Email marketing by actors is fraught with career-hobbling traps. Convenience and speed lull actors in to a false sense of accomplishment in their marketing outreach to entertainment professionals who hire or represent actors. The following email blunders are the most often used career-stopping snares by which actors maim opportunities.
Actors forwarding their prior sent email(s) to industry by sending as ‘new’ old correspondence to other industry contacts advertises that the actor is lazy.
Recipients see in an email’s subject the abbreviation ‘FWD.’ When a FWD recipient sees the abbreviation a red flag is signaled that the sending actor is complacent, and sloppy with their marketing which further translates into an image that the actor is likely just as much an unprepared sloth regarding their acting skills.
Actors who wish that consideration of their career be taken seriously as a professional must approach each professional as an individual—not as a check-mark accomplished in the actor’s marketing whoredom.
2. Email Addresses that are Tinder or Grndr Bound
How serious of casting or representation consideration of an actor is an entertainment gatekeeper to pursue when an inquiring actor has an email address beginning with ‘SexyStarr@,’ ‘MyOscarAwaits@,’ or similar correspondence handles? About as seriously as an actor shouldn’t consider a director, agent, or casting director if any of those acting job enablers has an email address that is MakeYouFamous@hotmail.com.
An actor’s email address is a reflection of their professionalism. An actor’s work email address is to begin with a derivation of the actor’s name, followed by the email carrier that the actor utilizes.
3. Dear Mr./Mrs. as Greetings
I’ll never be a Mrs. or a Mr. (my testicles don’t respond to either greeting).
As unprofessional and crass is my prior commentary so too are generic openers. If an actor wishes to be treated as an individual, then the actor must give the same desired respect to all entertainment professionals encountered.
We are given names—identities. We are not pronouns but nouns. An actor sending an email blast to 10 or 10,000 individuals may either copy-n-paste the body of the email into each individual message, and then manually type in the recipient’s name. Or, the actor could save time and hours of tedium by learning what is a database and how a ‘field’ inserts an individual’s name or other content into a mass email blast.
4. Begin with Positive not Negative
From a recent actor’s email:
“As a casting director you may literally go through thousand [SIC] of cover letters and resume [SIC] every day,”
First impression upon reading the actor’s opener is, “This isn’t going to go well for the actor.” And I’m correct. The remainder of the opening sentence in the email continues:
“…and most of the time you wind most of these letters in the trash can.”
The email is on a laptop screen, not on paper in my hand.
Plus, there seems to be a verb or two missing in the statement. Or maybe the writer envisions that like a clock’s cogs I wind trashed paper counterclockwise in my trashcan. Or possibly I pass wind on letters in my trashcan.
What an actor writes—and how—presents a perceived value by the reader on the actor’s acting skills. The actor mistakenly continues…
“I would like to tell you unlike most of the stars, I have taken this career seriously. I have converted this profession into my work ethic.”
5. Incorrect Capitalization
From an actor’s email to casting:
“Being a Film Actor who has been an Actor for many years I know your office to be the best Casting Office with many Casting Directors who work on Stage and Screen Projects. My Acting Training is extensive at many Performing Arts Schools…”
If you cannot detect the 15 capitalization errors in the prior sentences, get thee to an unpretentious ghostwriter to write your correspondence.
6. Attaching (multiple) Headshots, Resume(s), or Reel(s)
An actor’s resume is to be placed within the body of an email (See here).
Attachments slow the incoming email program of your target, which in turn doesn’t endear the actor to the entertainment professional.
Attachments also signal to email providers that an incoming email with a single or multiple attachments is potentially SPAM.
Attachments are also suspect. A large percentage of people using email will not open attachments from an unknown sender.
Include, along with your formatted resume in the email body, a thumbnail of one headshot. Also include a link to your website.
7. Using Vocabulary that Doesn’t Match Your Speaking Voice
8. Using lots of Vocabulary to Say Nothing of Substance
9. Not Having a Proof Reader
10. Telling the Reader You’re Serious About being an Actor
In the following excerpt of an actor’s email all blunders, 7-10, happen simultaneously:
“I would appreciate if you see my resume wherein I have mentioned my experience and knowledge. If your watched my reel you can see how seriously I have taken this profession.”
For a guide on how to write effective actor marketing emails, and cover letters get the best-selling acting book that the casting director for HAMILTON calls, “the actor’s roadmap!” Read ACTING: Make It Your Business.
And… take control of your career in the acting master class that I teach at dozens of universities across the U.S. A 4-week intensive covering actor marketing, audition technique improvement, finding your brand/voice, and how to take control of an audition, and gain more work. 3 industry executives join me in guiding your work. Details @ http://paulrussell.net/AMIYB_MasterClass.html
Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned 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.