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Q&A: What Should I Include On My Business Card?

As an acting coach and a casting director, I get questions all the time from people wondering how to handle certain things with their careers.  So, I plan to start making this a regular column on our blog – when I get a question from someone about how to handle something in their acting career, I’ll post it here.

Jamesdeanbusinesscard
Basically, the best rule of thumb when putting together your information for an actor-related business card is to keep things as simple as possible.  You want people to remember you and to be able to find your information easily.  Putting a bunch of phone numbers, email addresses, or websites is just going to confuse, and most likely frustrate, the person who’s trying to get in touch with you – hopefully for a job.  Your business card should have a picture of you – and then just the best way for someone to get in touch with you.  You should have a dedicated phone number that you and you alone retrieve – most likely your cell phone, but services like Vonage, Google Voice, or my personal favorite Line2, are also good options these days – especially if you want to keep your business calls separate from your personal ones.  Just be sure that whatever number you plan to use – it is one that you will always be able to receive – and that you check the voicemail regularly on it.  Nothing is worse than having someone leave you a message for an appointment – but you don’t get it because it’s sitting in a place you don’t think to check.  And home numbers are usually a bad idea – unless you live alone – because you should be the only person answering this line.  It never feels very secure leaving a business related message with someone else.

The same goes for your email address – if you don’t already, you should have a dedicated email address for business purposes.  And with cell phones and smart phones being so prevalent (and thankfully, cost-efficient) these days, make sure that this email is one that you check regularly throughout the day, no matter where you are.  It is really easy to get email on almost any phone, so you should set up this address at the very least on your phone.  Email has become the primary form of communication for many people, so again, you don’t want to miss something important just because you didn’t get the message.  I’ll explain more about the importance of a dedicated email address in another post soon.

Also, make sure to only include one web link on your card.  If you have a personal website – great, use that – and let them find all of the other sites (Actors Access, LA Casting, imdB, YouTube, etc.) where you’ve posted details about your career from there.  Putting more than one link on your card makes people think that they have to go to all of those places to get a complete picture of who you are and what you do.  Rather, one link sends the message that it’s easy to find out more – and get the other details they’re looking for – whatever they may be.  People might be contacting you for lots of different reasons – so having a “1-stop shopping” web presence is a good approach.  And having a personal website is an easy thing to do these days – with very little web experience – so it’s really something you should consider.  But if you don’t have a personal site, then just make sure to use one of the links that has the most details about you – and where they can find out more.  At the very least, anyone accessing a link should be able to find copies of your headshot and resume very easily.  Keep the personal clutter out of the way – even on the web.  Facebook and MySpace are fine for friends – but keep it to business related links for contact purposes.

Lastly, instead of a personal phone number – you might want to put your agent or manager information on the cards.  But just remember that if you change agents or managers, then you’ll have to change the cards as well – so keep that in mind when ordering and deciding what information to include.  It’s somewhat of a personal decision – but I feel that you want people to reach you, right?  So it’s best to put a number that you’re likely to answer – and then get the message first hand.  I don’t know about you, but I like to know who’s calling me… and not have it go through a third party.  You can always refer someone to your agent or manager if you need to.  But often, these cards are going to be given to someone you meet in person – and most likely, if they’re phoning… they want to talk with you first – not deal with your representatives off the bat.  So my vote is for including some sort of personal number – and then including your reps info on your website, resume, and other resources that you would be listing that information.

 

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