First of all, if you're in the film, TV or theater industry and you're not on Stage 32, then stop reading this blog and go create your free account. It takes about 2 minutes and it's a must for you in this new electronic age. We're talking networking. We're talking education. We're talking jobs and meetups. It's a huge opportunity for getting to know other filmmakers near and far.

Okay, so now that you're on Stage 32, you can see that you can connect with people in your area. That would be my suggestion to begin with. Get to know people in your own backyard before you make connections overseas. It's not that overseas connections could not pan out as nice or even nicer than the local ones (you never know), but as an actor, your best bet would be hitting up the CDs, Directors, Filmmakers and Producers right in your city. So here's an example of members who have listed themselves as CDs in Los Angeles - nice isn't it?

Now that you're here, you'd probably want to hit that connect button and get it over with, right? Well, hold up a second. Let's take a look at what happens when you do that. First of all that person might get an email notifying them that you asked to connect, but to top it off, they will go into their Stage 32 account, open up their connection requests and see this:

Stage 32 profile

Is this really the best way to make a first impression? I think not. It's sort of like coming to an audition hungover and completely unprepared. (Not like that hasn't happened before.) Still, you want the first impression to matter.

First of all, a headshot! If you don't have a professional headshot then stop reading this... okay, fine you can continue reading, but GET YOUR HEADSHOTS DONE! If you're in LA, you can get a one free look from our friends at HCAF when you sign up with them. If you have funds but not the time, then you should check out our other friends over at the headshot truck. But I digress. Headshot, pick your best one and add it to your profile.

Stage 32 profile

Bio - it's a big one. A lot of people procrastinate with this for too long. If you don't have a perfect bio ready yet, that's fine. Just type out a few sentences that make you look different (better?) than the person next to you. Just saying "I am an actor" is one thing, saying something like "I have the most evil laughter anyone's ever heard" will help people remember you better. If you need inspiration, you can read this Stage 32 blog post, or this backstage blog post, or even better, check out this Stage 32 webinar.

Good, bio is done. Now, lets get you all linked up. Unlike many other websites out there, Stage 32 allows you to add your own links to your profile. That's right, any links including your IADB website, so go ahead and add it there. If you have IMDb, add that as well. Backstage, ActorsAccess, LinkedIn, Vimeo, add whatever you have, but keep the labels clean so people can easily find whatever they're looking for.

If you have credits on IMDb, you can import those very quickly, so that would be the next step. Quick and painless. If you have credits that aren't listed on IMDb, I'd try to get them listed there first, but if that's not an option, type out the details for the film and add that as well. If you have any awards, ding-ding, yes, add that as well.

Finally, and this is optional, but you can add Desert Island Movies to your profile. What I recommend is to add not films that you like, but films that you feel you could replace the protagonist in their role. Then you can even add that to the bio saying "I'd make an awesome replacement for Gary Oldman in Leon, but check out other Desert Island Movies I tagged in my profile and try to guess who I'd be replacing in the remaining pictures. Feel free to post your guesses on my wall." Why not make a game out of it?

Okay, your profile is done, here's where we are at now:

Stage 32 profile

But wait, before you click that plus button, I ask you to do one last thing. What what? Another curve ball? Yes!

Go inside the profile and click the "Add to Network" button instead. What's the difference? You'd be able to type out a quick message to the person you're connecting with, so that they know why you're connecting with them. A few personalized memo's can go a long distance, while blindly and carelessly requesting thousands of connections might get you nowhere.

Stage 32 profile

Now. Can you tell the difference? Would you accept both network request or would you have a preference?

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