So, I casually mentioned the concept of Brandprov in last week’s column and linked to a piece I had written about spin and to a POV by Jacqueline Steiger on the topic of Brandprov, then received emails from you fine folks, letting me know that I had never really spelled out “Brandprov,” and that I probably should.

Fair enough. Here we go.

So, last year, during our first-ever online offering of the Self-Management for Actors course, I was in the middle of recording a vid about pitching and “living on-brand” when I started talking about Greg Benson’s Excellent Questions vid and what a great example it is of actors who are brilliant at the art of Brandprov. As I *said* the word “Brandprov,” I realized there was a reason I created that mash-up. It’s ninja!

There’s being on-brand, and then there’s being *so* on-brand that you can be caught off-guard with questions that make NO sense and still represent your brand well, as you improvise.

Of course, you can watch for this on any late-night talkshow or daytime talkshow or any red carpet or any paparazzi-covered moment or any junket that’s not terribly well-edited. Absolutely, the more “live and raw” it is, the better the chance you’re going to see whether a celeb is ninja with Brandprov or better suited for experiences that can be scripted by a publicist and then edited down.

Listen, it’s not a job requirement that you be fantastic at improvising on brand. You do not have to live in a space where talking about yourself, your upcoming projects, your history, your life, your co-stars is easy, but *dang*, it’s a good thing if you can start building that muscle now.

Last week, Deadline Hollywood Daily featured an article on how actors are using the internet to commit career suicide. I don’t see it exactly like that. I remember Jessica Biel trash-talking her show, Seventh Heaven, in a TV Guide interview in the mid-’90s and thinking, “Oh! She wants out of her contract. She’s trying to rebrand herself. She doesn’t want to play ‘good, wholesome girl in network storylines on a Christian-focused show’ her whole life,” and sure enough, that’s exactly what she was engineering through that interview.

Mission accomplished.

Just because the internet helps it happen faster these days doesn’t mean this is new stuff. And grabbing the harness on your career trajectory EARLY is nothing but a good idea.

Brandprov = on-brand improvisation. Try it. Drill yourself using the examples Jacqueline talked about in her recent POV. Take every opportunity to test your ability to keep teaching the buyers how to cast you next. Yes, this is all about the stuff you do OUTSIDE of the audition, because I assume you’re already brilliant at the craft of acting. It’s all the other stuff that gets you the edge.

So, go get it.

PS — There is a special year-end gift I’m offering to column readers who are also on my mailing list. Hop on the list ASAP to get the specs for how I can help you with one of my most asked-for bits of actor feedback, in these last weeks of the year. Cannot wait!

Wanna be sure your tools *and* your mindset are in peak form? Let us get you in gear with some FREE training right now!

Woo HOO!

Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!

Originally published by Actors Access at Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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  1. Bonnie Gillespie May 26, 2014 at 2:33 am

    Psst! 🙂 The year-end mailing-list only bonus went out via email here: and a couple o’ months later, I rolled it out to subscribers of my podcast here: (and, here I am sharing it just in the comments of my column’s blog archive version, 18 months later, as I blast this baby from the past to my mailing list). Ooh… META. Enjoy, y’all! 😉

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