How to Market Your Child Actor for Increased Auditions and Call Backs
(Part 1 of 3)
The concept of marketing when applied to a young child actor is really quite simple. It boils down to doing a few things that may increase your child actor’s presence in print and on the big screen. Just think of your child’s acting career as a business, and then all of it makes sense.
As a marketing major and business owner, one thing about marketing I’ve learned is that any campaign you launch is only going to get a three percent response rate. Therefore, for every one hundred post cards you mail, it’s “average” to get only three phone calls/responses from those mailers (not purchases, signed clients, or bookings – just a response). If you combine various campaigns, and do them continually, eventually your three percent will increase. Remember, it is going to take time.
What type of a marketing plan should you have for a child actor? A primary concern is likely going to be how your marketing is funded? Each family will obviously approach such concern differently. Here is a list of some marketing tools. Some of these will be common sense to most; it is not necessarily all-inclusive.
Headshots and a resume (no matter how small) are a must for any actor. Headshot photos can also be used in the rest of your marketing strategy. Care and research should be taken in choosing a photographer as this is the first glimpse of your child a casting director will see. A child should look like themselves in the picture. HollywoodMomBlog provides a wonderful list of photographers in Los Angeles. Also, ask your agents and/or managers as they typically have a list of trusted photographers.
Here are some questions to ask a potential children’s photographer:
(1) Cost- the average is about $350 in the LA area for 2-4 looks;
(2) How long will it take to get your headshots back? Some photographers will give you a CD with the entire shoot so that you can share with representation right away and get the best ones out there;
(3) Will a hair and make-up person be provided? Sometimes you will have to pay extra (which is normal) if you choose to have one. Kids donʼt necessarily need make-up. Retouching may be all that is needed;
(4) How many looks (i.e., outfit/hair changes) are included?;
(5) How much retouching is done as part of the fee? Some photographers will only do a few, others prefer to “fix” all of the photos. If a photographer only retouches a limited amount, speak with representation on the best photos to retouch;
(6) How long does the photo shoot take? Some may take 4+ hours, others less than an hour.
There are a number of places to have your headshot printed in Los Angeles. All will mail to you out of state as well (of course you pay the shipping fee). In no particular order, there is Argentum, Reproductions, Pixels, Genesis Printing, Spotlight Printing, or Costco.
It is interesting to be a part of so many conversations where others say “postcards donʼt work – most of them get thrown away anyway.” Remember that three percent response rate? I am talking about marketing to the three percent that will respond versus that 97 percent that “might.” Postcards can be a cost effective way to let casting directors know what your child is doing. Iʼve seen it work. When I send out postcards, activity levels increase (auditions as well as on-line activity). I have also seen casting offices that have post cards posted on their walls.
The trick is to do them with a purpose – not just to say “Hi!” or “Hire me!” Reasons include: (1) new headshots; (2) new representation; (3) booked a job; (4) filmed/wrapped; or WATCH ME on ____ (fill in the blank).
If there is enough activity, sending your childʼs postcards out every six weeks or so is sufficient. Dry spells happen, so take advantage of the not so dry times! We have had bookings come from this type of marketing so I am convinced it works.
Who Should Be On Your Postcard Mailing List
A good place to start is with the casting where your child has had previous auditions. Add any casting directors seen at workshops, classes, intensives, or events where you meet them. If they say they donʼt accept postcards, ask for an email address or Facebook fan-page. LACasting, NowCasting, and CastingAbout all have casting director addresses.
On your postcard, you should have headshot/s, snapshots from filming (if production is all right with it), representation information, bookings and/or time to watch something your child has filmed that is coming up (make sure to add network/channel & time if available). Also, if you have it, add a link to a the childʼs website, imdb page, or fan page.
There are a plethora of services that can be used to get postcards completed. You can pay someone to make them up for you, or you can do them yourself. I use www.gotprint.com – mostly because I can go pick up the post cards in Burbank, but they do quality work as well, with a quick and affordable turn-around time. I have also used www.vistaprint.com.
Social Media includes a fan page on Facebook, a Twitter account, and/or a website. Pinterest is also becoming popular. If there are any credits on imdb.com, link all of them in to each other. Updates on Twitter will publish on imdb just as they do on Facebook if you set them up that way. Keeping people updated on activity, whatʼs going on, where and when to watch filmed projects and being interactive with those that comment are excellent ways to use your social media.
Originally Published November 20, 2012