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BEWARE OF THE INTERNET

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By Marci Liroff

Lately, I’m seeing a lot of your self-taped auditions, monologues, and self-produced content on public sites on the Internet. I’m all for empowering yourselves as artists by generating content, but please make sure it’s professionally made. We’re living in a time where you can easily create content and clips for your reel, but I’d truly rather see nothing than see badly crafted films and scenes. Just because you have a camera doesn’t mean you should use it. Your projects have to look just as good as the footage I’m seeing on network and film projects. Think about it for a moment. If you’re sending me clips of your homemade short film and it looks like your uncle shot it, the sound and lighting is bad and the writing is horrible— how do you think that makes you look?

In my Audition Bootcamp class the other night one of my students told a story of how she had pitched a short film to the site Funny Or Die and they were very interested. She and her crew shot the short film and when all was said and done, she pulled the plug. It wasn’t funny enough. It didn’t meet her expectations. This is a young actor and writer who is just starting out and had the wherewithal to not post her film because she didn’t think it was good enough. How brave. How smart.

When I’m casting a project I get a lot of self-taped auditions sent to me in many different forms. They come to me through Cast It Talent, YouTube, Vimeo, HighTail (formerly YouSendIt), Actor’s Access, and links to the actor’s personal website. The Internet has made it very easy to self-tape your audition from a distant location, upload it to one of the many sites available and send it to me quickly. I love that I can view so many auditions from all over the world with ease.

But, please take heed. Your auditions for my project should not be available for public consumption. They should only be viewed by me and my filmmaking team, the network, and the studio. The material (the script and audition scenes) is not meant to be viewed by the public at this pre-production stage, or frankly, ever – UNLESS approved by everyone involved on the project. You’ve heard of spoilers right? If I’m casting a project that has a top-secret script it would be extremely detrimental to the project if there were auditions popping up all over the internet which would reveal the storyline. On my last project, the producer found 3 actors who had posted their auditions for our film on YouTube and berated me because I didn’t control this better.

If you’re going to post your auditions online at these various sites that aren’t secure (such as YouTube and Vimeo) please make sure they’re password protected. It’s a very simple and easy process and only the person who’s intended to see it will be able to access it.

I always say, “You can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube”.  Make sure you’re putting content out there that represents you in the best light. (literally and figuratively)!
I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on this situation. Has this ever happened to you? It’s always good to share with the community. Leave a comment, share this blog with a friend!
Glad you’re here!
Marci

 

 

Comments

  1. I’ve had a similar experience but on another side to the coin. I had a producer ask me to shoot a few test-videos for some ideas they had to add to their new show. After filming and editing about 5 different video ideas for them, I uploaded them to youtube on a personal account (I was discovered through youtube so they were okay with it) and privated the video. All was well, they picked their segments of choice and continued the show. A few months later, I decided to unprivate some old videos I made for fun to show how I started out. I went through my account, hit “Unprivate” and “Apply to All.” A few weeks later I got a sit-down about how I leaked intellectual property, didn’t credit the rightful owners and was given a warning (as well as a flashdrive to transport any new projects they had me working on). I definitely learned my lesson after that.

    • Marci Liroff says:

      “Intellectual property” that’s what I’m talking about! Sorry you had to learn the lesson the hard way!

  2. Hi Marci,
    It never happened to me but is always good to know,
    Thanks for your advice 🙂

  3. I really like what you said a lot. Makes a lot of sense. I NEVER post my auditions so that the public can see them. Fun things like some of my dog training sessions…things like that, that are fun and entertaining. But NOT anything professional. Thanx for all your great info for us.

  4. Hello Marci,

    My name is Dylan Neal and I’m a veteran actor with a new TV series called Cedar Cove. I accidentally asked this question on your old blog and thought I’d just post it here among your newer posts.

    I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog and was particularly interested in your entry about twitter and social media a while back. Like you, I’ve been dragged kicking and screaming into this modern age of connectivity for my role on Cedar Cove. This is my 8th series, but first time being confronted by the onslaught of social media in connection with my role on a series. I completely agree about how useful and necessary social media is as a tool for gaining knowledge and help in a very difficult and challenging industry like ours. I wonder though, if you would be willing to share your thoughts on another twitter issue I’m frequently confronted with?

    It seems that everyone is consumed by having a large twitter following and are under the impression that the larger the following, the more activity they will experience in their career trajectory. As a series regular with a small following, I am constantly approached by individuals or companies that want to ‘help me’ gain massive numbers of followers. I understand that for musicians, politicians and traditional retail outlets, a large engaged following is instrumental in achieving sales and being part of the ‘buzz’ in the real world. I’m very hesitant though in believing that these parameters ever apply to actors being cast, as I still believe that talent and traditional casting parameters will always rule the day when it comes to getting work in our particular industry. If this weren’t the case, then Kim Kardashian would be in constant demand for acting work. I know social media gurus like Ashton Kutcher might disagree but I still suspect actors like Ashton still mostly benefit from traditional PR (publicists driving magazines, red carpet photos and TV appearances, etc) in their ‘industry awareness’ than their followers do. In fact, their twitter numbers only help feed traditional PR ‘talking points’ which at the end of the day, are what really drive industry awareness. George Clooney doesn’t use Twitter and even though stars like him live in a rarified career category, the thinking behind it is probably similar to why most famous actors don’t even have personal websites – social media it seems may not drive anyones career so much as it is useful as a tool for knowledge, interaction and guidance.

