How to brand yourself as an actor
As an actor, it is important to attend class and keep your skills sharp. It is important to build relationships and create your own work and to stay active in your community. It is also super important that you build and maintain a consistent brand. This is one of the most important aspects of the “biz” of acting that we teach here at 3-2-1- Acting Classes for kids, teens and young adults in Los Angeles. If you are wondering how to brand yourself as an actor, you have come to the right place! Here are some tips:
- Survey your community
If you are feeling a little lost regarding how to brand yourself as an actor, that is totally okay! You have hundreds of great resources at the tips of your fingers – the people in your community! Start with your family, friends and some acquaintances on Facebook. Find out how they see you. Come up with a short list of simple questions that you can post on social media sites or perhaps send around via email. For example, you could ask the following:
- Name the first 5 adjectives that come to mind when you think of me (don’t overthink it!)
- How old do I look to you? Please give a 5 year range. (This one is better to ask of acquaintances or people who don’t know you as well).
- Name 5 professions that you could see me playing on TV.
- Name 3 actors/actresses that I most remind you of.
Whatever you decide on, be consistent in your asking. And encourage people to be honest and not to sugar coat anything. For example, if you look “gloomy” or seem “anxious” to other people, you want to know these things. This is just research data and not at all a commentary on who you are as a person. You need to know how you appear to others so that you can factor this into your branding.
- Survey strangers
Whenever you get the chance, and can do so in a polite and non-confrontational way, ask these same questions of strangers. Perhaps of people you have just met at a social event (especially other actors – they will totally “get it!”), or perhaps of people in the grocery check out line. Just say “I am doing a school/professional survey about how I appear to the outside world. Would you mind telling me (insert one of the above questions)?”
Data from strangers is super valuable because, like casting directors who are meeting you for the first time, they know nothing about you.
- Compile data
Here comes the fun part. Now, you get to compile your lists of descriptive words and age ranges to discover trends! Did 57 out of 70 people say that you are “outgoing”? Did most people give you an age range that is older than what you are currently playing? This is all good information to have, and to consider, as you tweak your brand.
- You choose!
Ultimately, of course, your brand is your decision. You are the one going out to audition and investing in the headshots and marketing materials. Which characters call to you? What can you play easily and effortlessly. Pay attention to these feelings and trends.
Of course, take logical factors into consideration. If you are 27 years old but appear to be 18 years old, you are probably not going to play a young lawyer. If you naturally have a bubbly and bright personality, you probably aren’t the best fit for “sarcastic best friend.” You get the picture.
- Embrace your brand.
Often an actor’s brand is a wide departure from who he actually is as a person. The most down-to-earth and loving individuals always end up playing the villains! And it takes a really smart actor to understand and play a not-so-bright character.
Never take your brand personally. Have fun with it!