Dear Bonnie,

Hello, we hope this finds you well. My mom and I have been curious for a long time now, and thought we’d ask, go straight to the source and see what you thought. On FB as well as sooo many other social things we are constantly bombarded with what we like to call: “CLICK MEs!” Especially by moms and dads trying to get every soul in the universe to see their sometimes talented child do their little tricks, ranging from “cutest baby,” to “help her/him win,” and those ever-annoying click me IMDbs and videos of their kids doing whatever it is they do. We are just wondering, from a CD’s perspective, does this really work?

Does this constant bombardment of every contest known to man and any form of “click me” or come see my kid really work to get these kids in your or any other office? Because we are under the feeling that we do not like them so much, we don’t ever want to see that person again after so many posts! How can a CD, producer, agent? We do not like to post like that. We try to post either privately or a few times after something truly memorable. For example: I recently was in a 48hfp and our film won four awards and I posted a link and emailed to specific people. But we didn’t do it several times a day for the next week and then at least a few times a week, then again and again and again. After a while it’s like, “I don’t care! Go away!!”

Are we missing something? Should we be bombarding everyone? Or is there a fine, undefined line drawn someplace? How much is too much and how little won’t get you noticed at all? How can anyone get ahead if they have to compete with all those posts? Is it too much or is it just us?

Thank you so much for clearing this mystery up for us!
Brandi Alyssa Young

And I won’t shove this down your throat, but if you really want to see it, I can send you a link to our award-winning short. (Still feels weird to say that, but sooo good too.)

Great questions, Brandi and mom! I’ve written about the Delicate Art of Self-Promotion before. As always, the people who are most concerned about doing it right usually are. It’s the people who have no clue that they’re coming across as blathering blowhards who tend to alienate people, but they may never even notice the damage they have done. If they succeed in this business, it will be in spite of their “Click Me” campaigns, not because of them.

But they won’t hear you if you try to tell them they’re wasting their time, their energy, sometimes their money (I was just discussing “Slactivism for Slactors” with an actor this weekend, where people are getting referral fees for recommending a ridiculous mass submission service to newbie actors who may believe they’re a great way to get seen. Note: They are not). It’s like people who pay for a gym membership but never go. They believe throwing money at the workout “counts.” Actors who promote non-stop “Click Me” campaigns are trading time spent on actual work for something that feels easy and that usually does more harm than good. I’ve written about the balance a little more here.

Absolutely, you want to share your good news. (And, hey, congratulations on your win! That is awesome and you should definitely be proud!) You want to let folks know that you have won an award or done work in an award-winning project. You betcha! And there’s a right place to do that: In your space. On your page. On your website. In your newsletter. Those who are interested will opt in, check it out, appreciate that you put it out there without cramming it down anyone’s throats. Believe me, I’m facing this issue myself. Every week or so, I get an email from someone who is just discovering this column, even though they’ve been acting for years. We don’t really advertise it! I’ve never advertised my book, yet it sells. And occasionally, I hear from someone who is angry that I made it harder for them to find, as it would’ve helped them earlier in their career. I’m trying to get over my own aversion to self-promotion. I have launched my first-ever BonBlast to my brand new mailing list, and my choice to take it slowly seems to be paying off. I’m not turning people off by blathering. I’m informing folks who want to know what I’ve got going on about those goings-on, plus showing them where they can opt in if they want to know even more. It’s about balance.

As for how your target buyers (producers, directors, casting directors, even agents or managers you’re hoping may sign you someday) feel about these “Click Me” campaigns, it’s very much along the line of your statement, above:

After a while it’s like, “I don’t care! Go away!!”

We’re all facing a bit of social networking fatigue. People on the casting, producing, representing end of things get hit with more content than you probably see, just because of our ability to lead actors to roles. If you’re feeling “over it,” can you imagine how someone who casts a hit TV show may feel these days?

Buyers who used to be out of reach are now much more accessible thanks to sites like Facebook and Twitter (and MySpace before that, Google+ coming up next) and actors — professional and aspiring — are using these connections to try and be seen. [A side note: RIGHT NOW, as I am typing this up, I am receiving a notification from Twitter that someone has sent me an “@ message.” It says, “My name is [removed], I love 2 act,sing,dance,model. Please check out my profile at website:Star now or actors access.” See what I’m saying here? We are bombarded with this stuff.]

I actually had to block an actor from my profile on Twitter because he “@ messaged” me 37 times in one day, trying to get me to watch his reel. One of my friends asked, “So, how was his reel?” “Irrelevant,” I said. “He has already shown me he has no social boundaries, doesn’t know limits, and is certainly not to be trusted with a callsheet. Who knows what he would do with any production-level contact information?” Truth is, I never watched his reel. It wouldn’t matter how talented he is (I’ve heard from a friend who was more curious than I was that he is not, at all, talented, based on that reel). I won’t be bringing him in.

