DIY Acting: How To Build Your Actor Brand
Building an actor brand is of the most overlooked tools at every actor’s disposal. Acting is more than just an art form, it’s a business too. While some actors may say you should just focus on the artform, it is also important to focus on your actor brand like the business it is. You will need a consistent branding across your website, demo reels, headshots, social media, and more. Think of your branding as supplemental to your craft.
If a Casting Director was on your Actors Access profile do you think they would be able to quickly determine where you fit in their casting needs? Or perhaps your agent is submitting actors for a role that has your name written all over it. But when your agent reads that role description, do you think you they’re thinking of submitting you? If not, you’re missing on a chance to be submitted for an audition, or even cast, and you don’t even know it!
It may not be as fun as acting, but building an acting brand will give you an edge amongst other actors. Why not take every advantage you can get? So how do you build your acting brand to stand out from other actors?
FiND Out Your Brand
In order to build your brand properly you’ll need to understand what your brand is. If you’re having difficulty determining your brand, read this .
Your brand should be an extension of who you are as an actor, not just how you see yourself. The reason being, if you brand yourself as the heroic lead actor but you’re actually more of the villain or comedic relief, then your branding will work against you. So chose multiple character types that fit you best and brand yourself around those. The key is to have variety yet a keen focus on your strengths.
A perfect example is Anthony Reynolds, whose acting website is cowboyscopsandkillers.com. Casting Directors know that if they want a bad ass cowboy they’ll want to invite Anthony Reynolds to audition because that’s what he’s great at. If you don’t have that brand identity, you risk being lost in the crowd.
Make It Easy
Casting Directors see hundreds of headshots and audition videos a week, so you need to make your brand pop when they see your profile or videos.
It should be an identity that is easy to understand. For example, if you’re a fitness brand, then take advantage of having an secondary headshot that shows off more of your physique, and create a mini reel, separate of your main reel, that has footage highlighting your athleticism or body type.
The easier it is for Casting Directors to understand who you are as an actor, the more you’ll be considered for roles that actually match who you are, increasing your chances at being cast.
Every actor should have updated profiles on casting websites like Actors Access. If you don’t know about them, I’ve established a list of all the casting sites you should consider here. This is the perfect place to start branding yourself because you directly control what agents and Casting Directors see whenever you are submitted for an audition. Think of your actor profile like selecting a Netflix movie. Every time you stop on a movie, Netflix shows you a preview, and if you can’t categorize it or see its best qualities then you’re going skip to the next movie. Likewise, if the Casting Director is confused by your actor branding, they may skip over you.
Headshots are one of your most important marketing tools in the acting industry. Thus, it needs to look like you. If you show up to an audition and you don’t look like your headshot then you have a problem. So keep them updated. Additionally, develop a small selection of quality headshots to display. They should suggest or hint to the different character types that form your acting brand. But that doesn’t mean you should wear full on scrubs to show you’d be a good doctor. Keep it subtle, this is film acting not theatre.
Just like your headshots, your actor reels should highlight your strengths. You can have a general reel that showcases your overall skills but you’ll also need what I call mini-reels, which are 30-60 second reels that should be individual scenes that show a specific character type, or a grouping of scenes showing similar character types. If you’re consistently being cast as the girl next door, group those scenes together and label your mini reel “Girl Next Door.” Then whenever your agent is submitting actors for roles similar to a “Girl Next Door” role, he or she can use your reel/headshot and submit that to the Casting Director for consideration. Does it increase your chance to get cast? Not necessarily but it establishes an easy association between your actor brand and a specific type of role, so if they like what they’ll see they will consider you for similar roles in the future.
We all know that Hollywood and the film industry loves to cast social media stars, but what if you don’t have millions of followers, why pay attention to social media? Because there are plenty of photographers, filmmakers, actors, social media influencers, and businesses who love to collaborate with actors who may have even just 5,000 followers. Thus, it’s important to project your brand across your social media pages too. You could be missing on great opportunities with other Artists and content creators by not taking advantage of your brand.
Want privacy? If you’re wanting to keep your privacy and take advantage of how social media can improve your acting career then you should have personal pages that you keep private and your public actor pages so that you can connect with people who want to follow you.
Be You, Be bold
You’re acting brand is all about you and most importantly authenticity. You may think you’re fully transitioning into a separate character when the director yells action, but every character you inhibit will be based on a foundation of who you are as a person and an actor. This is why typecasting is good. The characters that you are typecast as are often the roles closest to who you are as a person and an actor, and more than likely the roles you excel in the most.
Thus, present your brand as This Is who I am. Take it or Leave It. Every acting teacher will tell you to make bold choices in your acting. Make bold choices in your branding as well. Don’t be afraid to stick out, because that’s really what we’re all looking for anyways, right?