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The Actor's Website: Dos and Don'ts

Posted by webtheatrekenya on January 23, 2015 at 4:10 PM Comments comments (0)


By Taryn Southern

Ah, your personal website. I can’t even count the number of my actor friends who have lost hours of their life, thousands of dollars, and several patches of hair in an attempt to get it right. It seems like it’s always a work in progress, heck, I was just emailing my coder yesterday asking for an update on old problems. Yes, it’s true, the whole processis simply frustrating. (Maybe even more so than those pesky auditions!) But it doesn’t have to be.


I’m always a fan of the DIY mantra, but unless you’re super skilled like Ben Whitehair or Ethan Newberry (actor/web designer/programmer extraordinaires), you’re going to have to get started by hiring a web designer. Or start dating one. Both are acceptable solutions.


Either way, you still need to know exactly what your site needs, what to avoid, and most importantly, how to communicate these needs to your web designer/coder.


Hopefully the following advice will help you avoid some of the more common website-related pitfalls.


Top 5 Mistakes Actors Make on Their Websites


1. Amateur Design - There’s a LOT of crap out there. Always look at a portfolio of someone’s work before hiring them, and remember that you usually get what you pay for. If someone’s former work looks like something from 1997, steer clear. An outdated website is worse than any website at all.


2. Third person updates - Unless you’re a huge star, it’s just plain weird to write your news and/or blog updates in the third person. It’s YOUR website, so people expect for it to be personal. The exception with this is your bio, which can be written in first or third person, but avoid mistake #3…


3. Overly pompous language - It is incredibly annoying to read bios peppered with cheesy self-importance, i.e. “With her incredible work ethic and talent, Taryn is on the rise to becoming Hollywood’s next big starlet!” Barf. Think like a journalist and stick to facts. What are your credits? Hobbies? Feel free to be funny, just not egotistical.


4. Flash website - Ten years ago, flash was the bomb diggity. Unfortunately, it’s quickly becoming a useless format because it’s not compatible with smart phones and iPads. (Not to mention the loading times can often be quite annoying.) Make sure your website is being built in HTML5, the most common and adaptable mark up language for the web.


5. Un-updateable website - If you can’t update your website with new photos, videos, bios, and/or news on your own, you’re going to have a heart attack . Make sure that however your site is built - through Joomla, Wordpress, or otherwise - that you have access to the back-end and you understand how to update the website elements. Have your designer walk you through the process when the site is complete so you can avoid having to email him/her with annoying updates.


Okay, so enough about mistakes, here’s what you absolutely NEED!


The 5 Essentials For An Actor’s Website


1. A business email - In addition to your agents/managers info, you need a way to be reached at all times Make the address separate from your personal email. Use Gmail, but feel free to customize if you see fit (i.e. [email protected])


2. Embedded reels - Make sure your reels are easy to find, and use the YouTube player. The HD quality is as good as ever, and it loads FAR faster than Vimeo. If you’re worried about privacy, you can keep the video unlisted on YouTube, so that only people who stop by your website can actually view it.


3. Promotional and/or behind the scenes photos - Just posting headshots is so boring, and only gives people a one-dimensional view of who you are. Include promotional photos, press photos (if you have them), and/or behind the scenes shots of you on set. Yay! Now you’re a real person, not just an “actor.”


4. Social media links - Make sure you include links to your Twitter and Facebook Fan Pages (if you have them) and encourage people to sign up for your email newsletter (if you have one).


5. Bio - A good bio goes a long way. If you can make it funny like this one, even better. You can include your credits on this page as well.


So now you know twhat to avoid AND what you need, but you don’t know a good designer/programmer?


If you don’t have a personal relationship with any, there are plenty of ways to find one online. You can post an ad on Craigslist with the budget you’re willing to spend, or post on, which is specifically tailored toward designers and programmers. On odesk, you specify exactly what you want, how many pages the website will include, etc., and wait as qualified designers and programmers bid you for the job! Just make sure you request someone who can both design AND code the site or you’ll end up incurring more costs down the line.


