BRAND FOR THE ACTOR
The first step to selling yourself as an actor is to identify and create your brand. Think about yourself as a saleable product. Make your brand consistently unique. This will give you your marketability. In other words, buyers will want to hire you because you will have something specific and unique to offer them that no one else does. Notice that I did not say you need to know YOU, I said you need to know YOUR BRAND, the unique product others see, which will underscore your marketability, so you can sell your product. YOU!
What is a brand?
- Essence. It’s how you’re seen in the world – and what you present to others on a day-to-day basis.
- The best brands deliver one concise, clear message that connects immediately with buyers, motivates them to buy, inspires repeat business and builds customer loyalty.
- Finally, a brand is the authenticity you deliver to your customers that is distinctly and uniquely you – and a combination of all the experiences they have with you.
What does it mean to brand yourself as a full-time, professional actor?
- It’s the image you choose for yourself and how you are perceived by your audience, agents, managers, casting directors, the media, and anyone else who sees you and your work.
- The goal of branding yourself as an actor is to persuade buyers to hire you and keep doing it because you offer them something unique they can’t get elsewhere.
- You can present yourself in whatever light you want to. Just be consistent in what you decide you want others to see.
- Specify to yourself which characters you want to play. Say, “this is who I am.” Then don’t deviate from that decision.
- What you present visually through social media, your headshot, resume, drop-offs, emails, letters, publicity, public relations and anything else that includes your face, credits or behavior should support and market this choice.
- Your brand is also your behavior which should be so strongly defined that anyone viewing it knows exactly what you want them to see.
- Present yourself in the same way you would if you were selling a specialty product.
- Then go out and confidently sell yourself to buyers.
When I taught acting for years, I always said, “specific acting is good acting.” It’s the same with the business of acting.
Too many times actors wait for an agent or manager to show up and tell them who they are. Or they ask me, “what do you think I am?” I can’t tell you who you are or what roles are best for you. Nor can an agent or a manager. You must decide that for yourself.
To decide how to define your brand, ask yourself:
- What do you want those hiring you to see?
- How do you want to be perceived by the public?
- Who’s getting the parts you want right now?
Being an actor is analogous to being an entrepreneur, which means you’ll have to build your business from the ground up. Branding is the best place to start.
My client, Mary Somers, says when she moved to L.A. two years ago, spending more money than she’d like to admit on all kinds of headshots, she kept asking herself, “What’s not working?” Her conclusion mirrored what many actors believe, “It must be my headshot.”
Mary explains how working with Actors Fast Track has shifted her mindset as an actor.
“When I met Valorie, the helplessness I’d been feeling began to slip away. I was unclear about my look and type until she said, “Oh, my god, it’s so obvious! You are the BAD girl, the werewolf girlfriend. You’re the edgy, bitchy girl. You’re not mean, but you have an attitude. You’re rough around the edges and don’t give a crap.” Valorie gave me a consistent direction, shed light on how much is within my control, and taught me that deliberate movement makes a difference.”
Actors often think they need to morph themselves and change their label every time they want to get work when the opposite is true. They need to choose who they are, plant their flag in the sand and say, “this is who I am” and keep saying it over-and-over again so people will want to buy it.
But actors tend to try to please every customer they meet by changing who they are and not understanding that getting hired starts with choosing a brand for themselves and sticking to it, regardless.
You own an Italian restaurant and I come in as your customer and say, “Oh, gosh! You know what? I want Mexican food.” And then you say, “Oh, hold on a second, let me go back in the kitchen. Okay, we’re cooking Mexican food now.”
This is what actors do. They try to please every customer they meet by changing who they are. Instead, we should be the one who is telling others how to sell us! We are ultimately who decides what our marketability is, not someone else.
Remember the scene in which Dustin Hoffman plays a difficult, temperamental actor in Tootsie when the casting director says, “you’re too short for the role” and Dustin’s character hollers beseechingly, “but I can be tall!?” Viewers laugh because the idea that Dustin was willing to morph himself into anything, including being tall, when he was perceived as being too short for the role was hilarious to the audience. But, in truth, this desperate moment is all too familiar to actors and reflects how some can and often do respond to auditions all the time.
When Dustin Hoffman’s character creates who he is and brands himself as Tootsie, he not only gets work, he becomes a super star. This is brilliant because that’s how it works. Hoffman’s character breaks all the rules by recreating himself into a saleable product (a sassy, opinionated woman even though he is truly a man) and springs right past all the naysayers to success.
Actors need to understand that if people don’t know what they’re buying, they’ll never buy it. So, you’ll need to decide who you want to be and manifest it. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a branding session or get help from Actor’s Fast Track to identify your brand. By all means do. I highly recommend getting help in identifying who you want to be. We help people get specific.
This year at our 5th annual Summer Games we are taking you from Brand to PITCH www.theaftgames.com
JOIN US and Get your BRAND ON!!!!!!!!!