Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ms. Ingenue

Ms. Joy,

I’m not sure what to do. I don’t have a manager or a mentor. I’m pretty much on my own in this regard and just getting lucky to find work. People back home are still shocked that I moved to LA.

I recently landed a TV show on one of the cable networks. The network has actually been publicizing the show a lot and it’s getting some buzz. It just premiered last week and so far the ratings are really good.

I spent over 3 months on set, so I know I have screen time, but of course I have no idea how much of my role was cut or included yet. I’m not a lead or anything, just one of the recurring, quirky characters. I haven’t told anyone that I’m in this show. Should I?

I’m still waiting for my episodes to start airing. They should be on 3 weeks from now. I don’t want to start telling everyone I’m on the show and then find out that my role has been cut down to 5 seconds.

What should I do?
― Ingenue in Irvine 

Ms. Ingenue,

I understand why you don’t want to start shouting from the rooftops just yet. No one wants to get embarrassed. If people get the impression that you have 20 minutes of uncut, mesmerizing monologue only to see you have two exciting utterances at the most, well, you might feel like you misled everyone. So… Don’t! Don’t exaggerate or give people the wrong impression. Don’t downplay yourself, either. Just tell the truth and be tasteful with your publicity. Once your role starts airing and you have ideas about your actual face time, then you can choose whether or not to get bolder.

Most actors I know feel upset when they don’t have work to talk about. You have work that just premiered and is being publicized by the network right now. You can’t get more current than that! First of all, let your immediate contacts know about the show. You want them to watch, spread the word to their friends, and maybe be your personal cheerleading crew.

Tell your inner circle exactly what you need and make it easy for people to support you. Nothing is more frustrating than getting an email with half-baked, confusing instructions. If you need them to watch, state it. If you want to post it on Facebook, talk about the show at the beauty salon, or gather a viewing party, ask them to do exactly that. Send out an email blast letting your folks know you’re on the show, ask them do what you need them to do and be sure to include the network and air times in Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific. Shoot, if you can, even tell them what channel the network is on based on their cable provider. Remember, you want their help and support so, do the hard work for them.

Make watching the show a Facebook event and invite attendees. Don’t get obnoxious with this though. By now, you have some idea about who amongst your Facebook contacts is receptive to an event invitation and who isn’t. If you’re iffy about someone, pull back from that urge to bombard them with event emails and send a personal email instead.

Leave your house and start networking in person. If your show is hot right now, there’s no time like the present. Go to events, cocktail parties, and socials. This is a great time to meet new people- whether they be industry or not- and spark new conversations.

Once your character debuts on the show, you can adjust your strategy. If your character is getting a good amount of time and is memorable, feel free to get more gumption. Look at getting press, especially back in your home town.

Don’t pretend you’re starring as the lead on the show. Don’t give people the impression that you even steal the show. But, whatever you do, don’t just let this opportunity pass silently by.

Keep rising!

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