A few days ago I posed a question on my IG about actor websites. Mine was due for renewal and the more I looked at the price tag (roughly $100-$150 based on where I let it land) the more I wondered, does this really matter?
I have spent hours painstakingly choosing fonts and photos and organizing my contacts just so. I have paid a LOT of money over the past years to maintain these pages. I have also spent a lot of time updating them with each new headshot or booking, often times at the detriment of maintaining my IMDb or Actors Access. Because of all this time and effort, I have no doubt convinced myself of it’s worth. “This is my page, I am in control!” ….lol.
This year when my website came up for renewal, I stopped and thought, wait. I pay so much for this site you’re on, IMDb Pro, Actors Access, and like wow so much shit am I right?? Let alone all the other expenses of our actor-lives. So I went on a mission to find the purpose for our sites, and I am not sure you will all love this answer, but here goes.
From producers and directors to mangers and casting, 99% of the people I talked to rarely use actor sites. They will sometimes go to our websites if that is where we host our reels (instead of YouTube or Vimeo, etc). But guys, here is the kicker: the most prominent place that was mentioned was far and away IMDb Pro! In fact one CD said she has skipped on calling people in before because their IMDb page had such little info (reps, photos, etc) that she didn’t even bother, to quote her exactly, “The way I think about it is, if an actor is not concerned enough to put effort into their IMDb page being solid and informative, why am I to think their lack of effort would be any different with their acting.” …!!!
And btw I also asked about having various looks in your posted photos (aka for those of us who had headshots when we could do things like i dunno color our hair at a salon…) and got back a resounding “yes, as long as we have at least one recently dated photo of what you look like right now”. Boom.
I also had a producer friend share with me that after the IMDB & Breakdowns check, she likes to potentially check social media and (if she falls down the rabbit hole of an actor) search out interviews they have done where they are not “in character”. I thought this was a great addition to note that your social media being composed of only “pretty” photos or just another place your headshots live makes you seem…well…pretty freakin boring and kinda one-sided…ya know?
Ok back to websites, I am deleting my actor website * small gasp *. Well, I am letting it lapse without renewal. I am glad I had it but it no longer serves me. At the time it taught me to have an online presence, showed me how to build a website (thanks for that Sam-in-the-past!), and also helped me realize what I was lacking in images or video (nothing like putting all your stuff in one drawer and looking at it, am I right?). But now it’s a time and money suck. I am instead going to keep my samvalentine.net domain (I also use that for my email so it’s easier) and route it to my IMDb page.
I am also rerouting the time I had previously spent on that particular website to keep my IMDb updated and maintained instead. I would also strongly suggest checking out your Actor’s Access “custom link” and making sure your resume/headshots/reels are all up to date and easy to read there as well. Here is a screen shot if you have never heard this before, and here is the link to mine if you want to look!
All that being said, if you love your website and it makes you feel powerful and accomplished and gives you a place to host your projects and just makes you damn happy? By all means, keep that shit! The last thing I want to do it stomp on your www. dreams. But if you’re looking to change your money bottom line and energy bottom line, I think this is a great opportunity!
Love this! Thank you so much for writing this!
I’m also wondering if we used our “actor” websites as “human” websites instead. To show a more well rounded version of who we are, what we care about, and projects that we were working on, why we do what we do, etc. Humanity is more interesting than a curated “actor” site…. perfect example is One Broke Actress!!!!
Great advice! Love your site!!