By Kimberly Faye Greenberg, Sep 5 2015 01:06AM
Branding... And no I don't mean taking the iron stake and burning it up and etching it into your tuchas/rear-end/ass whatever you like to call it.
Branding is the idea of honing you/your product so well and succintly and specifically (a word I seem to like to use a lot when it comes to the "biz") that a casting director knows exactly what it is you do, what it is you play and what your essence is in a matter of a second. It's your commercial.
You are an actor and you are selling yourself and you want to do it in the best and smartest way possible.
This is what we call BRANDING.
I mean let's be honest who here doesn't have an inkling of what the Progressive commercial and our"friend" Flo has to offer without even looking at the TV screen. Their branding is so embedded in your mind about what the product name is, who Flo is, what the product represents and how they, as an insurance carrier, can help you. Therein lies the lesson! Your commercial (brand..ie. what you have to offer/are selling) must be just as clear as an actor. And, the trick is to do this so specially that it separates your unique you from every other actor. It say’s I’m different then the 1000’s other “girl next door’s” or “handsome leading men” and this is why. You bring something unique to the table and in your branding it's time to flaunt it.
For instance, a gal said to me “well, I'm the second banana”. My response is that is not specific enough! Do you know and realize how many ways there are to play a second banana? I told her that she brings something unique to the table that makes her an awesome and unique choice for when someone wants and envisions/writes a second banana role. What is it though? What qualities in her sense of being ring so true that it would make this second banana role truly unique. For instance…perhaps she has a dry sarcastic wit, maybe she is silly, giggly, an air head, dumb, all knowing… and the list goes on and on to infinity.
If this gal just stuck with advertising the fact that she is a second banana she will always be in the mix with 1000s. You come at it with more specificity you will be one of maybe 5/10/20 max… Don't you want to be one of five very specific choices for a second banana?? Where a casting director clearly knows what you have to offer and whether or not YOU fit into the mold that has been written?
Your screaming well nothing is that specific and I can go in an audition for any second banana role . The truth is no you can not! Let's look at it another way from the viewpoint of the Casting director or any theatre professional that may hire you. The casting directors/theatre professional release specific breakdowns for said second banana role that lists specific adjectives that this character must possess. Think about it, while one playwright or tv sitcom writer might write a second banana role in the vein of CLUELESS another may do it in the vien of Amy Schumer (and lets just say it…this girl ain’t clueless…). Where do you fit?
If you AGAIN say I can do both..think again! First and foremost this is a business. Time is money and vice versa. If you really think that most of the casting directors are going to take the time if they don't already know you or your talents to invest their hard earned time (ie money) to examine the many facets of you generic marketing saying that I can play any second banana role they may cast... the answer is NO! They get 1000's of submissions for every role. They audition maybe 8-20 if you are lucky. So don't you want them to know what it is you specifically do the best out of everyone so that if it matches what they do you actually get to be one of the 8 people with an audition appointment?! Of course you do!
So how do you brand yourself?
1) List adjectives you use to describe yourself;
2) Honestly think of roles you can play right now and think of qualities in those roles that ring true in you and list those as well;
3) Think of actor/actresses who are working that have similar essences as you/play similar roles and pick out some qualities that ring true in them that also ring true in you;
4) THEN, combine the strongest adjectives that you have come with into a SHORT sentence that shouts to the world (like a commercial) THIS is what I do!!
For instance: MY branding..
A brassy sassy NY Broad with a biting sarcastic wit and quirky charm.
My branding is all over my postcards, my websites, I sing material to match, my monologues go with my branding and I even dress with a womanly “edge”. And, people know what it is that I do and can offer them. Now, not to say that I don’t play other roles, because i do, HOWEVER, its only because I started to work steadily and people got to see my work and what I do well and then slowly it branched out and grew like a flower.
See people start to invest their time in you, since they trust you and your skills and your business prowess, and then they say “Oh let me see if she/he can do anything else” and then, that is the time you can start to “Do it all!” and perhaps play every second banana role known to man.
Now, There is no wrong answer on whether or not your branding statement is good or bad. It literally just needs to remain true to exactly who you are and what you do. Any straying from the truth by using what you think people want you to be won't work. Because by staying true to yourself, like me, you use it to help you add personality to your website, take proper photos, choose your audition material, dress appropriately. It shouldn't be hard to align these things if done properly because this is who you truly are to the core and what makes you uniquely you.
Of course, the only thing that might be hard about this is embracing your unique you.. All the good, bad and ugly. Perfection and cookie cutter are not the goal...
But I say to you, embrace imperfection. embrace you!!! If we can’t embrace and know who we are how can anyone in the field know us and what we do! GO FOR IT! Start BRANDING!