Agency Advice: Promoting and Marketing yourself as a performer

Let’s start with the obvious questions? You want to be involved in Screen Action, but what career path would you like to go down? Stunt performer? Skilled supporting artist? Action actor or motion capture artist?

The important starting point is for you to have done your research into all of the above career paths, to understand each of the roles and what they involve. Some performers may dabble in all of the above careers, there’s plenty of crossover in this industry as you progress through your chosen career path.

Once you have completed some background research, it all comes down to one simple thing? How bad do you want it?

Pursuing any of the above career paths will involve hard work and training, there is simply no quick fix, secret formula. There is no magic wand that you can wave and poof you’re on set next to Jason Statham. Applying for the British Stunt Register, for example, will involve years of hard graft training to meet the standards for the 6 skills system, not including any additional essential training including screen combat training, specific stunt skill training, firearms for film, and a physical acting course.

The next consideration is the expense, training certainly will not come cheap. However, would this not be the case for any worthwhile career path? We like to think of the training as an investment, of course, you will be shelling out money, to begin with, but the simple fact is that if you work hard and get work, your investment will be paid off sooner than you think. For example, a skilled supporting artist/action actor or mocap performer will earn approximately £200 per day. If you trained in all areas you would spend in the region of £4,000. 20 days on set and your investment has already been paid off! Whilst performance courses may seem expensive, they are priced relative to earning potential.

Can you pay off a degree loan in 20 days?

Do you stand out above the rest?

The action industry is highly competitive, full of extremely talented individuals. We are heading into an exciting time with more TV and film productions being made in the UK, thanks to streaming services such as Netflix. However, there are approximately 4,000 people in the UK who can make a full-time living out of being a skilled supporting artist.

The majority of our students who work full time in the industry are Advance Screen Combatants. The conclusion to this is if you want to make this career work you must stand out and be the cut above the rest. You need to ask yourself what you can do to stand out.

You are your own business

We are not advising that you will need a master's degree in business studies, but to become a performer you are going to be self-employed and will need to brush up on your business acumen. You are your own business, you are a brand, you will need the mindset of a company director and you will need to market yourself. Marketing is a skill that you will need to be accomplished in for a successful career in this industry. You will need to learn how to become a marketeer and to work and utilise social media to your advantage.

Image is everything

A casting decision for a job is made in a blink of an eye, by someone who doesn't know you. The casting director's eye glances over your headshots which are nestled in with dozens of other performers, so it is of vital importance to get good and/or professional headshots and body shots. We would recommend a good action shot as this could be the tipping point in a casting decision!

You don’t have to spend hundreds of pounds on obtaining professional photos. We live in the age of Instagram where most phones have great cameras and amazing filter apps.

You would be surprised at the number awful head and body shots we have seen at the Britsh Action Academy. Keep your selfies for Instagram not part of your professional portfolio, and ensure your student portal is updated regularly with the up to date shots of you to market your brand!

Showreels

Once you have got to a good level in your training (we recommend Warrior Masterclass Phase III pass standard) and you are happy with your skills or you have worked on some productions we would advise that you get a showreel organised.

A showreel will showcase your action skills and talents, and will capture the attention of the viewer within 10secs!
You don’t need to spend a lot of money on a professional videographer. You can video your showreel on a phone and edit this in something like iMovie!

Create your content. We have had many students in the past get together to make their short films, recording their fights and many have gained work by creating this content.

Additional pearls of wisdom

We would highly recommend getting a car. If you can’t drive, then learn. As a performer, you need to be mobile. You can hire cars for a day if you need to get to a shoot. Some students pay their friends to drive them to shoots.

Don’t oversell your skill. If you can’t do something, be honest. It’s ok and it won’t be held against you.

If you are starting afresh in the industry and trying to establish a name for yourself, don’t tell your agency the work is too far away for you. Do whatever you can to get there. You can always ask your agent if they can negotiate travel for you.

Remember, if you won’t do the job, someone else will and they might make a great impression on set that day and get called for more work. This happens all the time.

Make a good impression on the Assistant Director and Head of Departments. Many of our students get personally requested by the crew. That’s the position you want to be in.

It’s ok to say you’re not available for the job. That won’t impact on how your agent feels about you. We do, however always call people we KNOW will pick up their phones and do everything they can to take the job.

Here are some of our top tips for a successful career in the film and TV industry;

  • Impress people on set.
  • Go over and above to be helpful and an asset to your agency and Head of departments.
  • Have the right “can do” attitude and go above and beyond
  • Train in as many high-level skills as possible, don’t be average like all the rest.
  • Keep training and improving. It NEVER stops!
  • When starting, accept as many jobs as you can, even if the rate is not ideal or they are unpaid. Use it as a networking opportunity to sell your brand!
Created by Jo Quinn on 27 Jan 2020

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