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The hot social media app Clubhouse has taken the acting and voiceover world by storm. Where previously actors and freelancers would pay handsomely to get in the room with an expert in their industry to listen to their pearls of wisdom, suddenly Clubhouse is bringing the experts to us — for free.
When you first get onto Clubhouse it’s almost an overload on your senses. In your “hallway,” once you’ve followed people and selected your interests, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Here’s just a few rooms I can join today—Speed Networking for Film and Media, Breakfast with Champions, The Brits Are Here, PR Like a Celebrity, Good Morning Horror Fam, and Quiet Morning Meditation Space—the list of rooms is endless.
As you get more familiar with Clubhouse, you’re likely to want to put your hand up to go up onto the virtual stage where you can also speak yourself. At this point, Clubhouse etiquette becomes important. Having been co-modding a relatively successful actor room for a few months now, and having joined and modded another 100+ rooms, in my humble opinion I can say that there’s a right way to hang out in a room and there’s a wrong way. As actors or filmmakers, we all want to light up the virtual stage in the best possible way just like we would an audition.
To help you get started, I’ve put together some dos and don’ts so you make the best possible impression first time round, and as they say in acting speak—book the room.
1. Introduction and question.
Often when you’re invited by the moderators (mods) of the room to put your hand up and come onto the stage there’ll be a topic of conversation or theme for the room. It’s important to listen to the moderators and make sure that you respect the space and what they’ve chosen to talk about. Deviating off the yellow brick road can be really frustrating when a room is full and there are lots of people waiting to speak.
2. The three Bes.
Be cool, be kind, be authentic. You’re on a platform that thrives on authenticity and honesty. There’s also a lot of people on the app who will have less experience than you. So, it’s important to always be kind and helpful. Be cool, there’s no need to big yourself up. You can do that in your bio.
3. Don’t name drop.
Like the above point, no one likes someone who name drops. That’s what IMDb is for. If someone wants to check out more about who you are and who you’ve worked with, they can look you up. Get on with the business of conversation and leave your bio to do the work.
4. Don’t make things up.
If there’s one pet peeve I have about our industry, it’s people who give out bad advice. If you don’t know something, that’s totally fine. You can say that. But don’t lead people down the garden path because you put your own made-up spin on things. Eventually, you’ll get caught out. But before that, a newer actor might be getting the wrong advice and that’s never a helpful thing.
5. Add value, don’t repeat.
It’s so lovely when people have the same thoughts about a topic. But sometimes someone else will beat you to the punchline. That’s OK. You don’t need to repeat what they just said. We all heard it from the other speaker. Just say politely “that’s what I was going to say. Well said!” and move onto another thought.
6. Check that you understood the intention of the room before you speak.
You can learn a lot about the mods, the speakers, and the room in general just by listening for a few minutes. Sure, you may not have come in right at the start, but at some point in the conversation, the moderator will refresh the room which means they’ll give everyone who has joined a mini description of what the room is about and what’s being discussed. Make sure you know what the room’s objective is before you start spouting off about your film credits or your product, or something else equally about you. It’s best to operate from a place of giving something, rather than taking it.
7. Use the mic to applaud.
A little trick that you’ll learn quite quickly if you’re up on stage is that you can applaud speakers or acknowledge something said, by flashing your microphone button repeatedly, hopefully without giving your finger a repetitive strain injury. It means you don’t have to cut them off mid-sentence.
8. Help people who are reading the conversations as opposed to listening.
When you’ve finished making your point, get into the habit of saying “This is Angela and I’m done speaking.” This allows anyone on the app who is reading the transcript of the room, rather than listening, to be able to identify when a new speaker is speaking and when the previous person has finished.
9. Peace out.
Finally, once you’re done, you can click the little peace out sign and leave quietly and be on your merry way. You don’t always have to tell people that you’re leaving. After you have been in a few rooms, you’ll likely get a sense of when you need to tell people you’re heading off (if you can’t stay until the end) or when you can just leave quietly and let the conversation continue. Don’t worry, it’s not a do-or-die situation. If you don’t get it right the first time, that’s fine. You can simply put your hand up next time and give it another go.
Clubhouse has been built on an ethos of support, fun, honesty, and authenticity. You want to believe the people you’re listening to and you want to trust the advice they’re offering is correct and useful. But as always in work and life, do your due diligence. You can use sites like IMDb and Google to check if people are who they say they are and if they’ve been in the industry for as long as they suggest, with the credits they say they have. You are ultimately in the driving seat for your career. You don’t want to be relying on whimsical made-up nonsense. But equally, embrace the beautiful human side of Clubhouse, a creative space that has literally transformed the way we can communicate with other industry professionals, in real life and real-time by using some of these dos and don’ts.
Australian actress and voiceover artist Angela Peters writes an award-winning blog, www.actingbabe.com, alongside coaching actors in the business of being a professional actor. She has studied method acting in Australia and clowning in Paris (Ecole Philippe Gaulier) and when not doing film work, she also spends lots of time doing voiceovers for the likes of “I’m A Celebrity,” BP, Singapore Airlines, Macleans, PPS Mutua,l and Dyson, plus hundreds of others.