Tags: acting, acting tips, entertainment industry, how to become an actor
Actors have lost auditions and jobs because of e-mail.
On recent Paul Russell Casting projects I deliberately engaged in a digital experiment. My office, when reaching out to unrepresented actors, sought electronic submissions only. The result? Devastating for the techno-addicted thespians.
Some startling surprises:
1. Actor e-mail submissions were dumped into the PRC spam folder
How & why?
The algorithms of PRC’s public e-mail address server tossed—as junk—numerous incoming e-mails by the hundreds which contained the project’s title and/or role(s) sought. Yahoo’s e-mail server is programmed to divert multiple incoming inquiries in which the text of each e-mail hosts repeated words and/or phrases. Plus Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, AOL and other e-mail servers divert e-mails from unknown senders which contain large attachments. And so, the actors I actively sought were banished to spam.
Only because of my interest in this digital experiment was I aware of what was happening. Another casting director (or talent recruiter) would have deleted with a single mouse click and care not the long digital list of actors unjustly tossed into the spam folder.
2. Audition appointments were never received by actors
This was the more shocking…
There were unrepresented actors to whom my office replied to and set up audition appointments. A number of these, to various e-mail servers (the most popular among actors being Gmail), were diverted into actors’ spam folders. Even a director’s request for an actress could not sway Yahoo from swiping away the young thespian’s audition appointment into a spam folder.
My office e-mailed the actress with an appointment. She never responded. Follow-up was made by my office to the actress via the only contact we had; her e-mail address. She never showed for her audition. Both the director and producer inquired as to her location several times during the audition day.
She was in South Carolina.
The actress had only discovered the appointment (and the multiple follow-up inquiries) in her spam folder after her audition day came and went.
Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail and AOL have also tossed e-mails from my office to recipients with whom I’ve had past electronic correspondence because the e-mails sent to associates contained identical text. And these e-mails were not mass marketing materials. I was corresponding requested information.
Similar has happened when a producer I’ve had electronic correspondence since the mid-1990s sent an important missive to my private, domain based e-mail. The e-mail was junked by my Outlook because the e-mail had a large attachment over 5 MB.
Why is this happening more than previously noticed? E-mail delivery is at the unmerciful whim of Silicon Valley techno-geek programmers who set algorithms which decide whether or not digital communications are received by you or delivered to your communication targets. E-mail platforms are becoming more stringent as to what and who can contact you. Over zealous algorithms now block desired dialogue; lumping your e-mails for seeking work with erectile dysfunction medication pitches.
You get what you pay for. ‘Free’ e-mail does not equal assured delivery. The U.S.P.S. delivers to a brick and mortar mail box. Never to a spam folder.
My office will return to actively seeking land mail submissions and calling out appointments via the phone.
I know that many actors will not respond to my outreach for land mailings as those short-sighted actors whine that sending land mail takes too much time, effort, plus a dollar and spare change. To which I answer, you will receive in return what you pay for, which more than likely will be nothing.
Regular Answers for Actors readers will recall what three talent agents and two casting directors recently asserted in an Answers for Actors post how actors were placing themselves into obscurity in order to save a twenty dollar bill or two with their marketing. Successful businesses (actors are each an individual business) know that to reach their target consumer (in an actor’s case; casting and/or talent representation) multiple outreach platforms must be engaged.
As the owner of your business which is you; don’t rely on e-mail as your only outreach to your consumers. Diversify to multiply opportunity.
Paul (P.S. Please share with your peer actors this important post.)
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 writes a column for Back Stage and 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 www.PaulRussell.net.
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