I spend a lot of time working with creatives on their brands.

Wait wait wait!

Before you zone out and your eyes glaze over and you think, “Ugh, not again on this BRANDING thing!” bear with me for a minute.

Because today I’mma talk with you about when you needn’t worry about brand a damn bit!

Yep. There’s a time.

It’s when you need a passport credit.

A “passport credit” is that booking that gets you access to a new tier.

(Not hip to what the tiers ARE in a creative career? Grab your free SMFA Hot Sheet graphic right over here. You’re welcome!)

Still rockin’ copy-credit-meals and pining away for that first paid on-camera gig?

A passport credit is the first time you get paid for your work.

Making money as an actor but haven’t yet booked a network TV co-star?

A passport credit can be that innocuous one-liner on a show you would NEVER watch (much less let me put you on in our magic wand work together).

Happily living your co-star level dreams but still fantasizing about the time when you’re a series regular?

It may be time to consider a guest-star level passport credit to get you on the road to recurring and beyond.

Many times, when I’m huddling up with someone who’s feeling STUCK at a particular tier, it’s because they’ve been doing such good brand work that they’ve gone blind to opportunities that exist *outside* of their bullseye roles, beyond their top targets, off the freakin’ dartboard for cryin’ out loud!

Let’s look at this on a continuum.

At one end we’ve got a life where EVERY role is on-brand. Every booking is a bullseye slamdunk hell-yes OMG it couldn’t have been anyone BUT you booking. It’s like the breakdown was *written* for you. Every time. We like these. They feel like being ourselves. And while the creative stretch within that may vary, there’s no question what you’re being hired to do with these gigs.

You know which directors out there line up with this type of storytelling already, right? You’ve done your Self-Management for Actors homework so you know which writers are RIGHT NOW stringing together words you were born to be paid to say for millions of adoring fans. Brand you. You’ve got this stuff.

You don’t even look at projects that don’t align perfectly with your most castable brand. Not because you *can’t* do everything but because you know the fastest way to build a reputation is to be consistently that thing you make look effortless as you build a fanbase out of buyers who align with exactly that need.

At the other end of the spectrum, we’ve got the actor who says yes to everything. Not only is brand not the focus, it’s not even an afterthought. You know this spaghetti-slinger, right? Submitting on everything, saying yes to everything, amassing footage — yes — but nothing that explains perfectly exactly where it is he or she is headed. Just a bunch o’ nonsense like the menu at the Cheesecake Factory.

And we know where that leads… this is our buddy who will work off the card or go FiCore because “being on any project is better than nothing.” Ugh. Such low standards. This is the actor who adds all the extra work to his or her IMDb profile. Ew. Don’t do that. This is the one with 20 different headshots and clips featuring “Hey! That’s my elbow in the scene with Pacino!” footage because, hey, it’s work! No…

NOT the level of stuff our magic wand work is made of. Not even a little bit.

Okay, so along this continuum, there’s you. 😉 You GET your brand. You get the importance of saying yes to work that aligns with your brand. More importantly, you know how valuable it is to start saying NO to projects that don’t help you show buyers where you’re headed and exactly how to cast you next.

But when you’ve spent a little *too* much time with blinders on — specifically so you no longer even SEE projects or roles that aren’t #SoOnBrand for you — you may be missing that now and then (NOW AND THEN) it’s time to get a stamp in your passport so you’re cool to travel there from here on out.

It’s easier to get in the room once you’ve been there. Once you’ve been cleared for takeoff, there’s not as much work required to get you access to that runway going forward. Once you’ve cracked a tier — even in an off-brand role — you’re going to have an easier time getting in the room on the NEXT gig at that tier.

And THAT role is the one that *must* be on-brand.

Because that’s when you’re teaching the buyers “this is what it looks like when *I* do co-star, baby!” and so on. ’til you get stuck in co-star land and desperately want to crack into guest stars… and then you may have to do that schmacty family sitcom as a guest-star even though you’re totally NOT the schmacty vibe… but you cash that check, you enjoy that credit, and possibly without even putting it on your reel (because the footage doesn’t serve you as well as the BILLING does), you say thank you for the stamp on the passport that makes it possible to get back to that place on the continuum where you say NO to off-brand roles at this new tier.


Don’t overthink saying yes to a passport credit when the time is right to do so.

Do it too soon and you’ve shifted over to the “that guy” territory who says yes to everything. Do it too late and you’ve stayed stuck at a tier too long to break out.

This is growth management.

Need help knowing where you are in this loop? That’s what I’m here for. Join me for a life-changing 100 days starting now and you’ll make it in for the last class of 2017! Yup… enrollment is now open and I’m ready to help steer you through some crucial next-tier decisions so you don’t have to go it alone. Heck, our whole community of phenomenal people cannot wait to welcome you to the DOJO!

Let’s DO this!

Have a great weekend, gorgeous!

Safe travels. 😉


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

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