Actors: Start Building Press
So it has been quite an interesting journey looking to generate press in London around projects I've been a part of lately, and it has brought up much to talk about!
As actors we tend to not always think of generating press and I've really started to realise that we have to. Why? Because we are a business! Start-up businesses do it all the time to get seen and heard out there alongside ones that are established so that leaves no excuse for us really. It's time to start and to keep going!
Get press written about you wherever and whenever you can, to even have bloggers do interviews with you online is useful! So why get press? Well, it's great for anyone who is looking to apply for an O1 Visa to the U.S. of course (part of my reasoning for jumping in) but to also keep people aware of who you are & what you do. Just as importantly it's a great muscle to exercise-- talking about yourself-- as we have to do it continuously in this industry, at times in auditions, always in general meetings & interviews on any scale.
Why don't we do it as often as we should?
Because we think our story isn't worth telling right? WRONG! Your story is ALWAYS worthy. What I've learned is that every reporter in every entertainment section of a magazine/paper online or print are truly wanting to hear your story, they crave stories, they are also story tellers like you! Everyone loves a story. Get it? We get so caught up in thinking 'oh that was just a bit part in a film that's not worth mentioning the experience of' or 'oh I'm not a A-lister yet so why the hell would anyone want to talk about me publicly?' All that noise truly effects your worth, so start getting proud of all that you have achieved and start talking about it - PUBLICLY! It's great self-development work alongside very awesome pro-active work that will help further raise your profile. People need to be aware of you and what you do in order to get interested in working with you. Making sense?
So where to start?
Take a look at the work you've done or what you are about to work on. That doesn't have to mean a huge NBC show or studio film. It could be a short film that went to festivals that you are extremely proud of and truly feel your performance in it is some of your best work or perhaps it's an indie feature you've mucked in on with a collective of creatives that you have high hopes for and want to talk about the experience of. Even an indie where you had a day player role but worked with an A-lister. All of these things are worthy of news. You're an actor. You work on your craft. You are pro-active and working towards building your profile more and more each day. People love to hear what it is you are doing, your experiences and what you are working towards. So don't worry if you haven't played opposite Brad Pitt in a huge supporting role for 45 scenes of his next feature, it doesn't need to be that (but if you have, then you better drum up a ton of press now to keep that ball rolling)!
Once you've looked at what you feel you want to talk about, go to local papers/magazines in your current area or the ones in the town you grew up in. That'll get the press train rolling for sure and always get a link-- or if it's print only, ask the editor you speak to to send you a PDF image of the print page. I always recommend calling up a paper's newsroom line and asking for a reporter who works in the entertainment section (online or print) - emails get buried easily as these people are very busy and on the plus side you will start to make more of a connection and relationship with the reporter from talking on the phone, resulting in you then having a follow-up-buddy in that paper or mag for follow-up pieces!
Also track down those online bloggers who love doing pieces on short films, films, TV shows, acting reviews, all of that. They may want to interview you so you get a great profile piece online of what it's like to be an actor or more about the last project you are working on etc. They are great resources and if they've been blogging for a while chances are they have a great amount of traffic who will then look you up even further.
There are companies you can talk to in helping generate press with the bigger magazines and papers. They do charge a fee but depending on what kind of work you've been bagging lately it may be a great avenue to explore. A company I've been recommended and have been to a Q&A with before (courtesy of UK Actors Tweetup) is London Flair PR. It's definitely worth starting a conversation with them as they can be very honest about whether they can help you or not (I've been told) and they are a fantastic company.
One last resource I'd like to share with you is my good friend & awesome actress Angela Peters. She is one of the founders of UK Actors Tweetup, but also mentors actors and has incredible insights into the business of acting here in London-- furthermore in how to generate press! You can check her mentoring page out here Acting Mentor - B.A.B.E and that's lots of juicy stuff for you all to get your teeth into!
I hope you take a great venture in building press for yourselves, make a page on your website for press too where all your press links and pdfs can be stored for all to see.
Get yourself seen and heard! Share your story and remember that others really do want to hear it wherever and whenever you can! The only story stopping you is the one you are telling yourself.