This one's for the actors… can we talk?
An email I received recently prompted this question – whether there's any benefit in actors (established or aspiring) publicly campaign for roles in movies, almost like the studios do during awards season.
A few examples would be the actress who paid $1500 for a billboard ad, hoping to get Tyler Perry's attention and a part in one of his upcoming films.
Or the Old Spice guy (Isaiah Mustafa) campaigning to star in a Luke Cage film.
And then there was the Donald-Glover-as-Spiderman stunt.
There have been others, especially in recent years, thanks in large part to the Internet, its immediacy and global reach.
Essentially, actors taking matters into their own hands, you could say. Granted none of the 3 I mentioned were sucessful in their campaigns – at least not directly (although I believe others were), and you could say the attention their campaigns received helped them indirectly, as in raising awareness for the actors.
The above image is from the email I received from producer, writer, actor Ephraim Benton, which included a press release stating that Ephraim has launched a social media campaign in order to win a role in F. Gary Gray's upcoming NWA project – a project for which Gray announced a national open call about 2 weeks ago for actors to play the individual lead roles. Ephraim is specificaly campaigning to play Eric Lynn Wright, aka Eazy E.
As Ephraim says in the press release:
"In this day and age, branding yourself on social media is vital to your success. I thought I would better my chances if those responsible for the movie saw the effort, passion and sincerity I put forth as an actor. I didn't just want to leave it in my manager’s hands to just try and land me an audition. I wanted to make a risky but bold statement by publicly campaigning to the world for this role. I put this together in two days but with more research and time, I believe I can humanize him more and really capture his essence."
So, as I said, actors taking matters into their own hands, being agressive in a really competitive, cutthroat business.
Ephraim set up a tumblr page for his campaign, which you can check out HERE. It includes photos, video and other media – some of which I embedded in this post, above and below.
From an outsider's POV (I'm not an actor) I actually applaud these kinds of efforts, because, again, it's a tough business to get into, as I'm sure many of you are fully aware; and, as I've said about filmmakers in recent posts, being bold, fearless, and a risk-taker, going down paths less traveled, could be what helps you stand out above the tens of thousands of others chasing the same dream.
It certainly got my attention, hence this post. Of course whether anything comes of it isn't up to me.
But I'd like to get other perspectives on this; so if you're an actor, where do you stand on this? And if you're a casting director (or a filmmaker), would a campaign like this get your attention, and if so what kind of attention?