An actor’s website is rarely used in the professional casting process. Your profile pages on IMDB.com and BreakdownExpress.com (via ActorsAccess.com) give a filmmaker or CD all the tools needed to consider auditioning you for a role.
While a personalized acting website may not make or break your career, it is a great tool to show industry professionals all of your marketing materials in one place. It enables you to guide people towards otherwise hard to find press, like theatre reviews and red carpet photos.
If you do have a website, ensure that it is professional, current, functional, and well maintained. There are many companies online that build websites for actors. Others (like Wix.com) allow you to build a site by easily dropping elements and information into pre-designed pages.
An actor’s website should be utilized as an online ‘press kit’ (see ‘press and publicity’ section), referring the user to reviews, articles, film trailers, and other press. The site must be easy to navigate and all pages must completely download in less than ten seconds. It is unlikely that a CD will wait twenty seconds for your headshot to display, so if needed, reduce the photo file size. Don’t give her a reason to move to the next actor on the list.
A quality actor website will have the following tabs:
Display your name and main theatrical headshot. Perhaps write a bio on yourself and a few career highlights with a small paragraph or two about your recent gigs and upcoming releases. Embed trailers for any current upcoming releases. Include links to your IMDb, Twitter and Facebook.
Under the resume tab, list the following links at the top of the page then display your full resume on the page below them.
• IMDb profile
• Breakdown profile
• Download .pdf
Your downloadable resume should be in an un-editable .pdf format.
Your demo can be displayed via a link to a professional site (like ActorsAccess.com or NowCasting.com), or by embedding a high quality video into your site. If you are using YouTube.com or Vimeo.com for hosting, embed the file into the webpage rather than re-directing users to a public site. Ensure the resolution is high, the file size is small (for fast buffering), and that the picture isn’t too big or small (640 × 480 is standard).
Include links to any positive or neutral press written by an independent media source (i.e. NOT a production or management company website). These sources include newspapers, magazines, online publications, critic’s reviews, and red carpet sites. Scan and upload hardcopy press in .pdf format.
As your press kit grows, separate this section into more specific categories, such as ‘articles’, ‘reviews’ and ‘interviews’.
Display contact information for your representation and include their logo for branding. If you have more than one agent, specify the field in which they represent you. Provide your direct email for those rare last minute bookings that may occur the night before or morning of a shoot.
Your website is not an appropriate forum for the twenty different headshots you took in one session, or for headshots that have become outdated. If you are a model, having a modeling tab is great, but make sure that none of your shots are too revealing. Other than your main theatrical and red carpet images, include alternative looks and character shots
If you have several shots, use thumbnail photos that show a full size version of the shot when rolled over or clicked on. A great example of this is the photo section of your ActorsAccess.com profile. Make sure the larger versions of the photos are easily downloadable and printable (72dpi is a fine minimum resolution), with a print size between 4” × 6” and 8” × 10”.
Red Carpet Photos
One option is to put direct links to your personal search results page on WireImage.com or GettyImages.com. To do this, search your name then copy the url in the browser window above your search results.
Another option is to show a selection of red carpet photos on your website in the same thumbnail format used for headshot photos. Don’t worry about the watermarks: they help legitimize the image and prevent you from breaching any copyrights.
Production stills are taken on set during a shoot. Great production stills show crew and camera equipment in the background, the director instructing you, or the other actors dressed in wardrobe on set. Photos of you in character, acting, are also great (these look like someone has pressed pause on a movie).
Production stills taken with a cheap camera or bad lighting give the impression that the production was cheap. Your production stills should look as good as stills from bigger budget films, implying that you are a professional, working actor. If you don’t have great stills, don’t resort to using bad ones. Having no production stills is better than having bad ones.