Magda Marcella: How to Create Character, Story, and Brand on Pinterest

Now, I’m not a Pinterest person. Well, I did the “usual” and grabbed my user name when the site launched, like every good brand-managing web-user should do for all new social media creations, but then I let the account sit until a few actors out there started putting my more popular quotes onto graphics. It was at that point that one of the members of Team Cricket Feet said, “Um, you should have a quotations board.” So, um, I do. Sort of. But I’ve never thought about the true potential a site like Pinterest holds for actors and other creatives, which is weird considering how well I know that ours is a visual industry! Well, when Magda Marcella shared a bit about how she was using Pinterest in some very creative ways, I was intrigued (not just for myself, but for y’all). Here’s her great run-down of how Pinterest can help build several elements of your creative career.

Pinterest: How to Create Character, Story, and Brand

I know what you’re thinking. Pinterest? Isn’t that reserved for stay-at-home moms stockpiling gluten-free muffin recipes and bridezillas-in-the-making looking for that perfect celebrity knock-off wedding dress? Oh, and nail art aficionados.

Well, I thought so, too.

I’d been using Pinterest for a while as part of social media marketing for my personal website and my blogs, but I just recently realized what a powerful tool it can be for creatives in general and actors in particular.

As I write this, I am in preproduction for a short film I wrote and will be directing. Since this film is partially inspired by my family roots in Poland, I’m very particular about the feel and style in which it will be shot. I know exactly what I want, but sometimes that is difficult to explain that to another person. Just showing a photo or two of the style I am looking for is not enough, because different things will jump out at different people. I showed my co-producer a film poster that has a similar film grain and feel to what I want, but she thought I was talking about the font style. I’d have to find a whole collection of photographs in order to get my vision across.

And then, it hit me.

Pinterest.

Use Pinterest to Create the Universe Your Story Inhabits

Instead trying to find that one photo that perfectly encapsulates what I want, and then having to download it onto my computer before uploading it to an email or pasting it into a document, I could create an entire collection of photographs with the click of my mouse! I created an “atmosphere” board for my film, and started pinning a wide variety of photos, all of which reflect some aspect of the atmosphere I want to create in my film.

Since I use Google Chrome, I have downloaded the Google Chrome Pinterest extension (which you can access through Pinterest itself), which allows me to pin images directly from almost any website, even if the website in question does not have Pinterest activated.

Now, instead of trying to explain what style I’m going for, or emailing a handful of photos to prospective and current cast and crewmembers and hoping that they get it, I can simply send people a link to my “atmosphere” board. A picture is famously worth a thousand words, and you can create a whole spectrum with a couple of pictures. When you have dozens, or even hundreds of pictures, a pattern starts to form.

When you’re telling a story, you are creating another world, a whole other universe. In order for your audience to fully buy your story, they have to accept — down to the smallest detail — the world in which your story is set. That is why it is so important that everyone is on the same page when creating the universe of a film. Any incongruence will take the audience out of the story. It is the patterns that solidify a self-contained world, theme, or identity.

Use Pinterest to Curate Your Brand

In addition to creating boards for a film, you can create boards for practically anything. Create boards for a character you are preparing for. If you also write, direct, or produce, create boards for stories and characters you are developing. Create boards for the different types of characters you can play and the shows and films you would play them in. Are you the quirky, lovable girl with bangs and floral dresses à la Zooey Deschanel on New Girl? There’s a Pinterest board for that, complete with lemon-rosemary scone recipes and A-line skirts!

Which brings me to other ways we, actors, can use Pinterest. Pinterest is a GREAT way to develop and curate your brand. Most people have a difficult time assessing themselves objectively, myself included. Figuring out my “brand” has always been difficult for me because I’ve felt like my “look” encompassed many different types of characters. As human beings, we are complex creatures with often contradictory attributes, attitudes, and interests, and we can’t go off of just *one* description when we’re figuring out our brand.