    I’d be very interested in your thoughts Marci on this topic of desperately attracting huge numbers of followers in an attempt to influence your career as an actor and not as a forum for education and interaction. I just don’t see an actor ever being cast in anything based on their number of followers. I suspect it will always be what it always has been; are you talented, are you right for the role and what have you done lately…

    Thank you for your time Marci, I really appreciate it and thank you for your wonderful blog!

    Best,
    Dylan

    • Marci Liroff says:

      Thanks for your articulate and insightful comments and questions Dylan! We are in an ever changing landscape of technology these days and Social Media is but one of the tools we’re using for communication. For me, I still maintain that it’s all about engagement. You can have millions of followers on Twitter, but if you’re not engaged with them, then it’s a one-way form of communication much like a bullhorn. Twitter is about getting involved in whatever community you’ve chosen to be part of and ENGAGING in the conversation within that community. It’s about consistently putting out great content and interaction.

      These individuals and/or companies that want to help you gain more followers are talking about buying your followers. There are services where you can actually buy bogus twitter accounts to boost your numbers. Sad to say that most of the celebrities are doing this.

      Getting followers the organic way takes time. How long have you actually been on Twitter? I’ve been using it since 2009 and it’s taken me all that time, and a lot of dedication I might add, to build up my followers. But, to me, it doesn’t really matter. Any social media expert will tell you it’s not the quantity, but the quality of engagement. Give it time. Get involved in the conversation and don’t use it as a one-way bullhorn to blast information.

      Do we use your social media numbers to cast you? I can only speak for myself and say no. I’ve never done it on one of my projects. The audition and your body of work always wins out. That said, I do know of other projects where they have considered an actors “numbers”. I know a CD who uses some sort of strange calculations of your IMDb score (Starmeter), Twitter followers, FB page followers, Ullmer Scale, YouTube channel subscribers and something else which I forget right now. These kinds of calculations are usually done on a VERY small project and it’s usually a Web series where your following could come into play. On the kind of projects I do, this never comes into play but that’s not to say that it won’t change in the future.

      Twitter shouldn’t be a chore. It should be a means of reaching people and exchanging information. I would suggest Andie tweet something so that her followers have awareness of your account so that they’ll follow you. That’ll give you an instant boost in numbers. Looking over your Twitter feed, I’d suggest that you not *just* tweet about the show and yourself, but other things you’re interested in. I also notice you have little to no interactions meaning you’re not replying to people and have no engagement. That’s the one-way bullhorn style I’m talking about that does not work in this platform.
      You also have to let people know that you’re on Twitter. Use a twitter link in all your email signatures (computer/phone/tablet).

      Another good idea (ahem!) would be to follow the gal who’s giving you all this advice!

      I put out great content for actors which you would benefit.

      Best of luck!

      • Thank you so much Marci! I think your answer is basically affirming my belief that followers do not translate to ‘more work’, at least at the traditional studio/network level, and are really just a part of an on-going dialogue – if you choose to have it.

        For me personally, I would rather not engage at all. I don’t mean that in a nasty, pompous way, but in the sense that I’m a private person who doesn’t feel the need to engage in this format. As an acting coach myself, I obviously need to nurture that side of my business life and social media plays an important role and I have no problem with that – but as an individual actor, I really don’t want to engage that much if it’s not relevant to my career or isn’t considered a necessity. It doesn’t suit my personality and I actually worry about some of the possible dependency I see in other ‘striving’ actors, and the correspondence with their Twitter followers (but that’s another topic). As a series regular, I have certain network responsibilities in social media and I’m always happy to participate and be an active player for the team, but on a personal level, I have no interest in gaining followers or keeping up a constant dialogue. It’s a bit of a conundrum for me in my current position. Your answer has been very helpful in my ongoing education – thank you for your time and insight Marci!

        Best wishes in all your many endeavors and here’s hoping I get to read for you sometime. Look at that – using social media for networking…

        😉

  5. Ooh I want to bring to your attention (and all other actors reading Marci’s posts) a new feature on YouTube when you upload a video, where it gives you an option to have it “unlisted”.
    Unlisted means only those given the link to the video can play it. It is not searchable on the internet at all, whether on YouTube, Google or wherever, and it rids having to remember or input cumbersome passwords.
    Once a video is uploaded the Unlisted option shows on the drop down list with the options Public, Private etc.

    -Zedrick Restauro

  6. Michael Aiden says:

    Great post. Nothing is worse than seeing something that is awfully made. It goes back to the belief of always putting your best foot forward. You shouldn’t be auditioning until you are sure you are ready to perform at a high level so the casting directors will remember you. It is the same with internet videos. If you are going to be putting something shoddy out there, then you shouldn’t be putting it out there at all. This is the first post of yours that I have read and I look forward to reading more of them.

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