Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Supporting the Indie Projects You Have Acted In

So I've come across a new (for me) aspiring/struggling actor issue; what is enough when it comes to supporting all the indie projects you've worked in? By this statement, I mean a couple of things. The first is about wanting to support the films financially even though you are still a mostly always broke struggling actor. The second is about promoting your projects on social media and risking annoying people by constantly asking for their support and by constantly talking about your work.

When I speak about financially supporting the films you are involved in, I'm mostly referring to donating to fundraising campaigns like Indigogo or Kickstarter. I think both of these sites are a great idea. I love having the opportunity to to help get a film I've worked in produced, edited, or submitted to film festivals. The problem is that I am never able to give more than an average of $10.00-15.00. Even that amount can be pushing it at times for me. I have to admit that I usually feel guilty that I can't give more. But really, as struggling actors who may not even be getting paid for the project, is it necessary to donate? I wonder if directors really expect us to. 
And on top of that, if you are an actor, you probably have a lot of artist friends also involved in projects and you would like to show support to them as well. Kickstarter and Indigogo are fairly new, so this isn't something actors had to deal with a few years ago unless you were investing in or producing the project yourself. I feel like it is yet another expense to add to the list of many things we already have to invest in. It can also get a little stressful worrying about how much you should or can afford to give. Is it enough that you already gave your time, talent, and image?

Financial support can also mean purchasing the DVD of the film or any related merchandise. Are you obligated to do so? After all, aren't you expecting your friends and family to buy it? Shouldn't you light the way and show you really believe in the project and believe that it is worth the money? (Although to me it is very exciting to purchase a DVD of a movie which you were actually in.)

I personally feel it is important to try and give what you can. But keep in mind that most people probably understand that if you are an artist--and not yet known--you probably have limited funds available. And if you absolutely can't spare anything at the time, I don't think you should feel guilty. You will probably have a chance to donate at another time or show support in another way.

Which brings to me the second type of support I was talking about, sharing on social media. You know, asking friends, family, and followers to watch the trailers/clips, "like" the films's Facebook/IMDB pages, and also donate money. This is the quickest and easiest way to show your support for something you've worked in. But how do you give equal attention to each of your projects without getting on everyone's nerves? Especially while continuing to share your own personal things like reels, headshots, blogs (wink, wink). One thing I try to do is spread out the message over all the different sites and not necessarily at the same time. I may tweet it in the morning, and share it on Facebook in the afternoon. Or I may share something on Twitter much more often than I post the same info on Facebook. Sometimes it's one or the other and that's it. And don't forget Instagram, Tumblr, and Google+! Also, if it's my personal Facebook page I try not to push it too much and may not share every single thing I am working in; I share only things that are extra exciting. On a fan page though, people expect to hear all of your acting updates and news so you should post all of your projects there. I do fear coming across as obnoxious if I'm working in a lot at the moment, but I guess the bottom line is that I am an actress. Promoting my projects is part of what I do. A person can always choose if they don't wish to follow me any more or be friends. I think for the most part, those who really care like to see that you are working hard towards your dream.

These are just a couple more ways in which the industry has changed over the past few years. I think actors should embrace these opportunities as not only a way to support the film (that includes director, cast, crew) but also as a way to help get your own name out there. Unless it is a big budget Hollywood project, you donating even a small amount to a production or sharing it with your friends/connections may make a big difference in the life of a film.

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