If you don’t need something built from scratch, peruse Wordpress themes (see example Wordpress theme portfolios in my previous column and set it up yourself using this free guide.


In the spirit of keeping the forum open and the advice flowin’,use the comments section to share any actor websites that you think were well done! If you are a web programmer specializing in developing sites for personalities, share links to your portfolio and what you charge.


Happy web developing!


***DISCLAIMER: Having a personal website these days is non-negotiable. Studio execs, producers, and casting directors often google talent before general meetings or when making tough casting decisions. In these scenarios, having a kick-ass website is your greatest promotional tool, and one of the only parts of your career you can completely control.***


Taryn Southern is an actress, host, writer, and producer with more than 100,000,000 views on her online videos. Check out her latest projects, anecdotes, and advice at, or connect with her by sending her a message on Twitter @tarynsouthern or subscribing to her public updates on Facebook.

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Posted by webtheatrekenya on March 4, 2014 at 3:55 AM Comments comments (0)

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Posted by webtheatrekenya on April 3, 2013 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (3)

ACTING RESUME An actor’s resume should list his physics (height, hair color, eye color…;), his credits (projects he has done), his contact info (usually the agent or manager), and his skills (sports, languages, hobbies) Acting Resume Tips! Dos and Don’ts Do • Print or staple your resume to the back of your headshot. Use only one staple in the upper left corner. • If you are stapling, trim your resume to fit the headshot. Cut your resume -8 x 10 • Make sure the contact information on the back is up-to-date, and that you have an email address • If you have a lot of projects, it’s better to list the best ones. Don’t • Never lie about your experience • Don’t make up special skills or write things down just so to fill in the special skill area • Don’t use a resume that is larger than 8 ½ x 11 • Don’t use a resume that is more than one page • Don’t staple reviews or clippings to your resume. They just get in the way. • Don’t make the type smaller than 10 pt. If you have that much experience, edit it down Source: Upload your Acting Resume in the Documents section of our Website.

ACTING DEMO REEL Make an acting demo reel to showcase your work. As a professional actor, it’s important to make yourself as marketable as possible to people looking as marketable as possible to people looking to hire you. An acting demo reel allows people to see a snapshot of your work on film television and commercials. Casting directors, agents, managers, producers and directors all like to view acting reels at times, to get an idea of how an actor looks on cameras well as her acting ability. Generally, actors have a commercial mark ad a theatrical reel which showcases their film and television experience. Difficulty Moderately Easy Things you’ll need:  Clips of your Screen Work  Film Editor Instructions 1. Collect copies of all your on-camera work. This generally includes copies of any television episodes you’ve been in as well a feature, independent, student and short films. You should also obtain copies of any television commercials you’ve done. 2. Separate your commercial clips from your theatrical work. You’ll want to create a separate reel for your commercial and theatrical work. 3. Watch every scene in which you appear and choose the scenes that showcase your best. 4. Consider several things when choosing your best scenes to put on your reel. You want to make sure you are prominently featured in the scene and the filming is of good quality. No one will notice your talent if they are distracted by poor lighting and sound. Try to pick contrasting scenes for your demo reel. If you have a comedic scene, pair it with a more dramatic scene to show your range. 5. Choose the order that your scenes will appear. Feature your most notable work first. If one of your scenes is with a famous actor or on a well-known television show, consider placing this at the beginning of your reel to catch the viewer’s attention. 6. Keep it short. Like most things in life, brevity is key in acting demo reels. Aim to keep your reel under three minutes. One-minute reels are very popular as Casting executives are more likely to watch them, knowing it won’t be a big time investment. 7. Get opinions from other people on the scenes you choose. Sometimes it helps to have a second set of eyes examine things as it can be hard to be objective of your own work. Ask friends and family if these scenes showcase you well and if they are good reel material. 8. Hire a professional editor to put your reel together or if you have film editing software knowledge, you can compile it yourself. Your name and contact information should be featured at the beginning and ed of your demo reel. Tips & Warnings  Upload your demo reel to online Casting sites. For both New York and Los Angeles, Actors Access is the main casting site used by theatrical casting directors. Now casting is another site used. In LA, you should upload your commercial reel to L.A casting and in New York, to N.Y casting.  Avoid extra special effects on your reel. Casting directors want to see your work. They don’t need a long animated introduction with music and effects.  Avoid putting a very old work on your reel. Like your headshot, your demo reel should be a representation of how you look currently, not how you looked 30 years ago. Source: Upload your Acting Demo Reel in the Videos Section of our website.

