Free DIY online website builder!

Weebley
Free is the key – the mantra of ActorCV as we continue to advise you on great ways of getting yourself online for as little or no cost at all. And this new site, you will love!
We’ve reviewed many free web-design sites before and this is another. But the layout, usability and sheer ease of www.weebly.com sets it ahead from the rest by far. The site is not only easy to use but contains an abundance of features, formats and functions that are essential for making your website interesting and versatile. You can design your own layout, slideshows, galleries with simple drag and drop. You can add audio, video (though you will have to upgrade for anything over 5mB), youtube, contact forms, google-maps, shopping cart, polls, surveys, social links and so much more – and if you’re feeling brave add your own html/CSS. I was so impressed I waited for a catch but there doesn’t appear to be one – I think the company make their profit from selling upgrades, domain names and other advanced features all of which are non-compulsory. The free stuff is more than enough.

Don’t forget, your website doesn’t have to be just for your CV. If you’ve set up your own production company or have other projects in the pipeline, you can do worse than setting up their own dedicated websites for free. And though I had to admit it, this site is a serious contender for WordPress’ crown and dominance.

So why not give it a go. You can easily sign in with your Facebook or Twitter details! OR check out the demo we did in under 5 minutes

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Emailing large files (like video)

So the Hollywood producer you had lunch with has given you their email address and has asked you to send them your showreel. But hang on, the file size of your showreel is 1.6GB’s – huge – too huge for most email inboxes. How will you send them the file without clogging up their email box and making them a lifelong enemy because you have done so?

wetransfer

Two options. The first is to head over to www.wetransfer.com – a free service that allows you to upload through them. They hold onto the file and post a link to it to any given email address. The time it takes to upload your file depends on how fast your connection is – as a guide, upload speeds are usually a tenth of your download connection speed, so large files may take an hour or more to upload. What’s great is that you can use it straight away without signing up or creating an account with passwords etc… though you do have to provide your email address.

dropbox-logo
The second option is to sign up to Dropbox. This is an ideal solution if you’re working on the same thing with someone else. It allows you to share a file or folder with as many people as you want, like you would on a private internal network. Those whom you grant permission to access the file/folder can change or update it – ideal if, for example, you’re both writing a script, programme notes or setting a rehearsal schedule that needs constant updating. Your space starts off as 2GB but you can increase this by 500MB for every successful referral you make to friends and colleagues. Dropbox can also be used via apps on phones and tablets as well as connected directly to your file manager on your computer, so there’s no need to keep logging in.

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Recession kills another good guy

adBrite Logo
Online advertiser adBrite is to close on 1st February 2013. We used their ad exchange program displaying banner ads at the foot of this site and whilst we never earned any commission from it, it was nice not to have to rely on the almost monopolistic adSense, the Google version. Sadly, in an email yesterday, adBrite admitted defeat.

Over the last few weeks, adBrite and its management have been evaluating the go-forward plan for the business. Given market conditions and certain financial liabilities, in working with our lenders, we have decided to cease operations on Feb 1, 2013.

This is a difficult decision for all of us at adBrite. However, after much deliberation this seems to be the best course of action despite the impact it will have on all the employees, clients and partners who helped build this business. There will be a team in place as needed to assist with winding down.

We’re open to ideas for a replacement (anything BUT adSense) and will continue to search for one ourselves. If we have any luck, we’ll be sure to post it to you. However, whilst some can earn a small fortune, average websites like ours earn a pittance, if anything. There may not be an incentive to find a replacement. Their loss!

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Easy ways to Screencapture

DKK Website
Here’s a useful trick! So you’ve just been on TV and the production company have sent you a brief recording on DVD of your big moment. Ok, it was for 5 seconds and if anyone had nipped to the loo or put the kettle on they may have missed you. Much better to get a screenshot that you can stick on the gallery section of your site. But how do you save a moving image on your computer as a picture?

Easy, screencapture. Or screenshot. Whatever you want to call it, it’s all the same thing.

If you’re using a PC then you will have a button on your keyboard called “Print Screen” or “Prt Scr” or similar. When you press it, it appears that nothing happens. However, it actually copies an image of the current screen onto your clipboard. So if you open up a text or picture editor and hit paste, the image should appear there!

If you’re using a Mac then you have two options.

