No matter how much networking I do, how much I make use of Facebook, Social Media and marketing myself, I always end up asking myself: ‘Am I doing enough?’ And despite my best efforts, I always say a resounding ‘No’. Why? I have no idea.
The past five years of actively marketing myself aggressively online, produces a situation now, where if Daniel Jude Gennis is googled, a wealth of information is produced. Information that demonstrates Daniel is a hard working Actor, is good at marketing himself, building Social Media Networks, writing articles online via his Blog, contributes to debates, stimulates debate, builds and maintains websites. The list goes on. Trouble is doesn’t lead to me being hired as an Actor, Writer, Researcher, Web Developer or anything else. I keep asking myself the question ‘Am I doing enough’. The answer is always the same ‘No’, despite the physical evidence being in front of me, that I actually am doing all I can and more. Another question then beckons: ‘If I am doing the best I can to promote and market myself, then why aren’t my efforts producing the desired results?’ I have yet to find the answer to this particular question. I have discussed the role of ‘Social Media Proprietor’ in another entry so won’t reiterate here but please feel free to read it (https://danieljude.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/the-social-media-proprietor/). Very informative but let’s look at what I am doing on a daily basis.
In ‘The Social Media Proprietor’, I explained how I used various social media websites, registering, building a profile on each site and then integrating and linking them together to build a social media network. For example, if I write an article for my Blog, when I published it, WordPress tells my Twitter Account which will display a message and link to the Blog Article. Twitter in turn will tell my LinkedIn, IMDb and any of my Social Media Accounts that are linked to my Twitter Account.
Twitter is a great broadcasting tool in no one necessarily needs to be a subscriber to Twitter to see one’s transactions and communication to others on Twitter. A simple Google search or putting in a name search on Twitter’s Website will produce the above. Unlike Facebook, it is actually possible to communicate with the most elusive of people. One case in point was my conversation with one of the top Casting Directors in the UK. I have never really made any attempt to contact this gentleman, as I had heard stories of people who spend years trying to get a meeting with him. I just happened to be watching an adventure series and noted on Twitter he was plugging the show. So asked about the casting of that series. He surprised me by responding and saying he spent a year of his life on that show. I was quite interested and asked some more about his work and he asked me who my agent was. The result was we are following each other on Twitter.
So from a Social Media point of view I would say I am doing everything I possibly can to network and promote myself.
Facebook and their Timeline
Since Facebook introduced the Timeline feature, I was initially at a loss as to how I could make the best use of this new feature. Eventually I embraced it and began using it. I no longer use my Facebook Timeline to promote my work and career but rather to promote my personal interests, sharing thoughts, ideas and pictures, illustrations and my photography, by linking the latter via my profile on the Behance Network to my Timeline. In terms of promoting my career I use Facebook Pages in my professional and company names, promoting my work and business interests in that manner on Facebook. One does not have to put in Friendship Requests as on my personal profile (which now has high security settings due to a breach of trust by people I trusted). Rather the public can access both my professional and company pages on Facebook so both pages are strictly professional.
YouTube and Copyright Issues
Apart from watching music videos, official and unofficial self-made ones where no fees are paid to music publishers, I have never had to use YouTube until fairly recently, when I set up my own Video Channel. And that has not been without its fair share of problems.
Firstly it seemed virtually impossible to stream anything beyond ten minutes in length on YouTube, which is why perfectly good products are split unnecessarily into episodic parts. I found a way around the problem and was now able to upload and stream content of various lengths. Content that I actually appeared in. And this is where I learned a very hard lesson.
