Right off the bat, you see that I used the mention.com logo in my blog. Let me just clear this up from the start. I am in no shape or form associated with them nor am I doing an affiliate program for them. So there, now that that's been said, the reason why I do love them is because they pretty much do what IADB does. On a different scale. granted, and for a different purpose, but still pretty much the same thing which is: watching the web for you and letting you know when something of value to you raises to the surface.
Okay, so what is mention and how does it affect you as an actor?
A huge part of being an industry creative evolves around using social media, getting your name out there and connecting with people who might be influential in your career. I think we're on the same page here. But how do we manage it all? Somebody might be tweeting about a film you were in, while Variety might list your name in their article and a random blog somewhere in the ether decides to create a shrine to you by saying how great you were in that episode of X-files. Responding on Twitter you might be able to handle on your own, but what about everything else? What if somebody posts a YouTube video and lists you in the tag or a description? How do you find out about it? Well, mention handles that for you. Once you know who's talking about you you can add a new Variety press article to your website, say "thanks" to the YouTube poster and file a restraining order against your e-stalker with a shrine (or also say thanks - your call).
What would this cost you?
Okay, mention.com is not free, and it's not really cheap either, but they do offer a free trial, and if I understand this correctly, after the trial expires the account just goes down to 100 monthly mentions. If that's plenty for you - great. If you can afford $29 a month or $99 a month instead, go for it. Keep in mind that as great as mention is there are some free, less powerful alternatives out there. You should do one or the other or both regardless of who you are and what you do, which brings me to the next section...
Yay, we all love free stuff, right? And who's better at giving out the freebies than the almighty Google? Meet Google Alerts. Maybe you've met before, maybe you even know how it works, but are you using it to its fullest extent? To begin with, you need to have a Google account, if you don't have one, you can create one for free here. It only takes a few minutes, and you're not obligated to switch and start using gmail out of the sudden. You can keep your existing account and forward your gmail emails to your existing email client.
Setting up Google Alerts (or mentions)
Now that we're all on the same page, lets open up the Google Alerts. What do you have there now? Most people have their name, which is a great start, but wouldn't it be nice to know what sort of press others are getting as well, sure it would, so here's my list of things that I recommend adding:
- your name - that's a given, you want to know when a press article mentions you by name
- your stage name - some people forget that, or they just put in their stage name and not their real name, be in the know!
- your film titles - list them all! Why not? It could be a student film you did back in college and somebody just dug it up because one of your costars became famous.
- other crew, cast and casting directors names - are you in good standings with some of the directors you worked with? Of course you are! Add their names to you alerts. Once they get mentioned in an article, send them a congrats note. Maybe they don't even know that this press item was released because they, unlike you, did not create any alerts. They'll be grateful to you for telling them.
- go wild - I know, that's a vague suggestion, but everybody is different. Some of you might have a catch phrase that's popular, pop that in there. It could be a quote from a film you did as well. Anything that stands out in a way that would connect to you on some level should be added to your alerts.
Let me break it down.
Let's say you're Bruce Willis and you just shot your first big film called "Die Hard", but in this scenario, it is 2016 and there are no VCR tapes. Here are some things you should list in your mentions, Bruce.
- Bruce Willis
- Walter Bruce Willis
- John McClane
- Alan Rickman
- Bonnie Bedelia
- Reginald VelJohnson
- John McTiernan
- yippee ki yay
- Now I have a machine gun. Ho ho ho.
- Welcome to the party, pal.
Remember, just because you created your list at one point it doesn't mean that it can't be tweaked. If some alerts send you too many unrelated results, it might be a sign that adjustments are necessary. I hope this helps - if you have any other recommendations, put them in your comments.