The number of inappropriate, off-putting ways some actors and VO talent go about using social media never ceases to amaze me.
And I feel sorry for them – they either figure they’ll give it a go, and see what happens, or they’ve gotten bad advice from someone on how to use social media for business purposes.
I got a brief, off-hand request on LinkedIn the other day from an actor. Let’s call him Michael.
His subject line (no body, just a subject) asked me to introduce him, on LinkedIn, to a casting director I’m connected with there. Let’s call her Jamie.
My note back to him had the subject line “No, I can’t introduce you to Jamie.”
And I also included a direct and to the point note:
Time for some tough love, Michael. I’m usually really sweet about this, but you look like you’re a tough guy. You can take it.
Here it is:
Asking me, or any other actor, to introduce you to a casting director on any social network is pure suicide for everyone involved.
There’s even a name for it: social stalking. Casting directors, associates and assistants hate it. They turn on actors who try to do it.
That’s not how it’s done. Ever. And as a SAG-AFTRA actor with the experience you have in the business, frankly, you should know better than to ask.
Here’s hoping this was a one-time case of lack of knowledge and bad judgment, and not a regular occurrence.
Tough love session over.
If there’s anything I can help you with, please ask. This isn’t one of them.
(To the dozens of casting dudes and dudettes I’m connected with on all the social networks, you’re very welcome.)
The ways to network with casting directors are many and varied (including workshops, networking events, seminars, casting service mixers, appearances at SAG-AFTRA, volunteering, interning, auditioning and generals, just to name a few), but they do not include unsolicited connections made on social networks.
And don’t ask. Don’t ever put your fellow actor in the uncomfortable position of having to decline your request, or worse, do what you want.
No social stalking, OK?
Hope this helps! Give me your thoughts on this in the comments below.
Similar experience on FB but can’t remember exactly whom they wanted me to connect them to. And might not have been anyone in particular, just people in the industry. Basically, I said I wouldn’t be able to help them out because one, I didn’t know them or their work and wouldn’t jeopardize my reputation in that way without knowing if they even have any talent. Two, I’ve worked hard to gain the relationships I have and they would need to do the same.
Thanks, David, for taking the time to share this important lesson. Your straightforward, uncompromising communication style really speaks to your credibility. There are so few people I have experienced who can deal with difficult situations as effectively, make it look easy, and still maintain an open, approachable and helpful character, rather than simply shutting down the offender. Of course, those who are completely self-absorbed won’t get it, but an honest rebuke will make an indelible impression on a sincere heart. Thank you for being a sane and fair-minded oasis in an irrational, egocentric world.
I so appreciate the kind words. But…
…you should have seen his response. He didn’t want or need my help, and was not afraid to call me names.
Oh, well. He’ll learn. Maybe.
Thanks, David. You saved us from having to think of a polite yet meaningful answer to that sort of request. Now that I read your comment on the answer you got back I’m thinking some people are such boors they don’t even deserve an answer. Thanks for your ongoing helpfulness.
Nicely and kindly managed. Glad to know the rule of etiquette tho I would usually presume not to ask if not first offered.
There are articles here on how to do it right. Follow them, retweet, share their posts, make insightful, at times, pithy comments, build a relationship, don’t market. Make it about them, or that cat video they shared, NOT you.
Thank you for sharing. My whole fear of the internet and putting myself out there, is why I haven’t delved into this work before.A whole new world, and we have to trust our own integrity when dealing with situations like this.
Speaking the truth with love. Well done, David.
Sorry you had to deal with that. I tried something once that worked well. When asked if I could recommend someone to someone else, I wrote back and said, “If you want me to spend my time doing you a favor when you are not a current student of mine, PayPal me $100 first.” She was angry, but she didn’t lash back.
I got that idea from former cast mate Sigourney Weaver who used to charge a dollar if someone wanted an autograph.
And it seems nowadays everyone is doing it and Sigourney has raised her fee.
I used to sign them for free, and then I found out the pros were selling them for $50 and up. I won’t sign anymore without doing with others now do.
Here’s that link if you want to read about it: https://forum.dvdtalk.com/archive/t-620440.html
Nicely said, David. Of course your advice is broadly applicable to other professions, as well.
Thanks, David. I do know there are “tips” out there that suggest to actors that a way to meet an agent is to be bold and get introduced by a connection. Unless a person has never put a puzzle together, those connections have to be a perfect fit and make sense before even considering that option. As some others have mentioned, this also puts a friend or colleague in an awkward position. Oh, and at least put a subject on the subject line. That is usually a flag for automatic deletion. ;) Have a great non social stalking day. Mary
I love the spirited reply, David. It’s what I appreciate in you so much, probably because I’m from the East Coast. Straight talk, good info and no BS. Grazi again.!
Perfectly said. Thanks, David.