This week’s column will be short, because this is really simple and pretty dang powerful.

When you’re thinking of what builds up your brand, consider Betty White. This is a person whose brand has been made up of the exact same elements for seven decades.

If one was asked to describe Betty White in her 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and now in her 90s, there are a few words that would *always* be used, pretty much no matter what.

Why is that? Because our core essence does not change too much. Sure, there are shifts caused by big changes in our lives: marriage, divorce, parenting, loss, the biggies. But at our core, there’s an enduring quality, and that’s one of the most efficient elements we can use, when we’re asked to describe ourselves.

That “being asked to describe ourselves” thing is basically being asked to declare our brand, succinctly. It’s what our agents and managers use when pitching us to casting. It’s what casting uses when pitching us to directors or producers.

What’s your enduring brand word or phrase?

Not sure, yet? Well… great news! Here’s a map I drew for one of my amazing clients who is working on refining his brand and his pitch for a huge opportunity coming up in a couple of weeks. I then shared this map with one of my masterminders who is rehearsing her pitch. Now, of course, I’ll share it with you.

  • Have a bullet-point list (not complete sentences) of the elements that MUST be in the pitch, no matter how long it is. 10 seconds, 30 seconds, 45, 60, 90, 120, 180… no matter how long your pitch is, these are things you want to hit.
  • Order that list from MUST MUST MUST to “it’s nice if I get to say this too,” top to bottom.
  • Fire up your webcam.
  • Do your pitch at 10, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 180 seconds.
  • Do it without a script. You know that bullet-point list well enough that you can riff. You’ll also learn what keeps creeping in when you’re not using the list… hmm… maybe it wants to be higher up the list? Interesting.
  • Watch playback. All of it. Every take. EVERY take. Look for your tics and tricks and “ums” (not everyone’s “um” is an actual “um,” sometimes it’s a lip smack or an eyebrow thing).
  • Redo the pitch at each of the lengths.
  • Keep watching it back. Keep re-shooting.
  • You will get crystal clear on which elements are redundant, which are indulgent, which are not at ALL gonna help you get “gotten” by your buyers no matter how much you’re in love with them.
  • Once you’re getting bored with this process, start playing with your clothing, hairstyle, earrings, makeup, facial hair, glasses — whatever is a variable for you. See what changes when you do the same pitch with a different look. See what throws you off. See what suddenly clicks.
  • Again, watch all of it. ALL of it. You will learn something from every take.
  • Keep doing it.
  • Seriously. Keep doing it.

What endured? What word or phrase lights you up when you say it, and it’s so obvious that it does that you can’t miss it when you’re watching playback? What gets you so excited you actually want to share it with others (instead of feeling ashamed that you’re doing all of this crazy self-taping)?

Boom. Your enduring brand.

Lemme hear from you! I’d love to know — from those of you who *really* do this homework — how it goes. 🙂 Brand on!


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/001844.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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