Hello! And welcome to new series on how to be a cool human being on social media and in auditions by reviewing mistakes a lot of actors make in both arenas. The first and most glaringly obvious is . . .

MUDDLING THE MESSAGE

A lot of actor tweets are just a jungle of hashtags that people have to hack through with a machete to get to the message (if there even is one). If we had a nickel for every time we get tagged in this kind of tweet, we’d have a lot of nickels:

#actors #makingit #setlife #auditions #blessed #bigbrandname @director @castingnetworks @hollywood @castingdirector #livingthedream

what

Why is that type of tweet a mistake for actors (and on social media in general)? Because a hashtag should be highlighting the main subject of what you’re tweeting about or it should be the punchline to a joke. It should not be sharing the space with 12 other hashtags in a mad grab for whatever attention you can get your hands on, like you’re in one of those money grab booths. It’s time to get back to good old fashioned sentences, my friends.

Because the thing of it is . . . what are we or the casting director supposed to do with that? For Casting Networks’ part, we don’t cast anything. We create the online casting tools. That’s as far as we go in the process. We are a software company and we love being a part of your careers, but we are not filmmakers nor casting directors. The most we can do with that tweet is go, “Uh, cool! Good for you!”

For the casting director’s part, there’s zero content in the those hashtag heavy, tag heavy tweets. And really, we love you all, but it doesn’t accomplish anything. Casting directors are not searching the #setlife hashtag for the next big star, so why do you keep using it, except possibly to annoy your non-actor friends or impress your grandmother? Casting directors have thousands of submissions for every single one of their projects and enough on their plates already. No single tweet is going to make you famous. Your talent and consistency in the audition rooms is going to do that over time. The Internet isn’t a 1930s soda shop. And you don’t want to become known to a casting director for being that person who’s constantly tagging them in self-congratulatory tweets. Use your Twitter account as a long-term networking opportunity, instead of a short-term bragging opportunity.

big deal

Here’s what we recommend a post-audition tweet look like:

@castingdirector Thanks so much for having me in to read for “Role” through @castingnetworks. Much appreciated!

You see how you’re respecting the casting director by directing it at them alone, showing gratitude, and being discrete about the details of the project, instead of bragging to the world? That’s class. This doesn’t mean you can’t post links to your reel. By all means, feel free to regularly post links to your reels and web videos so that if a casting director does search you out because you read for them, it’s there for the finding. Like this:

Just updated my reel. Check it out! http://youtube.com/user/myname/numbers

Or even better:

Just updated my reel. Check it out on my @CastingNetworks resume! http://lacasting.com/myname

And then you can pin it to your profile so that it’s always there to see! Bam! Permanent access to your resume AND your headshots AND your media. Just don’t randomly tag casting directors in it. It’s like forcing them onto a phone call they never asked to be on. And the rest of your twitter should reflect who you are as a human being. What you’re interested in beyond acting. Because that’s what makes you a whole, complete person and what makes you interesting in the room.

wink

So how does this advice translate to an audition? What is the real world equivalent of covering your auditions with hashtags?

When you get into an audition, you muddle the message by failing to make clear choices with the text, being underprepared, and by being too cloying in the small talk before and after. If you’re trying to shine as Mr. or Ms. Personality before and after, it means you’re not confident enough in your read to land the role with your performance alone and it means you’re probably not being your genuine self either. And that is not a vibe combination you want to be putting out there.

So how do you keep the message clear?

  1. Don’t try to play a million things at once in your read. Keep your body language relaxed, but controlled.
  2. Be polite and grounded with everyone in the casting office. That means chilling out and being a professional, knowing there’s no amount of forced charisma outside the audition that’s going to get you the job better than the read in the room, so trust that read and don’t put on an awkward show with everyone you meet.

Remember, having a “voice” as an actor means having a strong point of view and life experience to draw from, it doesn’t mean being loud and braggy. That goes for your presence on social media and in a casting office.

And please, cool it with proclaiming yourself #blessed and #livingthedream. The more you say it, the less true it sounds.

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11150990_10103352570363971_6042431043413755119_nLindsay Katai is a writer/performer/debtor who has worked at Casting Networks since 2010.