In an attempt to take just a bit of the mystery out of the first four months of the year, I’m going to compare product sales and marketing (sales) to you and PILOT SEASON.
Here’s the situation: Have you even noticed an unmarked can on the grocery store shelf, one with the label ripped off? You know the one, It’s just a silver metal can sitting there by itself. Would you ever purchase such an item? Most people wouldn’t and don’t. They don’t because it’s not clear what’s inside the can. You don’t know what you’d actually be purchasing.
Now, think about those other products that have packaging so skillfully designed and laid out that they literally reach out and grab your attention with colors, designs, fonts, and well-positioned pictures. It’s all thought out to let you know exactly what’s inside, while being as pleasing to the eye as possible. You know precisely what you’re getting! That’s effective marketing.
Now, let’s direct our attention to you…the actor…the product. As an actor, you are the product. Inside and out… it’s you. So, what’s your label look like? Is it telling us what’s inside the can, so to speak? Most new actors, and seasoned ones as well, aren’t really clear on what they’re selling. And, rather than taking the necessary time to figure out just who they are and what they have to offer, they just start marketing themselves with the hope that there’s a chance someone might just pick them up.
Now, ask yourself, what thinking company would handle their marketing like that with one of their own products? What company would put out a product for sale before doing the necessary research and development? Not one that plans on staying in business very long.
OK, so unless you’re completely new, you know that Pilot Season is upon us. Production companies are frantically looking for and at new talent to fill roles in their new shows. When you walk in the room it’s imperative that you have a firm, clear, and solid understanding of who you are and what you’re offering. If you plan on having someone else figure this out for you, you’re highly misguided!
If you want a legitimate shot at working successfully in this industry, let alone making a dent in pilot season, you owe it to yourself, as well as to the market, to know who you are and what you have to offer. Besides just being another cute face in the crowd. Where do you fit in the breakdowns?
Here’s an exercise to help you understand your product a little bit better:
Write a breakdown on YOU. Then, put together a 30-second commercial featuring you as the lead! Write out a simple outline and then record some video on your phone. Once you’re done, play it back. Look for where you’re telling us about yourself. Then, try and replace that by showing us who you are instead. Do another one, but this time make it 45-second and show us more of what you were telling us previously. We, as the audience, want to get to know who you are.
You’ll want to have these spots come in as close to 30 or 45 seconds as you can. If you can get in front of some people while you’re doing this or at least one other person, it will strengthen the assignment making it harder, more anxiety-inducing, more awkward. That’s alright. Think of it like placing more weight on a weight lifting bar when you’re working out. It increases the resistance, therefore increasing your growth potential.
Remembering the words of Pablo Picasso, “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” , don’t just tell us about yourself— let us know who you are and what you have to offer by showing it to us. Let us see you. What will we actually getting if we decide to go with you.