Actor Marketing 102: Why Actors are a Dime a Dozen

The problem is that actors fail to show the director, agent, casting director, etc. the unique talents, skills and experience that they alone can bring to a role. If you don’t show them how you are different and why you are worth their time and money, then you’re less likely to be singled out as the best choice for a role. It’s the difference between being thought of as plain vanilla ice cream and Ben and Jerry’s, Cherry Garcia. Here’s why it’s so important…

Can I Get Two For the Price of One?

When a product is used by many people in their daily lives, it becomes a commodityan article of trade or commerce, especially a product, as distinguished from a service. When something becomes a commodity (Think of gasoline, milk, or ice cream), the main reason you buy “Brand A” over “Brand B” is price and price alone. For instance, you don’t care if it comes from Shell, ExxonMobile or the Qwiky Mart; you just want the cheapest gas possible. There are so many actors out there trying to get work that they’ve become a commodity as well. In general, they’re not viewed as unique, or unique enough to warrant the extra things they are trying to get from the producer.

Cherry Garcia Not Plain Vanilla

The mistake most actors make is trying to market themselves as being able to do and be everything. But like the saying goes, “If you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one.” They, in effect, become just a commodity because they haven’t adequately highlighted what makes them different from the other actors vying for that role – the same ones marketing themselves as being able to do and be everything, as well.

The truth is you can’t do or be everything and it’s a waste of time to try. Instead, you should focus on doing a small number of things very, very well. In business, this concept is called differentiation – the act of creating, defining, and demonstrating the distinctive features, attributes, or traits of a product or service in a positive sense. Successful actors realize that they must pick a handful of their unique talents and skills, along with their experience, and focus on them alone as their main selling points.

Putting It Into Practice

Here’s an example. Let’s say you have a strong desire to carve out a niche for yourself doing classical theatre. You’ve taken stage combat classes, performed in numerous Shakespeare plays, worked the Renaissance Festival circuit and you can even play the lute! Okay, so why not have some headshot shots made that show you holding a sword? Or dressed in period clothing?


Why not highlight all that training and experience on your resume by using a bold, red typeface? Why not include a review sheet that quotes some favorable notices you garnered while performing at some Shakespeare summer stock festival? Now, use this material when you’re submitting yourself for future classical theatre work.

Just by differentiating yourself in this simple way you send a very clear and concise message about who you are and what you can do. Now does this mean you can only present one image to the industry? No, it doesn’t. But if you’re going to show other facets of your abilities, they too need to have the same level of presentation to them. Such as a different headshot, a different resume and a different review sheet. Perhaps even a different kind of media, meaning an audio narration CD or TV and film reel DVD, as appropriate. Whatever you do, stop being a commodity and start becoming something unique.

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