I tend to think I’m pretty good about assessing what y’all might want to read, week to week here. I have 15 years of muscle built up for writing a weekly column for actors to consume. Still, sometimes feedback will surprise me. Like this past week.

Last week’s column on The Give-Up yielded ridiculous amounts of email. Now, I knew the column was well-written. I knew the topic was timely. I knew the story was heartwrenching but ultimately motivating. But I had no idea how many actors, writers, directors, agents, managers, publicists, even fellow casting directors would read the column and then reach out to me with stories of their near-misses, their most heartwrenching give-up examples, their commitments to stick with this crazy business NO MATTER WHAT.

It was awesome. But as I always do when I get a disproportionate amount of feedback on a weekly column, I examined what I “got wrong” about my expectations (I do the same thing when I’m sure a column is going to resonate and instead I hear crickets chirping after it goes live).

Then I realized, I got nothing wrong. I just formed an opinion about last week’s column as if I had written it for me. And I’m not my reader.

Just like you, my lovely reader, are not your target agent. You are not your target manager. You are not your target casting director.

Think about that.

You can create the most spectacular marketing materials you’ve ever seen. You can have a website that thrills you to the core. You can have headshots that you believe are flawless. You can work your craft to a level that feels brilliant at every turn.

But, ultimately, you are not your buyer.

So, unless you take a look at everything you’ve put in your actor toolbox — from your headshot and resumé to your reel and cover letter, and from your website and bio to your monologue and 16 bars — from the perspective of your buyer, you may be missing tremendous opportunities. You may have created and crafted glorious tools… that do nothing to ignite inspiration in your targets.

Now, this is NOT my way of saying that you should constantly change up your tools in an attempt to figure out what gets your buyers excited. You’ll make yourself crazy! (Especially if you’ve not truly targeted a narrow list of buyers and are still running all over the place trying to get in front of evvvvverybody.)

What I’m saying is that you shouldn’t be so quick to toss out something that *you feel* isn’t working when it may actually be something your targets will fall in love with! You are not the best judge, sometimes. Just like when you’re selecting headshots and you must get outside opinions, you are sometimes too close to have an objective opinion about which of all your tools works.

When you’re sure you’ve put together tools that line up with the target buyers you’ve researched meticulously (because you’ve done that, right?), use them. If a ton of people (buyers — not people trying to sell you something) tell you something’s not working, ask for specifics. “WHY don’t you feel this headshot represents me well?” “WHAT is it about my website that feels too confusing to navigate?” “HOW should I present my clips to best showcase what I do best?”

But if it’s just the occasional, once in a while, now and then person (especially a non-buyer) who needs to voice an opinion about what’s NOT working among the tools your research has shown is right on track? Just remember the words stitched on this fab pillow I found in the production office of a project I was casting recently.

IMG_2276 (original)

“You are not our demographic!”

That’s the refrain for any non-buyer who has an opinion about what you’re putting out into the world. That includes family members, that includes nasty-ass haters, and that includes YOU (because you are not your buyer).

And because you are not your buyer, don’t be so quick to judge your badassery. Don’t be so sure something’s not good enough, not ready to be out in the world, not worth sending. If you’ve been on the SMFA path for more than a minute, you’ve already run your tools through a ton of scrutiny before getting to this point. You’re professional. You’ve proofread everything. You’ve double-checked the typical quick fixes that exist for almost everything, as well as the feedback so many others have received on their goods over the years. You’ve researched your targets so well that you know what lines up best for each of them. If you’ve navigated this industry like a pro and done your research, it’s not likely that your tools are not ready to go… it’s more likely that YOU are not ready to grow.

Corny, right? If I know y’all like I think I do, you’ll tell me that was corny… but true. 😉 Or not! Maybe that one was just for me. And I am not my reader.

Get ready. Then get your goods out into the world and stop depriving your targets of getting to know 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/001835.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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