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Why Fans are Important – Even for Unknown Actors

Tahir Register Contest Pageviews

How many fans can a beginning actor have?

I don’t mean someone who is on TV right now, or on stage in NYC, or even in a commercial somewhere on the internet. I’m talking about a beginning actor, new to the business, and just getting started.

During the recent NYC headshots contest I sponsored, I found out… the overwhelming winner of the contest, Tahir Register, received 426 votes–and this is from an actor who is still in college! Tahir is just on the threshold of his career, and yet he already has a web presence, has active fans on Facebook, and runs his own record label. And he has 426 people who believe in him enough to not only support him, but to follow through with action on his behalf. Did I mention he’s 19?

Here’s a young actor with his head on straight… as I mentioned yesterday in my post about Lucas Cruikshank, becoming succesful as an actor is almost entirely dependent on hard work. Yes, talent is a major factor, but agents, casting directors, producers, and everyone in between take for granted that an actor has talent. There are millions of talented performers out there… but very few who are willing to put in hard work.

How do you find talent?

Have you ever wondered how new talent is discovered?

Without fail it’s almost always through relationships. Personal relationships, accidental relationships, work relationships… in business (and entertainment is a business), we tend to trust our colleagues and personal contacts more than anything else. So when an actor comes recommended by a personal contact, entertainment professionals are more likely to listen up.

So how does having 426 friends make this happen?

Simple math, folks!

Why your acting career depends on math

You’ve heard of six degrees of separation, right? This is the idea that if a person is one step away from each person they know and two steps away from each person who is known by one of the people they know, then everyone is at most six steps away from any other person on Earth.

If you have two “fans” (let’s say your best friend and your cousin), don’t you think those people would do anything they could to support you? See the play you’re in, vote for you in a contest, watch you in a small role on TV? And don’t you think they would probably tell their friends and family about your next performance? If your two fans each know four people, then that’s a total of ten people who could somehow end up supporting your career.

Now do the math on 426 fans.

If each of those people only knows two people, that’s 1,278 people! Now it’s hard to believe that Tahir’s 426 fans only know two people each, so I think it’s safe to say that number is about ten times lower than reality. So the real number is upwards of 10,000 people.

What do you think the odds are that out of that many people, someone is in the entertainment industry?

The odds are pretty high!

Promote your acting career, encourage your fans

With Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites, when you promote your acting career, your friends see that information, and pass it along to their friends. With each interaction, there’s a possibility that someone you don’t even know could see your info, check out your website, online demo reel, video clip, song, or whatever it is you do.

But it’s only possible if you have fans.

Our other contest winner, Calvin Winbush, told me that when he was encouraging people to vote for him in the contest, he realized that somehow, many of his friends and connections didn’t even know he was an actor. What a realization! You can bet they know now!

Your connections, your friends, family, work colleagues, your fans are what push you forward in this business. These are the people who will see your plays, watch you on TV, vote for you on American Idol… whatever you are doing as a performer, you can only be successful if people are in the audience. And producers, directors and industry people care first and foremost about butts in seats–audience members.

If you already have an audience, you’re already well on your way to a successful career.

So ask yourself:

  • Do you know who your fans are?
  • Is it easy for them to find out what you’re up to?
  • Do you look like an actor (headshot, resume, photos or demos of performances)?

Your fans are your life-blood… know who they are, and give them a reason to follow you. And be sure to thank them, often, for caring enough to support you. They’re responsible for your success just as much as you are.

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