The other day I was able to go to my very first special guest workshop at The Actors Network. The headlined guest was a woman named Jessica Sitomer. She is known as the ‘Greenlight Coach’ for people in all facets of the entertainment industry. She has branded herself as someone helping you build your ideal career with a set of tools and action plans tailored to your specific niche. For 7 years she served as the in house coach for the International Cinematographers Guild and has created over 40 seminar topics and has coached over 30 mastermind groups. She speaks professionally as an expert consultant to entertainment organizations and is a regular on BuZZ radio and Cynopsis.com.
Branding Yourself with a Web Series or Video Blog
This was the topic of Jessica Sitomer’s talk the other day and one which yielded many valuable tools that I’d like to share with you now. Most of us know how difficult the competition is for actors in Hollywood. I haven’t met one single actor who isn’t wondering how it is they can move their careers forward and begin to compete with those who have more credits, get access to higher profile auditions, and have partnered with more influential agents. The answer according to Jessica is: Brand Yourself! A Webseries is basically episodic television released on the web and free for mass consumption. There really is not much of a difference between a Video Blog and a Webseries. I guess you could call the ‘Video Blog’ the platform from which you host your Webseries. For details on Hosting websites you can check out my affiliate link on the HostGator service. I highly recommend them!
A blog is basically your own internet site that has the capacity to be continually updated with fresh and valuable content for your readers. These sites usually rank higher than others on the search engines because of this very fact. For a creative team producing a webseries you could create a separate blog or video blog with the domain name being the name of your series. For instance if you were producing a webseries about a guy and his dog – you could create a blog named GuyAndHisDog.com and use this solely as a video blog. Upload fresh content every week and you have yourself a self-produced series! Now as long as you are also marketing your Brand, you can easily update your series across many social media platforms at once!
What is Branding?
Now why is this so important for actors to do right now? With the explosion of Social Media marketing on sites like Facebook and Twitter, the possibilities of ‘going viral’ are very real. Actors must begin to think of themselves as entrepreneurs and as brands if we are to compete in the Hollywood marketplace. The key to going viral? Be interesting! So what is your brand? You! If you are an actor who is not using those platforms then you need to correct this immediately. There is no reason not to. According to a source of Jessica Sitomer’s some big television networks like ABC may be gradually moving away from using Casting Directors to find actors for upcoming projects. They are simply contacting top agencies and asking them to put their stable of actors on tape for auditions. Is this true? We don’t know. In fact, Jessica said that studios and networks actually have job positions where people are responsible for scanning social media and the internet for new and interesting ideas and actors.
This sort of goes hand in hand with one of the best pieces of marketing advice I received from Mike Dillard, who is known as the Godfather of Internet marketing. He said, ‘marketing is not about going out and finding those who want your product, but rather about making sure you can be found by those who want your product.’ This is the essence of ‘Attraction Marketing’, and a philosophy that has enabled Dillard to amass a multi-million dollar company by using the power of the internet and attraction marketing.
Creating Your Branding Formula
Your Type – According to Sitomer, before beginning a webseries you must be clear on a few things so that your branding will be consistent with your own perceived ‘character types’. In other words if you want to create a webseries that will be about the girl who never gets the guy, and you are drop dead gorgeous, then this may be the wrong direction for you to take your branding formula. It will definitely help your plan if you have some solid ideas as to what exactly your ‘type’ is as an actor, before you start creating something that producers, agents, and casting directors simply won’t buy from you. Almost every famous actor you can think of started off playing characters that were a match to their physical ‘types.’ According to Sitomer – this is a good thing! You want to be classified and known as something very specific. Otherwise those who do the casting will have no idea how to categorize you.
Consistency – This is possibly the most important thing to keep in mind before beginning your webseries campaign. According to Jessica Sitomer you want to have a least a year’s worth of material prepared. This does not mean it needs to be a finished product, only that you need to have a road map on where to take your webseries. Ideally you want to produce one short vignette each week in order to achieve the right consistency to your branding and marketing. Without this kind of consistency you won’t develop a devoted list of readers (if you are blogging), and audience if you are vlogging. Consistency is the name of the game in any campaign. Have 1 years worth of material and it will be much easier to acquire other materials, actors, equipment, etc. as you go.
The Log Line – The ‘Log Line’ is a catch phrase that you want to try and develop as an actor in order to make it easier for you to pitch yourself to agents, and for your agents to pitch to casting directors. This should be a unique phrase that encapsulates your ‘character type’, or will help you define your character.
Some examples include:
“A Sex Kitten with a Sense of Humor”
“Evilicious – A Bad Guy you Love to Love”
“Cool Club Kid Living Beyond his Means”
“New Age Asshole”
Some things to consider before beginning to implement your ideas include:
Know who you are and be really clear on it.
Who you look like in the movies and on television right now.
How do you describe him?
Know what genre you want to work in.
Develop 12 subjects.
Be a stereotype that’s escalated.
What are 20 subjects that would fit into your genre?
Part One – Development
Remember that you want to develop a character and a series that will brand you for the types of roles you could definitely be considered for. The point here is to develop a large amount of ideas, and to follow a clear path in order to have enough material to sustain your webseries for at least one year. Jessica Sitomer then took us through a series of topics, questions, and other ways to structure your material based on the perspective of either yourself or your character. I want to take you through some of what she taught us so that you might be able to better understand and implement this into your own campaigns. What you can do is to begin to develop the material based on her questions, ideas, and structuring and begin to upload fresh video content to your blog and to your social media sites on a weekly basis.
Character Branding Traits
Talk topics for your character
10 Q & A’s for your character (as though you were being interviewed)
10 Should be asked questions
10 Tips from your character
10 Challenges for your character
8 Fun facts and must knows about your character
Part Two – And Action!
Create your first episode. Be interesting. Be consistent. Just start writing. You can do this on a budget with very little in the way of resources, money, materials, or other people. Of course you will be limited by what you can create if, but you may find it much easier to get other people involved if you are creating consistent material that people are beginning to follow on social media sites. You may find that as you progress you will want to add other actors, locations, a budget, equipment, and crew.
Of course this is not the full extent to what Jessica Sitomer offers in her programs, coaching, and materials. Full access to her information can be found at her website. Jessica offers 4 coaching programs on her website but does require an initial application for $19.97, in order to determine your level of commitment in moving your career forward. Afterwards the application fee can be used towards the purchase of any product. Sitomer also has numerous products for sale on her site including audio courses, her book, and a mentor program that works on a sliding scale for a small monthly fee. In addition to these products, she also provides some great value by offering 11 free eBooks that you can easily download in PDF format to your computer! Thanks Jessica! Contact Jessica Sitomer – The Greenlight Coach for power tools on moving forward in Hollywood. Good luck! Please feel free to leave a comment, ask a question, and share this info on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for reading!