Actor Websites – An Interview with Tom Lapke – Two Cats Web Design

Tom Lapke –

  • Actors Launchpad partnered with Reel Arc:
    • Programs classes, workshops, and social events linking up actors with agents, managers, CDs, industry professionals to help actors further their reels
    • Reel Arc: Produces reels. If you don’t have a lot of great footage yet, Interview you, then write, direct, produce scene that is indistinguishable from a TV show or movie for your demo reel.
    • Started Audition Update when he was an actor as a resource he needed himself. A few years later, it was purchased by Backstage. Worked at Backstage as Director of Education and Events after it bought audition update
    • Two Cats Web Design: A side hustle web design business, specializing in but not limited to websites for Actors
    • Tom works with CDs and managers every day, and the things they can’t say in front of actors he does.

 

  • Do actors need a website?
    • Everything is digital. Casting Directors look for these when they are considering you. When they don’t know you, they’ll Google you. You want to be in charge of what they see, so create it.

 

  • YourName.com
    • Why? SEO: One of the ways Google searches is part of the domain name, so you want your content to be what comes up first. You want to populate the internet with current information that is tagged to you and that supports your career and your type.

 

  • When you’re a professional, you’re starting a business. You’re the CEO, but what you’re selling is your art, and the same rules of business apply to you; any successful company controls their presence and their brand.

 

  • What should be on your website? (Must-haves):
    • Headshot (should have more than one)
    • Resume (read on the site AND downloadable)
    • Reel (video, or audio)
    • Contact Page (probably the most important thing
      • Contact form
      • Your contact information
      • Representation’s contact information
        • Some people don’t like contact forms – they want to see the email actually sent out.
        • TIP: Build in protection: put in contact information, take a picture of that, remove the text, then put in the image so bots scanning for spamming can’t grab it.

 

SECURITY ALERT: Be very careful about what information you put out there: Get a Google Voice number that forwards directly to your phone. Don’t post pictures with your house number or nearby house numbers in them. Don’t do Facebook Live videos walking down your own street.

 

  • Website can-haves:
    • If you’re a singer or voiceover artist, should have high-quality sound files/professional quality recorded videos of your voice
    • If you’re a model, have your modeling pics

 

  • Bio page (no one reads them)
    • How do you craft your unique personality without a bio?
    • Great headshots (your friend with a camera isn’t a photographer)
    • Great Reel
    • Great design elements on the website

 

  • Side Hustle: Don’t brand your side hustle on your actor website. They are separate and do not belong together.

 

  • Should you post regular, dated updates on my news?
    • Yes, as it shows you working. But, it’s a double edged sword – if it’s interesting and regular, it shows what you’re up to. If it’s not, it shows you don’t work. Keeps it current!

 

  • Should you spend money on a designer or self-design?
    • If you can do it, do! Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, WordPress.

 

  • What should you spend? How do you judge a quote?
    • For a 5 page website $500. Or less is reasonable

 

  • What are things actors should know in advance of talking with a designer?
    • Understand who you are and what you want your visuals to be.
    • Know that it’s utilitarian

 

  • Make sure your website is mobile optimized.

 

  • Recognize that you’re selling passively – there’s no “buy now” button. But – HAVE YOUR CONTACT INFO SO THEY CAN.

 

  • Don’t pay a retainer for a designer, just on an update basis.

 

For more information, or to contact Tom Lapke check out Two Cats Web Design.

A huge thank you to Tom for the great information!

 

Did you like this interview? Do you find the podcast helpful? Do you have a minute or two to write me a review? I’d so appreciate it!

Thanks so much!  You rock!

~Michelle