As I watched a friend being interviewed on the red carpet, I was giddy, as expected. There she was, being asked all the usual questions, and her publicist trained her well. Every answer, right on! Were the answers accurate? Eh. That’s not the point. My friend was on-brand, on-point, and on-camera for a good bit of time. Yay!

I’ve written before about spin and the art of brandprov. Lovely Jacqueline Steiger contributed a POV on brandprov, it’s so dang juicy.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, you need to master the art of spin before you face a row of microphones, but what about when you’re faced with an agent, having a meeting you’ve been craving? Here you are, ready to start a new relationship (hopefully), and you’re asked a question you don’t want to answer, because, well, you want to tell the truth, and the truth doesn’t make you look great.

For example: “What happened to your scene in that film?” or “What happened with your last agent?”

Ugh.

Well, you could begin the long, drawn-out answer about why you think your scene was cut from the film and why you feel it’s still okay to include that credit on your resumé, hoping that this potential business partner will totally be on your side, will absolutely GET the intricacies involved in your deleted scene, and will still jump to sign you. You could explain that — after a disappointing pilot season — your last agent sent you a drop letter that made your heart hurt and actually had you considering going back to school to finish your degree. And you could hope that while telling this story, you’re not diminishing all chances that THIS agent will be excited to back a winner, sign you, and pitch you like his rent depends on it.

But you know better, right?

You know that if you tell the story that ends badly, if you share the details of the low points in your recent career history, if you — while your potential business partner is scoping you out for possible representation and all the commission dollars that will come from that union — get into the nitty-gritty of the stuff that went wrong, you’re not helping yourself get signed. It’s just like that whole “never ask about someone’s pet peeves” thing. Going negative is easy, but it’s not the best choice.

Of course, you want to be authentic. You want to be honest. Especially when you’re about to begin a relationship with an agent, you want to share the truth. Cool. But you don’t have to share the WHOLE truth, do you?

I mean, when you’re out there dating and get serious enough with someone to have the “sexual history” conversation, do you list off evvvvvvvery single person you’ve ever kissed? No way. In fact, you may leave out more than a few details during this convo. It’s not the end of the world. YOU are the only one with that master list of every job that went wrong, every agent who dropped you, and even that horrible first agent with whom you signed but whose name you never want to mention again.

Don’t lie, but be sure to keep the spotlight that shines on you positioned in the best possible direction. Practice how you’ll handle answering the uncomfortable questions that may come up, so you’re ready for anything.

Start practicing before you’re on the red carpet… because by then you’ll be a spin master! Yay, you!


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/columns/avoice/archives/001590.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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