Developing a mailing list of people who want to be made aware of your every bit of news is something I’ve long recommended (even though it took ’til age 41 for me to take that advice, myself). Blast updates to those people. If you’ve chosen not to do a mailing list, but instead run a “fan page” over at Facebook, that’s your place to share all of the self-congratulatory stuff you want to post! Because it’s assumed visitors to these pages are, indeed, fans and that means they want to check out the latest. If you’re posting at Twitter, it’s about finding balance between tweets about you, tweets about others, sharing good info, engaging in discussion, and keeping your brand in the public eye. Each site has its own speed, and one of my Twitter followers, Corina Mackay, actually shared an article about social media influence TOOLS, if you’d like to get downright geeky about this stuff.

I’ve written about my project of defriending over 4650 people at Facebook (and I also disabled my wall at my friend page), so now I’m never seeing things from a population I’m only mildly interested in keeping tabs on (225 of my Facebook friends are rockstars who have taken my Self-Management for Actors Seminars. The other 125 are people who thrill me, personally, for any number of reasons. They make my life better, so I like seeing them in my news feed), nor can anyone self-promote in my personal space. The days of having actors “sell at me” on Facebook are gone, unless they post a self-promo blurb on my fan page wall. And I really don’t engage folks who use my wall to promote themselves. They get on my radar… in “that” way.

Google+ has it right. It’s a blend of Facebook, Twitter, Friend Feed, and Tumblr. A whole bunch of people who find me interesting can choose to encircle me (that’s like following me on Twitter. At Google+, they want to see whatever I post, so they put me in a circle). But I only have to watch the influx of posts from people who I have found interesting enough to encircle. Just like on a Facebook fan page, but better. I can post something that all of those people who have me in circles can interact with, comment on, share, etc., but I can also post more “inner circle items” (pardon the pun) for the people I have chosen to push content to, through my circles. If I’ve put someone in a circle, but they’ve not also encircled me, they’re not going to see all of my posts — only those I’ve pushed to them as individuals. This extra step (for now) is making Google+ a much more pleasant place than Facebook, because I’m not having demo reels, requests for generals and advice, or “Click Me” campaigns pushed on me in the same way. Still, I prefer Twitter over all the rest. I can blather on about whatever tickles my fancy and 5300 people can watch. I, on the other hand, am only actively watching what comes in from 66 people I find incredibly interesting, informative, or entertaining. I can manage that! Sure, someone not within that 66 can “@ message” me and I’ll see it, but I can choose whether I’d like to engage further. Many times I do!

I think most of the “noise” you’re describing comes from choice of platform: Facebook. While I absolutely adore many facets of Facebook and have enjoyed building and enriching friendships and professional relationships using it, it is the leading contributor to my social networking fatigue, and it’s why I chose to lock my friend page down last year. I got a big chunk of my life back, in doing so. Perhaps, if “Click Me” campaigns are bugging you, you’ll consider doing a little Friend Shui at the Facebook, so you don’t have to watch what annoys you about your peers.

Remember, someone out there is always doing something crazy, whether it’s online or out in the real world. Have you seen the Rolando Zee car? You can probably do a Google Image search and find photos. They’re popping up all over Facebook, posted by actors who cannot believe this kid is trying to get his edge by wrapping his Prius in advertising (You’ve seen these ad-wrapped cars and city buses, right?) and driving (or having others drive) it around town. Now, Rolando didn’t invent the car-as-actor’s-ad concept. Do a Google Image search on Dennis Woodruff for old-school examples of plastering nonsense on your car and parking it in front of studio lots, decades ago. Angelyne put up billboards of herself and drove around in her pink convertible. Is anyone getting a major acting career out of these gimmicks? No.

But, I’m told this Rolando kid has a great IMDb StarMeter and gets tons of hits to his website, thanks to this ad-wrap on his car. In our current world of what makes a hit (i.e. reality show participants are called “stars,” “celebrities,” or “famous” on other reality shows; lead off “news” stories on TMZ and other “entertainment news” shows; and make lots of money even speaking at major universities), it’s not out of the question that the buzz he’ll get from this gimmick could lead to some level of fame.

Let’s just keep in mind that fame is not the same as a healthy career as a working actor. This new breed of celebrity is not what artists who were born to tell stories on screen aspire to be.

So, every time you see a “Click Me” campaign that turns you off, do a few things: Consider de-friending, un-circling, un-following, un-subscribing, or whatever it is that keeps their campaigns in your face; silently thank them for actually turning OFF some of the buyers, if they’re your competition, because that’s leaving more room for you; and remember that any heat they get for their stunts is more like being cast in The Hills than in Beverly Hills, 90210 or Beverly Hills Cop.

Sure, be proud of your accomplishments. Share them on your website. Mention them in a cover letter. Post them a few times if you really need to drive traffic somewhere. But don’t mistake slactivism for activism. Don’t mistake clicking on a computer with clicking with another human being. This is a complex industry with lots of nuances and subtleties. If it feels authentic to you, do it. If it creeps you out, avoid it. Don’t worry that others are “getting ahead” by doing something you would never be comfortable doing. Just like you may not ever do nudity in a movie, other actors will. Does that get them ahead of you? No. It just puts them in a different category.

No stress. 🙂 Just enjoy the journey!

Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!

Originally published by Actors Access at Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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