Blog

AC Interview: Shannon “Max” MacMillan, Part 1

Shannon is a co-founder and the “industry brain” at Actors Compass. With 20+ years of experience in the acting industry and 10+ years as a web developer, she has built, reviewed, and consulted on hundreds of actor sites. The idea for Actors Compass grew out of a business workshop Shannon teaches to graduating acting students at various schools and theaters. A few weeks ago, Helen, also a co-founder and the “all-up-in-your-business brain”, sat down with Shannon to discuss all things Actors Compass.

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SAG-AFTRA Foundation Discusses Best Practices in Creating a Reel

Many of you pro actors out there may already know about this great resource but the SAG-AFTRA Foundation offers a great library of videos designed to give you a leg-up on the business side of acting. The videos include topics like how to perform in a horror film and the ins and outs of SAG-AFTRA residuals. A standout video is a panel discussion about best practices to keep in mind when creating an actor reel. The panel consists of theatrical agents and associate casting directors so heeding its advice will ensure that you present the best of your talent and experience so that you’ll get noticed by the people who matter most.

The video is just under an hour but it’s really worth a look. Set aside some time, pour yourself some coffee, and take notes. You’ll thank us later.

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How to Create a Pro Acting Resume: Turn It into a PDF!

Many actors ask me why they can’t just upload their resume as a Word doc on to their Actors Compass site. We strive to make AC as painless as possible. However, there are certain measures we urge you to take that may seem like a nuisance but are for your own good. Sharing your resume online as a PDF rather than a Word doc is one of these measures. I’m sorry, you just have to deal. You’ll thank us in the end, I promise.

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We’ve Launched!

It’s alive! It’s alive!

The Actors Compass Dashboard and Customizer

After four whirlwind days of designing, programming, and general goofing off on constant repeat while subsisting on coffee and beer (and flank steak and tacos and pizza and pie and — we could seriously go on and on), we’re so proud to launch Actors Compass! Our debut version of Actors Compass is FREE and totally unique in the market of actor website tools. Want to see how it works? Visit our Demo!

This scene between Shannon and Grant could be 11am or 11pm (except you can see the sunlight through the blinds)

The Actors Compass retreat was a complete success. We worked super hard, laughed a lot, and broke out into random nonsensical song-and-dance routines for four awesome days. Yes, you get to make up your own log weekend when you freelance, people. It was pretty epic to see all of our hard […]

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Hello, Tucson!

After an eventful day of driving that involved really good jerky, a wondrous place called Gem World, and some free-style operatic singing, Grant and I finally arrived in Tucson for our first-annual Actors Compass Retreat. The open road is always fun but the fact that we on our way to a weekend of creative pow-wowing and flexing of dev muscles with Shannon made the little journey all the more exciting.

Technology makes distance between friends and colleagues a non-issue in terms of keeping in touch and being productive but there’s nothing that can replace the real-life experience of Shannon’s magical breakfast cabbage-and-sweet-potato hash or midday tequila shots with plenty of snuggle time with Leo, the official AC mascot.

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Gearing up for the Big Reveal

Image source

It’s been a while since we shared any pearls of wisdom (we have oh-so many) or bits of AC news. That’s because we’ve been lazy our fish died we died busy.

Actually, we HAVE been busy, in the best way possible. Our Beta Test back in the fall of last year was exactly what we needed in order to hone in on the type of product and user experience we want to provide for the acting community in Hollywood and beyond. Since the close of beta, we’ve been diligently working to make Actors Compass the best website tool that a professional actor could wish for!

Now that we are so very close to the big reveal, Grant and I are heading off to Tucson tomorrow for our first-ever Actors Compass retreat. We feel very grown-up, very professional, and OMG, like, sooooo excited, you guys! Roap trip!!! We’re looking […]

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To Blog or Not to Blog

Everyone and their dog has a blog these days. I actually have four blogs (here and here and here and, of course, Actors Compass). I know, I need an intervention. But we’re not here to talk about me, we’re here to talk about you! Or, more specifically, your actor blog.

A blog can be a handy way to showcase your personality, talent, and interests as well as to keep people up-to-date on your latest news. It can be a great tool to create community and build an online following but it’s only a great tool if used strategically and consistently. A haphazard or neglected blog becomes a liability, making you look out of touch or uninvested in your web presence. Having a blog simply to have more features on your website won’t cut it. It’s important to take a realistic, honest look within before you […]

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How to Create a Pro Acting Resume: The Nitty-Gritty (Formatting)

In the first part of this series last week, I talked about what should and should not go into your actor resume. This week, I want to show you how to format your resume content so that (a) it looks professional and (b) grabs the attention that it deserves. You should know that I use Microsoft Word on a Mac to edit my resume. You’ll have to translate these instructions to your computer setup if you use something else. Thankfully tools in all text editing software are pretty similar. Alright, here we go!

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How to Format Your Acting Resume Like a Pro: Content Overview

In my work as a web developer creating acting sites, I often spend a lot of time helping clients format their bios, images, resumes, etc. This, on top of spending time on my OWN actor branding package! One of the most common questions I receive is: “Can you format my resume so it doesn’t look so sucky?” Yes, “sucky” is an official industry term. Fortunately, the answer to this question is yes. Today, I will focus on the content of your resume so it highlights the best of who you are and what you offer.

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Image Optimization for Your Site

 

You got your hair did, you put on your prettiest outfit, and you smiled real nice for the camera. Make sure that your beautiful head shots are properly optimized so that they load properly on your site. Here’s how:

Look at the file size of the image you want to optimize (select image file and then right click > Get Info, or select ⌘ + I). If the file is larger than 500 KB (for instance, 2.3 MB is huge), it needs to be optimized. Also, if either the width or height is larger than 1500 pixels, it’s way too big and needs to be optimized.
Create a copy of the image file! You do NOT want to edit your original images. Give the copy a unique name so you don’t destroy the original file by accident.
Open the image in an image editor (both Preview on Mac or Picture Manager and PC […]

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