  • Hold Command-Shift then 3 to capture the whole screen. The image file will appear on your desktop.
  • Hold Command-Shift then 4 to get a cross-hair cursor. Clickhold and drag to select an area. Releasing will take the snapshot, again saved to your desktop.

If you have an iPhone or iPad, hold down the round button at the bottom of the screen and click the on/off button at the top. This will take a screenshot and save it in your Gallery. Similarly with a Kindle Fire, simultaneously press Power+Volume Down.

Good to know & another useful tip.

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Free fonts


I was recently asked by someone about their self-designing a header for their website. Headers are very important as not only are they the first thing people see but are often the corporate image or brand that will extend to business cards, letter heads etc…
I suggested using a good and original font. The easiest (and free) solution is to check out the vast libraries of free font sites that are out there. I’ve only ever used/needed one site and that is Abstract Fonts. The site boasts over 35,000 free fonts are many of them are just fantastic. There are also some that cost and you may like them too. And there’s no catch. Downloading is straightforward and installing them on a modern computer either happens automatically or is as simple as double clicking on the file once downloaded as often your system will guide you through the rest.

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WordPress app


I have an Android phone and have just downloaded and installed the WordPress app, on which I am currently writing this post. This is my first test message from my phone and it’s pretty straightforward and user friendly. Check out this link for more info on this free app.

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First actor agency website


Many thanks to Chris Ryman who put me in touch with his agent Eamonn Bedford, who has just set up his own actors agency in Covent Garden. With a list of forty clients and growing, Eamonn wanted a site that was simple and clean, whilst obviously up to date and functional. Using WordPress as a basis, we created a site that boasts just that. The site is also html5 based so should be good for the next few years for sure! Though designed more for desktop, it appears to behaving well on a few mobile devices including iPad too. Each actor also needed their showreels embedding. Using mp4, the video should stream at variable rate allowing for better picture quality on faster connections.

Not the only site I’ve been working on of late, but more news of that to follow.

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More server space


Great news from ActorCV’s recommended server provider one.com who have announced a free upgrade to all existing customers in the size of their server space. Those with 3gB’s will be upgraded to 5gB’s whilst those with 10gB’s will be upgraded to a whopping 30gB’s.
ActorCV has been using one.com for the last 5 years and found their service impeccable. I bang on about them in previous posts, they are good. And needless to say this latest present epitomises how well they look after their existing customers. Splendid stuff.

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The SnackTools range!


The SnackTools range is a series of online apps that allows you to design, for free, a large assortment of media that you may wish to include on your website. The list goes thus:

  • BannerSnack – Create great banners in many sizes in Flash and HTML5. The banners can include any text and image you want. If anyone remembers Swish,  it’s just like that if not better and easier to use.
  • PhotoSnack – Upload your photos and create amazing slideshows that you can then download, embed on your website or copy and paste links to share the slideshow on a host of third party social websites.
  • PodSnack – allows you to compile a playlist in customisable mp3 players. You can then embed or link these players to your website.
  • TubeSnack – Like PodSnack, but with videos. You can add videos to a playlist either from YouTube or from your own server. The great bonus here is that the videos aren’t in Flash and so will work on your iPhone and iPad.
  • QuizSnack – Hold your horses, this one isn’t just for quizzes. You can also use it for polls and surveys. You don’t even need your own website as you can publish your questions straight onto Facebook or other social websites.
  • FlipSnack – Convert exisiting pdf documents into great looking pages similar to thos on iBook. Your pages will flip over – it’s looks flash. But unlike Flash, this also works on iPhones and iPads too!
  • SlideSnack – If you have slide show presentations or documents in Word, Keynote or Powerpoint, this app will convert them easily and give you simple links that you can use to share the slide show with friends or collegues. I believe you can even add voice clips too.

Isn’t that an incredible array of stuff! All free too! Aren’t you guys lucky! There are even a few beautifully animated videos to get you started for some of the apps and each site also has a Live Chat help facility. Because it’s free, most of your production will be watermarked by the company, but there is an option to upgrade your account to lose this.

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Make a simple site for free

Pen.io was featured on this weeks BBC’s Click. I took a quick look and found that it offered a very simple solution to web page creation, albeit very simple.

I have done a quick demo by creating an ActorCV Pen.io Demo Page. It even has a great cut and paste embed feature so you can see it below.

The site and concept are still very young and the authors promise exciting new developments in the future.

Also, check out www.posterous.com – another great blog site that’s free to sign up to.

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