Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Op-Ed: Promote yourself!

I really need to have a mini-rant
by Barbara Ford, CharPo Senior Contributor

I'm doing research for a press release I'm writing and I clicked on an IMDb link in my Google search for a little more background on an actor and once again, I'm faced with no bio! I can't tell you how many times this has happened to me and not just for emerging artists. I've found well-known actors with formidable credits the length of my arm with virtually nothing on their IMDb page.

I think of the complaints I've heard over the years about how Canada does not have a star system to support its artists when, with the current state of highly advanced digital bells and whistles, the path is clear to tooting your own horn ad nauseam. Maybe agents (since Canadian artists don't have business managers to oversee this, at least not until they hit the ‘big time’) should provide this service. I don't know at whose feet this issue falls but it seems to me that it’s a problem that can be more easily addressed, perhaps remedied.

I realize that we Canadians have a reputation for being overly polite so I'd like to say to all the amazing artists that I've either worked with on stage or behind it, or seen live and/or on-screen, it's not self-indulgent to let people know what you've done that you're proud of in your field. You know that worrisome time between gigs when you don’t know where the next rent cheque is coming from? Why not, at least temporarily, assuage your financial anxiety by updating your IMDb page (or start one!), post your (recent) headshot, get backstage, onstage, on-set, in-rehearsal photos up there with captions that Google can search so your name starts creeping up the SEO scale. If there is a weak Canadian star system, the power to change that now exists. Help the arts publicists working for your projects do an even better job!

And … scene!  Rant over.

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