By Neil Turitz
Do you want more attention for your acting career, and you think social media is the way to do it? There’s Instagram, Snapchat. Twitter and of course, Facebook, but a lot of those are for personalities, rather than actors. If you want people to sit up and take notice of your actual talents, then none of these are really going to work. For some, there are YouTube channels, but those can also be specialized, usually best used for comedy sketches and the like, and less so to actually showcase someone’s dramatic chops.
That’s where something like a blog comes in. For some actors, taking the time to pontificate about acting and sharing it with others, or even to showcase their abilities on a webpage of their own design, is as much a part of who they are and what they’re trying to accomplish as the art itself. For these folks who consistently put their thoughts out there for others, what began as an effort to publicize their own work has turned into something else entirely.
“I watched a lot of Inside the Actor’s Studio, and would read about other big actors, and it occurred to me that you never hear from a working actor just trying to make it,” says Matt Shevin, the creator of the blog, Inside the Actor’s Studio Apartment. “That seemed like an easy angle. I wanted to come from the point of view of someone who loves what he does and is working his butt off to make it, and give that perspective to people who might need it.”
Lira Kellerman started The Struggling Actress blog back in 2009, and when she did, it was as much about taking control of her own career as it was about getting some attention for her acting. “It seemed to be a much quicker way to journal than to write everything in a notebook with a pen,” she says. “I’ve always considered myself a creative, and since we have such little control over our acting careers, I found much more creative control as a blogger. If I’m not doing something creative, a piece of me dies, so my blog was my creative outlet.”
What both performers soon learned is that, more than helping themselves and their own careers, their public writings were doing wonders for others. Suddenly, each blog was about offering advice and guidance to people wanting to chase the dream, be it in the form of audition advice, or how to maneuver through Los Angeles, or even whether or not to move there. “My path ended up being long and windy, and I thought, wouldn’t it have been nice for me to have a free resource that showed me all the shortcuts?” Kellerman says. “And so that’s what The Struggling Actress became; a blog for newer actors to get their bearings a little quicker in LA. I’m very proud of that. I consider myself a helper, and I’ve helped so many, all for free. I became that resource for others that I wish I had, and I feel a deep sense of pride and community within that.”
Likewise, Shevin had a similar epiphany. “I get emails from everywhere, all over the world, from actors thanking me for helping them,” he says with wonder. “A lot of young actors have blatantly told me that I was the reason they made the decision to come out to L.A. One of the main reasons I started writing this was to encourage people on the fence to come out and do this, and the fact that so many have is really gratifying. Everyone should chase their dream, and I firmly believe that everyone can make it, if they put in the time and the work, so I really push people to take the leap.”
Lance Carter first started the Daily Actor blog 10 years ago, and like the others, it was initially about getting some attention for himself and his own career. But through the first six or eight months of doing it, he realized he’d only posted a handful of times, and had become bored with the whole thing. Then, as a sort of flight of fancy, he posted an item about Matt Damon, and suddenly, for the first time, he had some genuine traffic. From there, he began posting articles, quotes from actors about acting, tips for his readers, and then hired a couple writers to fill out the site even more. Soon, the blog became something much larger than he had imagined, providing a valuable service for his readers.
“I wanted to become an online resource for other actors,” he explains. “And honestly, I feel a little selfish about it, because when people reach out to tell me that I’ve done something for them, it makes me feel good, that I get to help people like this. I like helping my acting peeps. I absolutely love doing this. I edit people’s reels, I do airchecks for people, and I never thought it would morph into this. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else, apart from being a full time actor, of course. But I just love this, and I am constantly thinking about how to improve it, and how to help other actors. It’s always in the back of my mind.”
if you’ve sensed a theme here, it’s that creating a blog might not help your acting career, but it most definitely will act as a beacon for those who need it, and will also help you creatively. One of the hard things about being an actor is having to be at the mercy of others. The easiest way around that is to create your own material and opportunities, and that’s where writing comes in.
For Kellerman, Shevin, and Carter, the constant creative outlet has led to more opportunities than they might have otherwise had. Kellerman is working as a writer, and Shevin is about to shoot a pilot that he wrote. Carter actually makes a living running his site, so that he doesn’t even need a day job, he can just focus on the site and his acting. What they also all have in common is the genuine grace and good feeling they all get from helping others, using their own experiences to act as a guiding light for those who need it.
That, it would seem, is reason enough to jump in and do it.
For your own resources check out their sites here: