Confessions of a Marketing Whore – Effective Actor Self-Promotion & Marketing

October 16, 2014 at 9:15 am | Posted in acting, auditions | Leave a comment
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Paul RussellHello. My name is Paul. I’m a marketing whore addict.

My gateway of choice towards becoming a selling-slut began innocently enough. Actor. Ignorantly snail-mailing my P&Rs that would today be fodder for my Fail File to purveyors of talent for casting consideration. When I fell into my buzzes (i.e. auditions & jobs) I discovered that once a project passed, my fix for gaining attention needed a new and more potent drug. All-the-while I wished I didn’t feel myself dirty. I became despised by peers for my heralding my accomplishments. Feats that if I hadn’t been the bell-crier in my lonely village I wouldn’t draw neighbors to enjoy our mutual accomplishments.

As I diversified my career into directing, casting, and writing I moved to a stronger addiction. One learned from my dancing a seller’s tango with major trippers of people’s minds: consumer engagement agencies a.k.a. brand influencers and marketers. I whirled in the soulless darkness of product pusher— writing copy for promotions that profited purchases of products which I myself never consumed. But my new fix acerbated guilt-inducing side-effects that crept into my parallel world of selling myself within entertainment: follow-ups. Follow-ups led to face-to-face flesh pressing; glad-handing; queries; brochures; decks; platforms; branding; web-sites; leveraging social-media; maintenance of brand integrity online; and the dirtiest and most addictive of all self-promotion marketing enhancers: DMM— Direct Mass Mail.

Who other than ourselves—participators in entertainment’s assembly line—will accept and care for the monkeys on our backs? Sell fervently the product that is you? Herald the brand that is me? No agent will flare with the likes of our fires. No minions muster our wherewithal. You and I…are the engines pulling our individual self-promotion express.

MarketingWhr_smSome actors thrill to shill themselves. Most artists despise the necessary evil of self-promotion. Short-sighted protestors who rally that their art should do its own selling are reality deficient. Any artist from actor to writer, cake decorator to sculptor, will never embrace a more devoted, tireless, and steadfast champion of their artistry than the artist themselves. Yes, self-promotion can bring discomfort to the self. Our North American WASP-ish societal collective id retains a trace scent of moldy Victorian modesty. “No one likes a braggart.”

If you, like I, get the ‘self-promotion icks’ with symptoms that include but are not limited to: shame, embarrassment, doubt, worry, and  self-image disdain there’s one remedy that’ll absolve you of the emotional ilk: goal achievement. Attaining goals derived from your marketing affliction efforts. The remedy is temporary. You’ll need to shamelessly promote again, and again, and again until arrives your next remedy for relief. Cast off the trench coat of shame that is self-promotion. Let others witness the beauty that has been hidden under layers that we ourselves have soiled with shame.

Hello. My name is Paul. I’m a marketing whore addict. My first-born book ACTING Make It Your Business is mandatory reading at universities including Wright State University where an entire semester is dedicated to the teachings within the tome I tout shamelessly pushing me to my next fix…

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Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned nearly thirty years. He has worked on projects for major film studios, television networks, and Broadway. Paul has taught the business of acting and audition technique at NYU and has spoken at universities including Yale, Temple and the University of the Arts. He is the author of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor. For more information, please visit

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