The adage, “Fake it ‘til you make it,” can ring true in Hollywood, but the adage only works if no one knows your secret! How do you give yourself a competitive edge if you haven’t worked enough to put together a reel? Maybe you can’t make a reel that will catch attention, but you can still position yourself competitively by moving that direction.
The actor slate is a great way to get your presence and skills on camera. An actor slate is basically you being yourself and sharing a moving, breathing, talking version of what you would be like to work with in person. Be sure to have good sound, lighting, and a purpose when taping yourself. Share interesting things that people will remember later when they are relaxing at home. Sharing a moment, idea, or hobby with us that will make us visualize you as more than a headshot makes you become real to those watching. So much of what happens in this business is based on relationships – maximize the opportunity for decision makers to get to know YOU.
Another way to get a competitive edge is to set up and use a YouTube account. “Use” doesn’t mean watch all the videos you can find. “Use” means to create and post things that might be entertaining or interesting for other people to watch! After all, you’re a talent – you want to be seen, right? There are lots of examples of talent who have already capitalized on this route. On the flip side, be sure what you are posting is not going to leave a sour taste in anyone’s mouth. Interesting doesn’t have to mean lacking integrity or offensive.
Although your ultimate goal may be to make a smashing reel, there are other things you can do until you are able to collect the footage needed to do so.