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Monday, July 22, 2013

Tips For Attracting Brand Name Actors To Your Web Series

This post comes from Jeremy of Spidvid.

The most important thing to get big actors attached to a web series, is to believe in the idea enough that it's possible. The reason this doesn’t happen more often is probably because web series creators don’t think it’s possible to get good, recognizable actors to work on their projects.

Use IMDBPro to get actor's contact information. This is a valuable tool that might very well be under utilized. Basically you pay 20 bucks a month and have access to contact info for most actors, or their agents.

Send them a script, and outline why an actor would be a good fit for a lead character. It's important to have something tangible to show actors, to make the project appear more real, and to show there's a serious push being made to make it happen. 

Having a talented director is very important, don't underestimate the power of a great director with a successful track record. Elite actors want to work with a team who can execute, and a director who they can get along with and trust is critical. Also be sure to communicate who else is involved, such as your director of photography, producers behind the series, and the other actors who have committed themselves and are officially on board.

So if you can crew up with really talented, established people, better known actors might come on board because they know that you will turn out quality content which will help to grow their personal brand, not hurt it. Don't forget that brand name actors typically have larger than life egos, so you have to know how to stroke those egos, and convince them that getting involved with your project will benefit their career in a positive way!

The four big things to keep in mind are:

1. Believe it's possible to attract a big actor or two as your leads
2. Use IMDBPro
3. Write a fantastic script
4. Build a solid team before you contact actors


  1. There is one thing that you left out, have tons of money...even if a name actor wants to work for you for free, there are SAG rules against that. You would at least have to be able to pay SAG minimum. When I was writing Pink Slip I almost got a name comedian to play Aunt Pauline's boyfriend (he's not a SAG member so that wouldn't have been an issue...he was gung ho.....but wanted me to put him up in a hotel...for a few weeks...and we weren't budgeted that way. Rats...but try anyway...it's a good idea.

    1. Well, as we actors like to say, there's pay, low pay, no pay, and you pay. An attractive script with sound production values will draw us in despite low/no pay (SAG-AFTRA can accommodate this), but most of us will balk at not being paid and then picking up the tab for our own meals, lodging, transportation, purchased costumes, etc. In effect, we'd be investing in your project with no promise of return on the investment. That said, there are some amazing web series being produced (I'm currently appearing in a political comedy #CapSouth) and the Web is pioneering exciting new trends in entertainment. It's a great time to be an actor!

  2. But with the SAG New Media Agreement you are only obligated to pay your cast part of 8% of residuals. (Not 8% per person, the entire cast shares in this percentage.) Any other agreement is between the producer and the actor in question. (Usually said actor's dayrates depending on the amount of shooting days and travel expenses.) It *can* be pricy but the days of having to have a 100% union set, (SAG, Teamsters AND IATSE,) are long gone thanks to this deal.

    1. Check the new SAG-AFTRA agreement. I believe pay can be deferred. There is also some new provision for actor pay if the web series is picked up for cable, etc. (which is fair).

    2. Did something change in the agreement? Link?


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