One of the biggest A-HA moments I can help give actors and other creative storytellers is about one of the most frustrating things I see going on out there.
Living in the past.
It’s ridiculously common and it’s so simple to fix.
And you’re guilty of it if you have:
- a resumé filled with roles you’d never be cast in today
- a demo reel packed with footage of you doing work below your tier
- a bio that’s anchored in childhood and early life accomplishments
- a website photo gallery showcasing archival candids galore
- a cover letter detailing benchmarks from years ago
Now, before you react with a, “But Bon! I *have to* prove I’ve worked!” type line, I’ll ask you to think about your sex life.
Do you need to tell me how many partners you’ve had in order for me to trust you when you say you’re no longer a virgin?
*blink* *blink* *blink*
Well…? Do you?
Of course not.
But for some reason, actors and other creative storytellers spend a LOT of energy pulling out the whoooooolllllee list of EVERY! SINGLE! BOOKING! EVER! as if they believe there’s power in how very long this list gets.
Psst! It’s not helping you to showcase those one-night-stands that don’t represent the best of your decision-making abilities. 😉
Nope. Not ever.
There are repercussions to sharing your ENTIRE history with those buyers at the next tier. Showing them your training-wheels-era choices makes them think you may still be there.
I’ll ask you to reframe your every single piece of marketing material by asking this question:
Because anything in your arsenal that is so busy telling the story of your past that it’s missing the mark of detailing your trajectory is convincing buyers you’re NOT the right fit today.
Worse, it’s telling buyers at the tier you’re trying to LEAVE BEHIND that you need to stay there.
If you’ve ever felt stuck in pre-union-land, copy-credit-meals-ville, or the creative cul-de-sac of the career co-star, consider that your materials may be doing you a disservice.
It’s like creating a recipe out of every ingredient in your kitchen at once.
Be *really* selective.
Share the best of what you’ve done and show the buyers where you’re HEADED. And that means taking the spotlight off all but the very very very best of where you’ve been.
Typical nervous actor pushback: “But, but, but, Bonnnnnnnnnnnnnie… it’ll look like I have no experience if I cut all the crap out.”
I’ll ask you to go back to the virgin analogy and consider a nervous teenager headed out on a date, all twitchy and sweaty and hoping no one can tell how inexperienced he is. Then consider an experienced but discrete young adult headed out with no twitchiness, no sweat, and no nerves about “being found out.”
You’re only nervous about how it looks to the buyers to showcase very LITTLE of your experience when you’re worried they’re gonna catch you having NONE.
When you know the experience you’ve had — no matter how little of it we’re talking about — COUNTS, is GOOD, and shows how spectacular your *next* performance will be… you have swagger that NO resumé, no reel, no bio, no cover letter, no website could even touch.
Think about it.
I’m not talking about false cockiness; I’m talking about the accurate level of confidence in what you’ve said YES to over the years.
Followed by shrewd, purposeful focus when it comes to all the YESES to come.
(Continuing to say yes to the crap? You know where that’s gonna lead, right?)
Go through each of your marketing materials now and use a few highlighters or colored Post-It Note flags to mark off what’s a HELL YES when it comes to telling the story of where you’re headed (in terms of quality of *your* work, quality of the finished product, on-brand-ness of the character, joy you had in doing it, level of pay you received, critical/award status of the project, all of it), mark off what’s still got some sort of value in that it may not check all the HELL YES boxes but it does still help show where you’re headed in some form or fashion, and seriously CROSS OUT the stuff that’s cumin in the chocolate cake batter… that’s the one-night-stand you regret and never talk about… that’s accurate to who you WERE at one point in your storytelling journey but that serves you not at all when it comes to communicating beautifully to the buyers at the next tier on your target project what it is that you’re capable of doing NEXT.
Stop living in the past. Only some of it is serving your future.
Learn how to craft your materials and your every message about who you are as a storyteller into effective tools to help the buyer GET where you’re headed. If you need my help with this, it all happens here.
And if you want to jam with me about this during my next Facebook Live broadcast, well that’ll be in just a few hours right over here (2:30pm PDT). Can’t wait!
I’ll be sure to put the replay up at my YouTube channel, for those non-Facebookers out there. 😉
UPDATE! Watch the replay: Actors Living in the Past!
Meanwhile, lemme hear from you on this. Comments are open below and I’m excited to know how this process feels for you!
Have a glorious weekend!