The days of artistic expression are over.
If you are an actor, you are a commodity. And you have to reckon with that in order to be successful. If you’ve figured out your brand, you’re on the right route to being a successfully working professional.
Previously, I’ve outlined how to find your actor type. Here’s how to exploit it.
Just knowing your type is not enough. You have to live it. It’s essential to accentuate your actor brand characteristic in every audition, every project, and every outing that you attend. Mind you, you’re not pretending to be someone else. People have told you this is the persona you are already putting out there. Emphasizing that characteristic is enforcing your brand recognition.
Sure, you’re more than the sum of your parts, but what’s easier to remember: “do-gooder curmudgeon” or “anti-hero with a smidge of forlorn and resentment hidden underneath a carpet of Anne Frank optimism and wrought by a penchant for justice”?
It’s vital that you relay your strategy to your representatives, and it’s not too bad of an idea to mention your type when you seek representation. This will prevent spaghetti-on-the-wall repping which seldom reaps rewards.
Ideally, you want to optimize your presence such that people say, “That’s [you].”
Throw It Down
Choosing projects that emphasize your brand is wise. Throwing in a “You” even when the role isn’t specifically calling for that trait is smart business.
Christopher Walken and Robin Williams have been absolutely brilliant in imbuing their brand into their roles. Critics complain that they’re playing the same roles. Essentially they are, but it’s more complicated than that. They may be playing the same type, but they are layering they’re brand onto individual characters.
The important thing to realize is that this trait might be completely opposite of who you are or who you perceive yourself to be. That’s okay. It worked for Rita Hayworth (“went to bed with Gilda, woke up with me”).
A-list actors have the ability to experiment and stretch their acting chops.
You do not.
The apparent openness of the internet has allowed a lot of noise. Everyone is a would-be disrupter. Everyone is a brand. Everyone is flinging their likenesses online. Filmmakers seeking to get into Hollywood post samples of their “genius” online hoping that industry execs take notice. These rarities-and they are rare given the ratio for success-have opened the floodgates to a lot of clatter. To rise above this cacophony, instead of making the next best thing, execute the best marketing plan.
Figure out how you can show yourself off best and stay on that track.
Williams lost track of his edgy peculiarity. His career suffered. But when his choices were smart, accolades and box office successes were plentiful. While he reigned in his manic mind-purge for Good Will Hunting, there were indeed flashes of it in the movie. And he was rewarded with an Academy Award.
Also forget about making money and landing endorsements with your digital endeavors. As revealed at a panel at Createasphere’s Transvergence Summit, even the Emmy winning Lizzie Bennet Diaries had to use Kickstarter to pay its people.
The internet has segued into an outlet for Advertainment. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t sustain that to advertise yourself.