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Tony
Your site is so great, it makes researching the business sooo much easier having all the info in one place! thankyou thankyou thankyou.
Amada, aspiring actress, Sydney, Australia

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Hi Tony!
Most people don’t even take the time to tell a person how to reach their goal. I want to thank you for everything and for responding to my messages. Sometimes I just test people to see if they really care about my career and you do. You can continue to send me some tips on how I can accomplish my goals, because you inspire me a lot. Thank you for caring.
Jeffrey, Dallas, TX

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Hi Tony!
Just wanted to say that this site is FANTASTIC! It's helped me quite a bit and it's now my #1 bookmarked item, which means I'm going to be visiting here regularly :) Thanks again,
Rob, aspiring actor, Canada

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Hi!
I absolutely love your site - it's SOOOO helpful and very impressive!
I am a frequent visitor and have signed up for the newsletter, plus I think it's so good I have recommended it to all my acting friends! Thank you for creating such a wonderful website!
Mischa, UK

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Wow Tony! I would just like to comment on how much you have affected my life.
First of all, any questions I have are answered extremely fast, and not only that, you give me a very helpful answer every time. Also, by reading your newsletters, I obtain just the right information that I need to succeed in the acting business. I am so happy I discovered your site, and I hope you know how much we actors appreciate you. Thanks again, and I can't wait to read your next newsletter!
Laura Doukas, Actress

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Tony,
I did what you said and…I got two interviews with two agents! Thank you! Sorry but can I ask you…how do I prepare to go meet the agent? What do I have to do?
Marsha P., New York, NY, USA

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This site has taught me a lot that I needed to know without dragging me all over the place.
Lauren, actress, Atlanta, GA

An Actor Website:
7 Reasons Why You Should Get One Now!
Interview (part II) With
Amy Russ of ActorWebs.com

ActorWebs.com Founder & President, Amy Russ

Tony: So tell me a little bit now about ActorWebs.com.

Amy: We love our business. What can I say? We really do. And we love our clients. We now have well over a hundred clients who use our services regularly. We were actually the first in New York to offer this kind of service. Back in 2003 there were people asking all kinds of questions like: Why do I need a web presence? Why do I even need a website? What is a domain name? Etc. So we came up with a basic package that consists of domain name registration, web hosting and some templates that I designed myself and that we customize for our clients according to their needs. The package is literally everything they need to have an actor website.

We have requests for completely customized websites, something that is becoming increasingly more common. We also design for businesses, non-profit organizations and that kind of thing as well. Our main niche, however, is performers and actors.

Tony: What are the benefits are of having an actor website?

Amy: I’m so glad you asked! It is really the most efficient and cost-effective way to market yourself as an actor. Your photos are there. Your résumé is there. Your video reel is there. Your bio is there. This is much better than having to mail your reel overnight to a casting office. It used to be that either the actor or the agent would package up a reel and send it off to a casting director. Stick it in the mail and overnight it. You had to pay for copies, postage and time. Instead, now I can say to the person or agency who requests my materials, “Just go to my website and there it is.” We also have the capability to upload audio files.

The other thing is, résumés in paper form quickly become outdated. The casting directors’ or agents’ offices have a copy of your résumé in their files that has to be manually updated. If you have an actor website, you can update your résumé frequently and it will always be current for anyone who visits your website.

So your website can be updated more frequently with less effort to always portray an accurate image of you. That way people can get information instantaneously. That’s what they want now.

Another advantage of having an actor website is that it can help you increase your fan base. A lot of actors say, “I don’t have any fans.” Or “I don’t need fans.” Or “Why would I need to have fans?” My answer to that is, “Well isn’t that the whole point? You are an actor and the fans are really who you are working for. So if you don’t have any fans, you better get some!

Tony: Please talk a little bit about that and tell my readers why that is so important; especially for someone who is just starting his/her career.

Amy: If you have fans, you are more likely to get cast, because the ratings will go up when your fans watch the show you’re on. If you are in theatre, doing a show and you get your fans to come to the show, ticket sales will go up. You’re doing it for the audience really. Remember, this is a business and it should be treated as such.

