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A Hollywood Story: How To Market Your Work As An Actor In The Business

In high school, Los Angeles-based Kevin Michael Moran had decided on a career in show business, but with acting gigs few and far between and bills not getting paid, this thespian took a hiatus at age 38. A man with keen insight, Kevin knew it was time for life's intermission so he joined DO (Debtors Anonymous), dusted off his college degree in English and studied for his teaching credential. A year later he was known as Mr. Moran, the high school teacher. Mr. Moran's new starring role lasted two decades, but he never stopped paying his Screen Actors Guild union dues. Here's how this determined performer got back on his original track, with his marketing strategy being all important.

Kevin Michael Moran
(Photo courtesy of Kevin Michael Moran)

What enabled you to get back into an acting career?

I had a game plan. Become financially secure, get a decent pension and then pick up where I left off. However, eight years before I taught my final class, I began a soft return to acting by auditioning for plays and musicals in order to start beefing up my resume, my small business' most marketable byproduct, and I performed at least one per year.

How did you market yourself as a person who is also the product?

I knew that since I am my most prime marketing tool, I needed to have new headshots taken. I also needed to update my resume with each new casting, and I needed to start posting on various sites, like Actors Access and L.A. Casting Network.

How did you augment these marketing practices?

I signed up for ongoing acting and voice lessons, and I took part in a six-week workshop in which actors meet casting directors, television network representatives and other show business experts. During this time, I knew that finding an agent was paramount, but I did not have an updated reel of myself, which is a must for everyone who works in front of the camera. My old reel showed appearances in "All My Children" were from the 1980s, and I knew that wouldn't cut it. So, I started auditioning for student films and was cast in four in the past year. Ironically, one role was as a high school teacher. Anyway, those appearances provided enough of me working so I was ready to compile my new reel.

What other marketing practices have you used to increase your business presence as an actor?

I no longer need to blindly knock on an agents' doors in order to find someone to represent me. That is all thanks to the internet. I set up a page showing my resume, and I repeatedly made sure my credits on IMDB (Internet Movie Database) stayed current. Then, I digitally sent my resume and headshots to various agents, and I did the same when responding to postings for job possibilities found in the show business trade publications.

Did this process work?

Yes! I was initially cast for a small spot on a web series, and I also took a job as an extra where I caught the eye of the director who promoted me to recite a few lines once I was on set.

How do you keep your marketing efforts going?

I am constantly updating a list of everyone I know who works in show business. One by one, I invite them for coffee during which time I tell them stories about my two careers and about my progress and my struggles. Also, there is networking. Although I have made the choice to never ask for favors, friends seem to want to help, and tell me they will let me know if something comes up.

What has been your most promising marketing result?

Although I only have a small body of work of my current acting jobs, I have been working hard to promote myself enough to find an agent. And I did. I happened to see an agent's small ad looking for clients on the back of Backstage magazine, and so I sent him my resume and my headshot. As luck would have it, this agency has two divisions: theatrical and commercial. I would have been happy to have been chosen to be represented for one or the other, but the agency decided I had the right look and the right ability to be signed up for both.


This article was written by Jane Lasky for CBS Small Business Pulse.

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