HEADSHOT 1) Lots of Personality!! Many people may have a similar look to you-it’s your personality that makes you special. 2) Look like your headshot. This is not a time to be a beauty queen. You need to give casting directors and clients an accurate version of yourself. 3) Keep you clothing choices simple. Avoid patterns and prints in favor of solid colors. No white or very light pastels. Simple clothing helps the viewer see YOU. 4) Spark the viewer’s imagination. Don’t dress like a nurse or police officer. You want the viewer to be able to imagine you as many different characters from one picture. 5) Go easy on the makeup! Yes, you want to look your best for your headshot, but that does NOT mean layers of eye shadow and blush. If you can, hire a makeup artist. Keep in mind, you should pay close attention to what your makeup artist does so when you go to an audition or to meet an agent you can walk in the door looking as close to your picture as possible. 6) Don’t show a lot of Skin! Ladies, this means no excess cleavage. Guys, keep your shirts on. Casting directors want to see you…but not that much of you! 7) Keep in mind what kind of work you are trying to get. Do you want to do theater, Film or Commercial work? 8) It’s all about the eyes, of course you smile is important, too, but the eyes can make or break your picture. Your eyes give you the opportunity to show the layers in your personality. Rather than thinking about the viewer looking at your picture, think about you looking at the viewer. 9) Face shot or ¾ shots are useful to show a casting director your body type. This can be good if you are looking to do commercial work, modeling clothes. Be careful though. In a ¾ Shot, your eyes can get lost. A face shot is the best to show your eyes and personality…which brings me to my last tip: 10) Did I mention PERSONALITY? Be yourself and show what makes you unique. Source: Upload your Acting Headshot in the pictures Section of your profile in our Website.


Posted by webtheatrekenya on December 21, 2012 at 6:20 AM Comments comments (0)

All Sponsors, Well Wishers, Corporates and Partners are invited to Fund our new project OPENING A FILM PRODUCTION STUDIO.You can use the following account details.


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1 Bob Foundation!

Posted by webtheatrekenya on August 6, 2012 at 7:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Our 1 Bob Foundation will be launched today, 6th August 2012 from 2 p.m, thanks to Benard Gichuru for this brilliant idea.All members are required to contribute Ksh.5 per week  or Ksh.20 per month(Every day counts for Ksh.1, starting from Monday to Friday.All are welcome to join this cause to set up our new Filmmaking Office with new equipments.

Set Books

Posted by webtheatrekenya on May 14, 2012 at 6:10 AM Comments comments (2)


Shreds of Tenderness

The River between

Enemy of the people

Half a day


Kifo Kisimani

Mayai waziri wa maradhi



Posted by webtheatrekenya on March 9, 2012 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (1)

We will Celebate our 1st Anniversary on Tuesday,10th April 2012.This marks a year after Web Theatre Kenya was founded by Rusty and the Big Unit Entertainment Krew.


Posted by webtheatrekenya on March 9, 2012 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Our Annual General Meeting will be held on 2nd December 2012.The meeting will go on as planned though it wil be on a Sunday.


Posted by webtheatrekenya on March 9, 2012 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Name                                       Genre                                            Status

The Girl Is Mine                      Local Soap                                   Pre-Production Stage

Shemeji                                   Local Drama                                Pre-Production Stage

Shenzy Type                            Comedy Series                           Pre-Production Stage


Posted by webtheatrekenya on March 9, 2012 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Plot Summary