Thank You, Danke, Gracias, Merci

Question: When is gratitude every wrong?
Answer: Never.

I’m often asked about thank you cards and gifts. A lot of actors worry about how appropriate it is to send a gift when they book a job, send a card when they’ve had an audition, or just say thank you in a simple way.

When the inspiration strikes you to send a thank you note or even a gift, do it. You can never go wrong by expressing a sincere and honest thank you.

This week’s video will outline a few suggestions to ensure that your thank you is meaningful, heartfelt and easy to implement.

Try it on for size. Think of someone you’d like to thank this week and apply the steps from this video to honor them in an authentic and memorable way.


4 Tips to Creating a Dynamic Crowd Funding Video

4 Tips to Creating a Dynamic Crowd Funding Video by Dallas Travers

Crowd funding campaigns don’t have many creative limitations. Whether you’re promoting an animated web series, gearing up to tackle your first short film project or you need investors to help you build a business, there is room for everyone.

The problem is everyone is in the room.

Take a cruise through crowd funding platforms like Kickstarter, Indiegogo or Seed&Spark and you’ll see hundreds of fascinating projects all vying for donations. Everyone’s swimming in the same pool, and it’s getting crowded.

So, how can you take an Olympic caliber dive and avoid a disappointing belly-flop? Here are four tips for planning a dynamic video to attract the most support.

Let’s start by picking a big project as a case study. Say you’re almost done building a multi-disciplinary arts center where musicians, actors, dancers and painters can thrive. Then: BAM! A tornado rips off a corner of your building and you need funding for repairs.  We’re going to focus on the pitch video for your campaign, but for more tips on your video and other aspects of your campaign, I  recommend checking out this article on called “Here’s How to Crowdfund Successfully: With Expert Advice from Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Seed&Spark” for more tips.

Step 1: Grab Their Attention

Crowd funding means crafting an enticing video to capture interest, inform and raise money. But you need to grab people’s attention with something unexpected. Rather than opening your campaign video with, “Hi, I’m Karen and I’m raising money for an arts center,” disrupt the audience’s expectations.

For instance, in the article, the author mentions that in a film campaign for a thriller, the first 15 seconds of the video was shot like a thriller. For our case study project, Karen could open with 10 seconds of news bloopers of bad weather videos, then say, “And now that I have your attention…” Have fun with it, but make sure it relates in some way to your project.

Step 2: Do It Well

The pitch video must be well-produced and well-edited. Even if this seems counter-intuitive because you want to make money (not spend it on your pitch video), you might first need to invest money.

Remember, in many ways the video will make or break your campaign. Go to for video editors or ask trusted friends for referrals. I also have some tips on shooting good quality video in your home here and here.

To really shine, keep your pitch no longer than 2 minutes.

Step 3: Spell It Out

Provide a clear call to action. That seems obvious – because you want donations – but you have to spell it out for people. “If this story compels you, I ask you to donate what you can by clicking the donate button to the left of this video.”

Be that clear.

Step 4: Not Just Another Indie Film

Your story will sell this. It’s not just another film/ multi-media center / dog-walking side business; it’s a life-long dream that inspires everyone who hears about it.  What needs to come through is your excitement, the heartfelt meaning behind the project and its impact.

Consider a pre-launch countdown on social media so people know about the campaign before it starts. Watch others’ successful campaigns, notice their perks (and by the way, perks don’t have to cost money but they do have to cost creativity), and model what’s working and iron out your video’s inventive opening.

If you can speak from your heart, that’s what gets people to share.

Have you ever created a compelling crowd funding video? Let me know how it went in the comments below.


The Difference Between Being Proactive and Being Pushy

Let me be clear… I am all for every actor taking charge, going for what you really want and leaving it all out on the playing field.

But sometimes, when the stakes feel high, it’s easy to let your desires get the best of you and shift from being proactive to just being pushy.

It’s a thin line, but one you can gracefully navigate when you keep the recipients of your efforts at the forefront of your mind.

This week’s Acting Business Bite will help you distinguish a clear difference between truly going for it and just over doing it.

I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes, I want something so badly that I go blind to the big picture. Maybe you can relate. If you do, what check points have you put in place to make sure you’re testing the boundaries without crossing them?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments box below.