What MAKES Sammy Run? – ACTORS AND FILMMAKERS – YOU MUST BOTH “BRAND” YOURSELVES TO BE SUCCESSFUL
Samantha Tuffarelli putting her best Brand forward, as she uses her “other” skill dancing, in the television pilot, “SUPERFANS.”
Daniel McQueary, holding the Chris Caddel Flatland Filmmaker Award for “ALFRED THINKS WE’RE ALIENS,” at the Flatland Film Festival inLubbock,Texas.
This BLOG applies to both filmmakers and actors, alike. So, listen up, get a paper and pencil, you might want to jot a few things down. ;)
One of the key mistakes I’ve seen both actors and filmmakers make is the lack of Brand Marketing with their products; ie their movies, their characters and obviously, most importantly, themselves.
As an actor – or a filmmaker – you are your own, “Brand.” I’ve often heard actress Samantha Tuffarelli say she is the CEO of Her Own Company, and that is a nice and healthy way to look at it.
Think about it for a moment. You have your imdb page, to list your filmography, your awards, show your photos. You have all of the Social Networking sites, not the least of which is ForTalent, if you hope to be in this business. You should be making press kits up – NOT just for your films, but for Your Brand … You!
A press kit that has a photo of you on the cover, with your business card enclosed, your articles in the media, your imdb page and resume, etc, etc. Regardless if you are an actor or a filmmaker, you can hand these out at film festivals. I once worked with an actress who overcame a lot simply in her Brand Marketing. She had these exact press kits I am describing here, and would bring them to every festival. Heck, on one of the films I produced, she took a picture with every member of the cast and crew – paid for frames – and gave them out at the wrap party.
While I do believe her gesture of the pictures was genuine, it was also the smart play. And, it was also quite an interesting way to get your Brand out there. While this was not Tuffarelli who did this, I am sure she could appreciate - as the CEO - getting her Brand out there in a positive way.
Again, though, I am shocked by how many actors and filmmakers fail miserably at this. Just the fact that some people have resisted ForTalent or take their time signing up for such a valuable – and free!! – site is amazing to me. Yet others, like Tuffarelli, have taken advantage of it. She has already won the contest I sponsored, and she will tell you it paid off dividends for her. Well, just listen for yourself.
“For Talent is wonderful,” Tuffarelli smiled. “For anyone who’s not on it, you should go on right now and sign up. It’s free of charge. It’s awesome. You have to take advantage of it.
“What better place to connect with other actors, writers, directors, producers – just anyone in the industry. You can showcase all your work, your post videos, post pictures. For me ForTalent was awesome. I was fortunate enough to win (a monologue contest sponsored by Sam Borowski). Wow!
“(Sam) believed in me enough to pick me as a winner. And, in getting to know me (through winning the contest and then) even more taking his classes, I’m fortunate enough that he’s hired me in a movie for the summer (“A PLACE FOR HEROES”).
“It all happened because of ForTalent – because I was on there, and I joined the contest, and I won, and I met Sam. And, then, from taking his class and from him getting to know my work, he put me in the film, so I’m really excited about that.”
Let me tell all of you, she truly earned it. But, one thing she did besides earn it – was make the most of it. She had – and still has – tremendously attractive and colorful business cards. I still remember a dinner with her in January, where she beamed, “These are my new postcards,” and they were of high quality. She is charming – without really trying to be- and thus, she is never at a loss to push her Brand.
But, truly, she is in the minority. I know it – I see it all the time. People say they want this business, but their actions don’t back up their words. They don’t push their Brand hard enough or in the right way. They barely do the bare minimum (yes, we’ve discussed this already lol).
Let me tell you about another person I met, a filmmaker – Daniel McQueary. I met him at the Trail Dance Film Festival back in January. This kid knows how to make friends, network and push his brand – in a calm and very nice way. A little over a year out of college, he has already learned to work the festival system. I still remember thinking, “he reminds me of me a decade ago,” as I watched him chase down the Bare Bones Film Festival people, who had a presence at Trail Dance.
He PLAYED at that festival … and won an award!
Moreover, he is talented, he is humble (a rare quality in a filmmaker), and I am proud to call him my friend.
But, he is a rarity. I meet so many filmmakers who take a laissez-faire approach. “I won’t waste my time on another social networking site.” “I won’t put the money into post-production.” “Who needs press kits.” “Not going to that festival – have to save my cash, going on vacation.”
They are lucky if the business doesn’t take vacation from them! It’s the same with the actors that don’t want to spend the money or time or work on a real acting class. You have to put time, money and original thought into marketing your Brand!
Or as my friend, screenwriter, Joshua Runyon likes to say about people who DON’T passionately approach and market themselves, “"If not, find a different career, you know?"
And let me tell you about Josh, despite the fact that he fights the same uphill battle as other screenwriters, he actually has sold t-shirts – bearing the logo of his Production Company, Deus Ex Machina – in 3 different countries!
So, if you’ve been jotting this all down, let me explain; no there is too much … Let me sum up:
Have the courage to stand up there and say, “This is who I am! This is my Brand! It is valuable!” But, you do that, not necessarily with words, but actions.
As Samantha Tuffarelli would say, “Be the CEO of Your Own Company!”
And when you do, make sure you successfully market your Brand!
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Film / Theater / TV, Writing
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