I worked on a horror film a couple of years ago. It was released late in 2011 across multiple platforms, the cinema, DVD/Blu-ray and streamed across the Web. All at the same time. Not long after this, I came across a clip on YouTube where I make my first appearance in that film. Great showreel stuff I thought. I downloaded it, uploaded it to my Website and forgot about it. It was only when I created my Video Channel on YouTube and began uploading stuff that I remembered this clip and uploaded it. Twice in fact. I was surprised a few weeks later when both clips were taken off due to copyright infringement. According to YouTube, this was at the request of the Production Company. I could understand why but the whole film was available in its entirety on YouTube and don’t seem to recall it being removed for some considerable time. Also I was in the actual clip that I uploaded. I was using the clip as part of collection of scenes to showcase my work and market myself as an actor. A friend of friend also had the same problem. She uploaded a scene from a TV Series she was in and almost immediately it was taken down. So how can a performer showcase their work on YouTube if it stands every chance of being taken down as an infringement of copyright? I suspected this might be a problem which is why I resisted setting up such a Channel on YouTube in the first place. Most of my work is featured on my Website in a ‘Video Resume’ section. Again when it doesn’t seem as if anything is working, you think what is the next best tool? And YouTube was the next best thing. And once I found out how to stream content longer than ten minutes then it seemed the next logical step. But if I everything I upload stands a chance of infringing copyright then my choice of YouTube needs a rethink. More so when one is subjected to a Video/Q and A test on Copyright infringement before you can continue using YouTube. If I can watch a whole black and white episode of Roger Moore as The Saint or Ian Carmichael in Lucky Jim (the full movie, ) on YouTube, what is the big deal about my using a scene I am in from a film I am actually in to promote my career? Go figure.
A Facebook/Twitter friend mentioned this to me. I have looked up the subject on Wikipedia and at something of a loss as to how this would progress my career any further. I am a little lost as to how doing things for the greater good is going to benefit me personally. I have spent four years working for one theatre director and never received so much as a day’s pay for all the hard work and personal sacrifices I had made over that time. He benefitted far more from my services, as he was getting my skills and experience for nothing. And when I finally made it clear via my writing about it, the abuse I got via emails was something to read.
Doing things for the greater good is something I have spent most of my life doing. And it has gotten me completely nowhere. While I appreciate the benefits Social Marketing can bring, on a personal level, it is not something I can afford. As I said above, I spent four years working in theatre and not making a penny in income, while that same director was commissioned to write a show for a friend of mine, got paid handsomely for it, then hijacked the idea from my friend when she was overseas and staged the show without her knowledge or consent. He gets paid via a lead from me, yet in four years, he was supposedly unable to pay me a single penny for my hard work, dedication and loyalty shown not only in appearing in his shows but actively promoting and marketing them. I think I will leave Social Marketing and things for the greater good to those who are best able to afford the privilege as well dealing with shyster theatre directors.
Where from here?
Social Media Marketing is where I am at and have been for the past five years. On the surface, everything I have done seems to work, online at least but as it is not getting me much needed work or auditions for the kind of work I want to do, I am always asking myself the same question. There is the issue of quality and that may be the one factor as to why I am not moving forward as I feel I should be. Like any showbiz professional I am a freelancer. If I don’t work, I don’t get paid. Previously I was investing a great deal of time and effort in theatre productions. And still, I was not getting paid.
Online content is King. So while theatre is the great bastion of Acting in the UK, unless it is filmed and filmed properly, one has nothing to show potential employer or investors in any future production one will be involved in. The solutions seem clear. Focus more on better quality work that showcases one’s talent and strengths and stop relying on others to employ you in the hope that when cast, you will featured favourable in the final cut of the finished product. I remember working damn hard on a short film production. After two years of telephone calls, emails and more telephone calls, I finally got a DVD of the film, only to find that all good scenes I appeared in ended up being deleted and what scenes I appeared in couldn’t be used to promote and market myself. Another example was working (unpaid,) at a film studio and being involved in scenes that were filmed as part of workshopping a film project. Great scenes but getting such things from the director was like getting blood out of a stone. That great maxim ‘that if a job needs to be done, you need to do it yourself’ applies more strongly now than it ever has.
And my experience as an Actor over the past ten years, tells me that is exactly what I need to do. Without exploiting and stepping on people while doing so. I have plenty of less than desirable role models as examples so know exactly what I don’t and won’t be doing.