Colleen Finnegan Kahl Blog

The 10 Commandments of Content Creation

It’s no secret. The industry time and time again suggests to actors that creating your own content is a great way to get ahead while you are waiting for your big break. So have you started your own project yet? Before you do, read these 10 important things to keep in mind as you begin your career changing content creation journey.

film set


  1. Give yourself a vital role. The content you create to help your acting career should be focused on showcasing YOUR ACTING! Give yourself something great to do on film or on stage in your content creation piece. Show off talent and skills your previous work didn’t allow you to show. Great content creation can become your calling card. Don’t skimp on your role! This is not an ego play– this is being a smart creator!
  2. Budget Smart. Content Creation CAN get expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Create a budget for yourself and prioritize your resources towards the most important parts of the project. Set a number for the project ahead of the game. Do solid research on the varying expenses and partner with individuals who can help you save on different services. Don’t just spend as you go. Track all expenses.
  3. Quality over Quantity. A well-done piece of content creation always overshadows a bunch of poorly produced content. Choose to make shorter, quality pieces over longer projects. Make sure you have the budget to see the full project through– and if that turns your web series into a really solid pilot episode only– that is absolutely ok!
  4. Work with a Good Team. It is easy to get overwhelmed with all the roles involved in a project. Surround yourself with a team you trust and delegate important tasks. Make sure you are picky about who you work with and find people who also need great examples of content they can make. Trying to do it all will slow you down and can inhibit the quality of your finished piece. Build strong relationships with people who have skills different than yours and be sure all bases are covered.
  5. Be Original. Has the world seen this story before? Told the same way? Well then what can you do differently? Don’t just make a new version of someone else’s work. Make interesting choices and be specific with them. Take a unique point of view.
  6. Make sure your storytelling is clear. If people don’t understand your work, it won’t get the positive results you crave. Double check that your storytelling is clear throughout the piece. Get opinions on if the details of your project are clear. Test your storyboards and rough edits on fresh eyes and ask the viewer questions to be sure they understand what you are trying to say.
  7. Carefully Plan the Life Cycle of Your Project. Write down your goals and timeline and build out a schedule. Life can get busy and many people push their personal projects aside when it does. When you put things in your calendar from the beginning, it’ll be easier to protect your time and finish the different phases of your work.
  8. Submit to festivals. Once your work is completed, explore what festivals and contests it may be eligible for. You could win cash towards your next piece of content and make great new connections! Festival acceptances and wins are also great for your resume and for the marketing of your project.
  9. Market The Finished Project. TELL THE WORLD! Creativity should be shared! Make sure your whole team is celebrating the piece on social media and driving as many eyeballs to the project as possible. The more people know about it, the more chances you have of the RIGHT people finding out about it. Talk with your team about which industry contacts you should send your work to. Be specific. Blanket submissions aren’t helpful here, but thoughtful ones could land you important meetings and impressive results.
  10. Only Launch work you are proud of. Once your work is out there— especially via an internet launch, it can be very hard to scrub it completely off the internet if you determine later it is no good. Only launch work that you are PROUD of. This doesn’t mean that you won’t grow and gain new skills later— of course people expect your work to get better as you continue on in this industry. When you launch, though, make sure that you feel great about your finished product— you never know who is watching!

Colleen Finnegan Kahl is an accomplished Theatre Arts Educator, author of this article, and President of Actors Connection, offering online acting classes and workshops (zoom acting lessons!) for teens and adults alike. Photo kindly by @wbayreuther.

Generous Networker

How to Be A Generous Networker

Anyone you meet could end up being a vital link to a completely different level of success. You never know the people and contacts who will change your life or your career for the better. Looking at new people through this lens is exciting– but a word of caution. Relationships built on need, aren’t satisfying and most industry contacts in our field can sense “NEED” right away, and unfortunately be completely turned off from helping you.

So how do you build important relationships without being a dreaded needy energy vampire?


When in doubt, adopt the philosophy of giving before getting anything from anyone. Generosity is a wonderful relationship builder– and you’ll feel good about the help you provide people along the way. You can find something they are interested in and connect them to an interesting article or opportunity involving it. Or you can introduce them to someone who can solve a problem for them (this can be as simple as suggesting a great plumber or sharing an industry contact you have made). Either way it involves one VERY important element.


You can’t figure out how to help someone if you are doing most of the talking. Actors naturally gravitate towards the spotlight and are eager to share details about their craft and life. Give that impulse a backseat and 100% focus on the person you are talking to. Ask them questions about themselves. Let those questions spark more questions. Enjoy discovering who this person is. This is a networker’s MOST IMPORTANT work. You can’t fully connect with people or help them connect with each other effectively if you don’t fully understand them in the first place. Take the time to do this. And more importantly— find the joy in it!

click for seminarsA little word of caution…when it comes to helping someone to build your relationship with them, don’t translate that to mean hours upon hours of free labor. Simple, focused, thoughtful actions and connections are the best. Full on projects for someone else as a favor reeks of neediness and is not necessary. Showing you listen, remembering what someone says, referring back to it or helping them in a small way is enough to start to build a lovely relationship.

ADDITIONAL PRO-NETWORKING TIP: Write things down! After you meet contacts, jot the things you want to remember about them in a journal or computer file so you can refer back when your mind may get hazy. There are so many things you need to remember– lines, appointments, passwords— you don’t want to waste your networking experience by forgetting what you have learned about someone. Another great way to do this is jot a few notes down on their business card or in the notes section of your phone!

Photo kindly by @marvelous