I’ll give you an example. I was on the very last episode of The Sopranos. I was cast for a small role in a very important and intense scene. I played an FBI agent. I had no lines in the scene, which lasted about thirty seconds. One minute after the episode aired, I started getting fan mail from all over. It was crazy! If I hadn’t had a website, this would not have happened in this way. Lots of people visit my site that I don’t even know. Now more people know who I am. They posted on message boards that if there is a movie, they want my character to come back, etc. That’s great publicity for me and makes those who read those messages curious, who then come and visit my site and watch my reel.

One hand washes the other. You can’t have a career without fans. You can’t have fans without a career.

Of course when you start out you won’t have any fans except your family and friends. But that’s where you start. It’s basically like having a mailing list. You can call it a fan club or mailing list. You let them know what you are doing. Maybe you’ll be on Law & Order or on a soap or whatever. It’s nice to keep them informed. It’s part of your marketing. You need to let people know that stuff.

Another benefit is, that your website will always be there working for you 24/7. You won’t have to receive phone calls at odd hours from someone who needs to see your résumé, headshot, bio, reel or whatever and then be stressed about how you are going to get it to them. You won’t have to switch your day around, because you have to drop it off or go to the post office. It will always be available online.

You have all your stuff in one place! How many times have you been in a show and they say, “Ok people, we need your bios by tomorrow morning. Now you don’t have to find it and update it at the last minute. It’s right there online!

You can also sell merchandise on your actor website. For example there’s Kimberly Estrada, who is also one of my website models. She’s been on Lost and Deal or No Deal, among other things. She is a beautiful woman and she started getting requests for autographed photos and posters of herself. So we set up a store for her on her site and she now takes orders for the photos and posters and sends the proceeds to her favorite charity.

Another example - I have a client who is a voice-over artist, who has her own studio in her home and works all the time. She asked me if it would be possible for her customers to pay her directly online with a credit card. So we set up a page for her where that would be possible.

Tony: So let’s sum up the key benefits. Correct me if I’m wrong:

1. The most efficient and cost effective way to show your work instantaneously
2. It can be updated easily and quickly.
3. It will help increase your fan base.
4. You can sell merchandise or information from your actor website.
5. You can have your customers pay you directly online.
6. You can save time and money now that you won’t have to send out your demo reels.
7. You have everything in one place!

Tony: Who is your typical client?

Amy: There really is no such thing. I have one child actress, whose mother got her site for her. She’s really just starting out. I also have clients who are Broadway actors as well as others who do television and film.

Tony: If I were a customer asking you to create an actor website, since I don’t know anything at all about how to do it, I would appreciate getting some advice along the way. Do you do that for your customers or do you just put up a site like they tell you they want it.

Amy: We always build the site the customer wants. If there are no glaring mistakes, either in the copy or in the design modifications the client suggests, then we do it they way they want it. But if someone asks for more input on their content (résumé format, photo choices, video clip length, etc.) we’re happy to help.

Tony: Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers about ActorWebs?

Amy: If you need a website and really don’t know where to begin, we’re here to help. It’s really not scary. We take care of everything for you. We make it easy and painless. We want to represent you the way you want to be represented, help you put your best foot forward and complete your marketing toolbox. A website is a very important marketing tool. We’re here to help you pull it all together with a professional actor website.

We offer a host of other services as well, such as:

Express Email Marketing to promote your latest projects and keep track of your mailing list.

Fax Thru Email so agents can fax you your sides on your computer.

Online File Folder: so you can access your files from any computer, which is a great convenience when you’re on the road.

Podcast: You can create your own podcast and upload it. Podcasting is a way to publish your own audio and video files. People can sign up for it or subscribe to your rss feed. It really is another tool to help the actor get seen and/or get his/her voice out there.

Amy Russ is founder and President of ActorWebs.com , an online company that offers full service website design for actors and artists of all types.

To read the other part of the interview with Amy and to see and hear more about her actor website business ActorWebs.com click here.

Exclusive Actor Website Interview
This is an exclusive interview of Amy Russ, President of ActorWebs.com. No part of this interview may be used or copied without the express written consent of Anthony Smith, President of ActingCareerStartUp.com.

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