I have been hearing for awhile now about actors who develop a logline for their brand using a few carefully selected adjectives and a noun or two. As a procrastinator, I have delayed the process several times but after an invigorating workshop today in Austin, I am freshly inspired to examine my marketing efforts and infuse some new energy into that area.
You might think writing a simple description about yourself would take a minute or two. The truth is, it could be a process that takes days or even weeks to clearly define who you are as an actor. If that seems like a long time, consider how many months can be spent by a company doing the same thing. You’re no different than a big company, right? You’re (hopefully) running your career as a business.
As a newer actor, you may be unclear about loglines and their purpose. For a film, loglines are merely a one or two sentence description of the overall idea of the story. It’s an important tool in pitching a script.
The same idea applies to you. Your logline is a way to define your brand and pitch yourself (or be pitched) for particular roles. It doesn’t mean you fit only one role, of course. It simply helps you occupy a more narrow space in the minds of people casting roles. Some people might refer to it as finding your niche.
Now I could have developed my logline and shared the whole process with you in one post. Instead, I want to work on it in steps, just like I recommend you do. So today we will start with finding our adjectives. These are words that can describe our essence as actors and as people. The list should consist of words that people feel are credible and believable about you when you walk into a room.
As an extreme example, if you saw Vin Diesel walk into a room, the adjective “timid” would not even come close to a believable option. It’s important to select adjectives that casting directors and others can accept about you without it requiring you doing a 30-minute presentation to demonstrate how the adjective really fits your personality.
ASK YOUR FRIENDS
There are a variety of ways to create a list of adjectives to get started. One way is to ask people who know you how they would describe you. Make sure your clearly state the intention and limit the request to words that immediately come to mind for them, not references to inside jokes.
AIM FOR AUTHENTIC
One downside to the approach above is the response might be overtly positive instead of balanced and accurate. You want a realistic list in progress, not merely flattery. So here is a second suggestion. Come up with your own list of 15-20 adjectives that seem to describe you accurately and send that list to a few friends and acquaintances and see which words grab their attention.
LOOK FOR OVERLAPS
Aim to have each person choose their top 3 words. If you ask 10 people, you’ll get 30 words back. Look for common ground among the responses. That’s a good sign. Different people are seeing you the same way. Keep track of those adjectives. Then, look at the list to see if the common responses include any synonyms and choose the stronger word option. My list below contains some words that are closely related. By the end of the process, one may be saved while the other is scrapped.
TURN TO GOOGLE
Now here’s what I did to generate my list. I did a simple Google search for Top 100 adjectives to describe a person. You’re welcome, of course, to search whatever you think will give you a solid list from which to draw. As for me, you’ll see I narrowed my source list of 100 down to 20. It probably took me sixty seconds to make that happen.
Now it’s your turn. Come up with a list of adjectives that credibly describes you. As you begin to develop your logline, make notes when someone offers feedback you didn’t ask for. They might come up with the one word that ties it all together perfectly in the end.