Pinterest allows us to see the bigger picture and detect patterns. Create a “brand” board and pin every single thing you are described as. Pin images that reflect adjectives people use to describe you; pin images of celebrities and characters you’re compared to; pin movies, books, and television shows people say you’d fit right in. Pin fashions people say they see you wearing, pin things YOU love (even if they are contrary to your alleged “look”), pin things true about you, and pin wildly false assumptions about you that others have made. Pin photos from your photo shoots, headshots, and film stills. Pin projects you were called in for, but didn’t get. All of this creates the varied and complex garden that is you. Do this regularly, over a period of time. Let your “brand” board grow naturally. Little by little, you will start to see patterns, even in the wildly differing themes. Eventually, you will start to see what Bonnie calls your brand “bullseye.”

Pinterest as a Modern Rorschach Test

But don’t stop with just an actor “brand” board! Everything on your Pinterest is useful. In a way, Pinterest is like accessing your subconsciousness. Surveys where participants are asked to answer questions about themselves are often biased, because humans are knowingly or unknowingly biased when comes to themselves. But Pinterest doesn’t ask you to answer questions about yourself, rather, it allows you express your likes and interests in a visual representation. You might like scenic photographs of country houses, while your friend might like black-and-white avant-garde photography. Both give clues about your respective personalities. As an actor, you can use this to both gain further insight into and build your brand.

Furthermore, if you regularly update your acting website or blog, consider using Pinterest as part of your social media marketing strategy. In addition to promoting your brand throughout the webisphere, with time, you will have created an organic record of “you,” from headshots, to set photos, to movie posters, and to film stills. Again, the key is to recognize patterns. After several months of regularly posting updates to your blog, do certain themes show up over and over again? Viewed as a whole, what does your Pinterest say about you and your brand? Do you tend to play the same kinds of characters? What types of projects do you tend to book — moody dramas, sexy action films, or bright and cheery comedies? Be an archeologist and treat your Pinterest as a well-preserved archeology site, full of clues as to who the person behind it is.

Use Pinterest to Research Your Audience

Finally, if you really want to do some in-depth research, you can use Pinterest to gain even more insight into how others perceive you, and to research the types of fans your brand has. While I wouldn’t rely solely on Pinterest to do your market research (Pinterest demographics tend to be skewed toward middle class women, usually looking for the aforementioned muffin recipes and wedding gowns), it can offer some good general insight. First of all, pay attention to who is liking and repinning your pins. What boards do they pin them on? Did they pin your Tomb Raider-esque Halloween costume on a board entitled “Badass Chicks” or “Sad Emo Goths?” Did someone pin your headshot onto “Country Hunks” or “Sensitive Artists?” Try to figure what is it about your image that caught a fan’s eye.

In the same vein, look at who is liking and repinning images from your character and show boards. For example, who are the users who seem to repin nearly every photo you post onto your Vampire Diaries board? Research these users. Look around their profiles, poke around their boards, see what their interests are. This will give you an idea of who the fans of The Vampire Diaries — and, by extension, who your fans — are, and what makes them tick. This information can be very helpful in building and refining your brand, as well as in refining your marketing materials when you target The Vampire Diaries and the industry professionals who work on that show. This information will also come in handy if you decide to self-produce — you’ll already have an idea of who your target audience is!

Sometimes, it is difficult to see the forest for the trees, but I believe Pinterest can help you start to see that forest. A forest that may be filled with contradictory things, but one which, at the end of the day, creates a harmonious whole that is uniquely you.

I love this so much, Magda. Thank you! When you posted about your use of Pinterest at our Self-Management for Actors Facebook group, I was so enchanted by how you pulled together a ton of great visual data for your film that I knew this would be a spectacular resource for fellow creatives looking to build their own presentations to share with their teams. What I wasn’t expecting was all the phenomenal information on how to use Pinterest for brand-building *and* fan-analysis. Here’s to the archeological digs actors will surely begin doing with your help, starting right now!

About Magda Marcella

Magda Marcella is an actress, writer, and producer in Los Angeles. She has written and produced a webseries entitled Miracle Mile Girls which was featured at Cannes and which later snowballed into an interview blog about successful women (girls going the extra mile to make miracles happen, if you will) and a feature in development. She can be seen in upcoming indie features Hunter, School’s Out, and Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance, coincidentally playing charming — if troubled — young women prone to violence in all three. She is also involved in the Women in Film Charity PSA program. Find out more about Magda on her website!


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 http://more.showfax.com/plus/pov/2014/09/pinterest_how_to_create_charac.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the managing editor’s personal archive.

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