Can You Be an Actor Without Social Media?
I Get It.
If anyone understands the resentment, bitterness and frustration that comes up for some artists around the topic of social media, it’s the man writing this very post.
When I was a client working with Joshua, I refused to consider Marketing in any way…especially social media. To make my case to him, I wrote a multi-page manifesto on the ills of social media and marketing in general. It was masterfully titled “Why I Hate Marketing.” Joshua, with patience I now have the hindsight to admire, listened to my concerns and respected my opinions.
Can you be an actor without social media? Without, what I saw as, pimping yourself and your art out into the world, desperately seeking validation and likes, engaging in a false fantasy world?
Sure! Look at Daniel Day-Lewis, or Joaquin Phoenix, they don’t have Instagrams. Why should I?! After all, I want to have careers like those guys. Be respected like those guys. Twitter is too petty for a “true” artist.
Newsflash: “Life’s Not Fair”
Though I respect Joshua’s patience with me, I do wish someone could have walked up to me at the time and knocked some sense into me. Here I was, comparing myself to massive celebrities and other successful actors without social media, all the while I was struggling with —
- Financial insecurity
- Not enough opportunities (even with agents!)
- Not connected to the stature of people I needed to know.
In other words…I was running a bad business.
We all know that life is unfair, there are some wildly successful actors who have the luxury of paying their business no mind, or get to cherry pick which elements of their business they want to focus on.
If there’s one thing you take away from this post, it’s that the percentage of people who are able to get away with that is infinitesimal when viewed alongside the scores of actors scraping together a living. Running an effective business, which includes a strong marketing game, is a necessity for a majority of us to build a stable and successful career.
So, Can You Be An Actor Without Social Media?
Of course you can. Now, can you be an actor with a stable and sustainable career without social media? Sure. But you have seriously narrowed the amount of opportunities available to you and therefore chances of that actually happening.
Let’s say an esteemed Off-Broadway theater is deciding between casting you and another actor in a play. Both of you are great actors, both of you would bring great things to the part. But the other actor has 100K followers. Who are they going to cast? The person who will provide free marketing and who comes with their own built-in audience, of course! Why wouldn’t they? They gotta sell tickets don’t they? That’s not “unfair”, how else is the theater supposed to support itself?
There’s a budding indie filmmaker you really want to work with but you have no idea how to make it happen. However, if you had a Facebook you find out you have 20 mutual friends in common with this filmmaker. You strategize a way to connect to this filmmaker, who accepts a friend request you have sent them. Now all of the content you put out is seen by the filmmaker, even if for a moment. If the content is good, they begin to engage with it. Now, they are casting for their next micro budget indie…you might be front of mind now to ask to come in and audition. Guess what, it happens all the time.
Social media is a powerful tool, but with great power comes great responsibility. We are all aware of the negative effects of social media: as an addiction, a time-suck, a misused platform to seek validation, a false reality where often one compares and despairs. Therefore, we must set structure and limits around our social media engagement and begin to view it strictly as a business tool, that’s all. Remember there are only 2 types of people on social media, consumers and sellers.
Dealt with healthily and with proper perspective, social media only creates opportunities. If you don’t think you need to create opportunities like this, that your talent will shine through and create magic for you, Godspeed!