What Makes an Actor Marketable?
At Artist’s Strategy we deal with actors, beautifully sensitive individuals.
Marketability could be defined as “the quality of being easy to sell,” and although most actors don’t like to think of themselves as commodities, this is what our businesses should be striving for at all times. After all, the more of a risk our customers (directors, casting directors, producers) take on by employing us, the more difficult it will be for us to get work.
But how do we become an “easy sell?”
Oftentimes, our clients think the only way to do this is through amassing more and more credits. This mindset can put them in a dangerous cycle: no one takes them seriously until they have worked at a high level, but they can’t work at a high level until they are taken seriously.
Of course big credits exponentially increase marketability, but we cannot wait for a big break to begin this process. If we are not marketable, we must do something about it now.
So, besides celebrity status, what makes an actor marketable?
Well, what are you selling?
The number one thing an actor can do to become more marketable is to lock down their brand. What is their product in the first place? What are their unique selling points? How would they and others describe their talent?
Is the story crafted around their brand clear, engaging and new?
This may seem obvious, but is it really? How many actors label themselves as actor-producer-writer-musician-dogwalker-activist-babysitters? We are not here to say actors cannot be many things, they can and must. But what should they lead with to create the least amount of confusion for their target audience?
What about the tone you use across social media platforms? Is it consistent? Are you consciously messaging out the same ideas and values each time you engage with the public? Are you striving to make your target audience walk away from your brand with a very specific feeling?
This is different from “type,” which is a shallower and more annoying distant cousin to brand. You don’t have to always be the “girl-next-door” or the “brooding loner,” this has almost nothing to do with what types of parts you can play. It’s about making your audience feel like they really “know you” as an actor.
It is essential to construct a clear but complex identity (based off of a thorough and fearless branding process) so that whenever anybody thinks of you the same ideas and concepts arise!
You’ll be much easier to sell that way!
You’ll show them!!!
Now that you’ve crafted an authentic and specific brand identity that everyone can get on board with, you’ll have to deliver on that brand promise…forever!
What does that even mean? Well, this is where marketing can really inform product improvement. What are all the skills inherent in the brand promise you have created? Do you feel one hundred percent confident with those particular assets? Will you deliver them every single time? If not, get to working.
This ensures that we are not wasting our time getting better at things that won’t help us. If your brand conjures up quiet, moody intellectualism that challenges your audience’s beliefs about the world around them, then you probably don’t need to waste your time perfecting pratfalls.
Also, do not wait to book things to start creating content. Just like with any product you buy, you want to see it in action and therefore how effective it is. I am not just talking about reels and headshots here; what about a vlog, a blog, an IGTV series, a podcast? You need to create as many streams as possible that can carry your brand message to as many people as possible.
So if you are not currently guest starring on 10 TV shows running at the same time, using diverse marketing strategies to put yourself out there will help people get to know not just your work, but you. And if they know you, they’ll be more likely to take that risk on you!