired dialogue; lumping your e-mails for seeking work with erectile dysfunction medication pitches.

Lesson?

You get what you pay for. ‘Free’ e-mail does not equal assured delivery. Alternative or communication subsidiary? The U.S.P.S. delivers to a brick and mortar mailbox never to a spam folder.

My office returned to actively seeking land mail submissions and calling out appointments via the phone. Too many actor have ignored land mail as an additional tool in their outreach. Some shortsighted actors whine that sending land mail takes too much time, effort, plus a dollar and spare change. To which I answer, you will receive in return what you pay for, which more than likely will be nothing.

Don’t forgo older technology in order to save miniscule cha-ching.

Regular readers of my online posts will recall what three talent agents and two casting directors recently asserted in an Answers for Actors post of how actors were placing themselves into obscurity in order to save a few AMYIB_PilotSns_PqRhdollars with their marketing investment. Successful businesses (actors are each an individual business) know that to reach their target consumer (casting and/or talent representation) multiple outreach platforms must be engaged.

As the owner of your business which is you; don’t rely on e-mail as your only outreach to your consumers. Diversify to multiply opportunity.

My best,
Paul

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Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned nearly thirty years. He has worked on projects for major film studios, television networks, and Broadway. Paul has taught the business of acting and audition technique at NYU and has spoken at universities including Yale, Temple and the University of the Arts. He is the author of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor. For more information, please visit www.PaulRussell.net.

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