Advice and Tips for Actors Helpful thoughts on acting from someone who wasn't the least successful actor of all time.

August 7, 2007

How to Self-Promote (By Promoting Others)

Filed under: bookings,eitan's writings — Eitan @ 8:04 am

Eitan in a Saturn CommercialCongratulations! You just got a nice part in some TV show. Or you got a great new commercial that’s going to be running all over the place. Or maybe you’re even about to be in a new play that everyone in your town should come and see. Great! Right now your headshot and resume are of no help, you need to get out and promote! So how do you go about talking about your work without sounding like a tool?

Recently I’ve found myself in an amazing showcase, a short film that’s tearing it up on the festival circuit and a bunch of commercials that are playing all over the country. After the performance part of the showcase all the actors schmooze with the industry guests over drinks and food. I hated talking about my work. I really hated it. I figured I could simply smile and be a nice guy and people would figure out who I am and be impressed. Well that doesn’t work. To get recognition for your work (and not just in acting) you MUST self-promote. Today I’m going to discuss one way to do this which won’t make you uncomfortable.

Self-Promote by talking about other people’s work.

Sounds pretty counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? How are you supposed to get people to know how good you are if you’re only talking about other people’s work? First, let’s look at an example of this to see what I’m talking about. You’ve heard ths one if you’ve ever heard a celebrity talking about their new movie on a talk show.

“Working with Cate Blanchett was a dream. She’s a terrific actor and so generous. I’ve been hoping to work with Brett Ratner for years now. He’s just so creative and gifted. When this amazing script crossed my desk, I just HAD to jump on it.”

That celebrity just talked about his co-star, director and the writer without once mentioning his own work. That’s a very condensed recreation of an interview. I’ve heard actors talk for 10 minutes about nothing but the people they work with.

I did the same thing after my showcase. I talked about how amazing the director was. How funny the guy who wrote my scene is (and pointed him out to whomever I was talking to). I talked about how wonderful it was to work with my producing partner. But what did this accomplish?

Every time you talk about how good the people you work with are, you’re talking about how good you must be because they work with you. If Spielberg hires me tomorrow (heaven forbid) everyone would all the sudden assume I’m a little better than I was today because of how well known and accomplished he is. Whenever I talk about the short film I did (Alive and Well) I mention that Neil Flynn is in it and how funny he is. Why? Because it automatically gives the film some oomph (complex business term) and therefore gives me oomph. And it makes people want to see the film.

You can apply this to many areas of your life. Talk about how great your boss is to work with. Tell everyone you know how your son helped you build this amazing shed in the back yard and how helpful he is. When your boss praises you for doing a great job on the presentation make sure to talk about how your co-workers made your job easier.

The most important part of this technique is to make sure you’re included in the praise. I’m not praising my scene partner for work he did a month ago in another show. I’m praising him for the work he did with me.

Suddenly you’ll find yourself promoting your work up without ever saying, “I’m so amazing.”

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