The Actors Brand
Branding for actors is not a new concept, however it’s evolved. In the 1950’s we had the studio roll out of “the silver screen matinèe idol” in the 1970’s we had the character actor, the 90’s gave us the red carpet celebrity. Cut to today, branding is about idiosyncrasy.
Here are some pointers to help you think about your personal brand:
The best way to think about personal branding for the actor is archetype. For example, what comes to mind when you think Chris Hemsworth? Viola Davis? Chances are you’ve got an impression of their essence before thinking about all the characters they’ve played. That quick impression is branding. It asserts an expectation of the type of performance you’ve come to assume of Chris Hemsworth and Viola Davis.
Often when it comes to actors they seem unaware of their physical and verbal impressions, ie. archetype. Knowing your archetype (the impression you make) empowers you to use this information when making acting choices.
Branding is not what you say you are, it’s what they say you are. When an actor submits their headshot/self tape the casting director is not privy to how much effort you’ve put into it. All they know is what they see. Are you a thrilling option for the character, or not?
You have to think about your brand from the outside in, not the other way around!
You already have a personal brand. Realising your brand is not about “becoming” something you’re not. It’s about acceptance. Your brand already exists. Its strength lies in how well you know you attributes. Your physical attributes, your mannerisms, your age, your voice are all aspects of your archetype that influence how audiences perceive you and in turn what they expect of you.
When you know how your specific attributes read on camera you can use this to further inform your script choices.
Branding is not social media. Social platforms (eg. Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, Twitter) are simply media channels that you used to connect with your audience. Your website, your headshots, your showreel, and even your showcase are also channels.
Your brand exists independent of a single media channel. Think about each channel as a mere messenger. Start thinking about your media tools as the gateway between you and your audience. What story are you telling?
Branding Specialist in the Creative Arts Industry. He has taught at NIDA, WAAPA and the MEAA.
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