I've been thinking a lot recently about the lines between self-promotion, letting people know what's important to you, letting people know what you want, and conceitedness/self-centrism.
After all, we all know those posts that actors make on social media that go somewhat along the lines of "On set for #ProjectWithAVagueTitle! Find out more about it at www.link.com!" and have a selfie of them attached with them in hair/costume/makeup. Or posts by writers that all have the same joke: "Just Googled 'skin color after being strangled with that string people use to tie up meat. I'm a writer, it's for a story, I promise!" And I feel for people who make these posts, especially because I've made them myself. It's difficult to let people know that you're working, get them excited for your next project, and let them know what that project is in 140 characters or fewer. But it's also so desperate to prove that you can Live The Dream that it always turns me off. Like, congrats on working, and I'm excited for the people who are doing it! But when you have a Twitter feed of almost nothing but these posts, it gets old, and nothing stands out.
Having noticed this, though, I know I've gone too far in the other direction. I don't like to post things unless I've got something to say, or an interesting/funny way to say it. That means that if you go to my Twitter or my Facebook feed, you'll find that it's actually pretty funny! You'll also find that I just haven't posted about the things in which I've been cast because there are only so many ways to post "Been cast in this thing and I'm super excited for it!" Of course, that also means that if a casting director were to visit either page, they wouldn't know about all of the work I've been doing recently.
Here's another issue I've had with self-promotion on social media: I absolutely hate to sound like I'm bragging or self-absorbed. Probably because I am a little narcissistic and self-absorbed. But it means that I miss out on letting people know about things that are important to me. For instance, it was my birthday the other day. And I really wanted people to acknowledge it because my birthday is kind of a big deal to me. But I also didn't want to have to ask them to acknowledge it, or tell people about it at all. I just wanted them to know. Turns out, people aren't mind-readers. Don't get me wrong, I had an excellent birthday, I managed to let it be known a little bit beforehand that it was coming up, and tons of wonderful friends reached out to me on the day to wish me a happy one. But it was still a concern for me in the days leading up to it.
I can't say I'm entirely sure what the solution to all of this is, but I do have a theory. My theory is based on watching the people who do manage to do self-promotion well. And I think the key to it is to have something to say. It can be small, but it has to be there. Desperately thrusting your accomplishments into the void and hoping that somebody notices is not useful to anyone else. But neither is keeping them all to yourself. It's about offering something to the people who might end up actually listening, be it a joke, or a continuation of a discussion, or even an argument presented in, say, a blog format. It's just about giving people something to engage with. That's my theory, anyway.
And so, all of that said... check it out! This past week I did not one, but two spec commercials with NYU - I'm pretty close now to having a commercial reel together! I got cast in Play-Prov with the Alan Chan Comedy Team, and my first rehearsal with them is tonight! And I'm going into pre-production on Just the Tip; I have a director and a producer, and now we're looking for grants so we can have funding for the short! (And you have no idea how much it makes me giggle that I'm the executive producer when I always swore I'd never be an executive-type. It also gives me a massive power trip.)
...See, I may grandstand, but there really are only so many ways to convey this kind of information