PERFECT PORTRAIT: Discovering My (Online) Self
For about a year, I've been going back and forth with myself about the idea of being an actor and having a website. This idea that we have to brand ourselves and make ourselves look appealing through an online platform. It's weird because, every time I think about it, I get an image of a casting director walking into a Best Buy and asking:
Casting Director: "Excuse me, where do I go to find the actors?"
Store Associate: "Oh, that would be on aisle six."
Then, the casting director would walk down the aisle and just peruse each and every person. The actors would stand there, holding an 8in. x 10in. frame around their faces, and give the casting director a carefully planned out picture of who they are. This is a picture that each actor has carefully thought about and tested; an image that gives the casting director an idea of the perfect role for them. But alas, only a few of them would actually sell it. The casting director would make a choice on only a handful of actors and decide that they are exactly the "product" they are looking for. Only to leave the rest of the actors to reevaluate their decisions and possibly re-brand themselves.
Now, I know this sounds cynical, but stay with me.
It doesn't bother me that a casting director would only pick a few actors out of an ocean of talent. That's their job. What really makes me sad, every single time, is the amount of actors that take don't get picked and then take the time to revamp everything. The problem is they usually end up forming an image that will please a casting director or make them seem appealing. This usually isn't a bad thing. However, most actors will forget about one single fact. A fact that makes casting directors and other "higher-ups" in our industry perk their ears:
THEY WANT TO KNOW THE REAL YOU.
This idea that there's a "perfect portrait" you have to match in order to get a role in this industry is ridiculous. You don't need to put something on or fake who you really are to achieve success. I know it can feel that way sometimes, but trust me. You are enough. You are more than enough. Every role I've gotten and every door I've walked through was a result of me being myself. The amount of times I've showed up to an audition in sweatpants is too many to count. But, I've always been myself and I've achieved every goal I've set my mind to.
The point is don't compromise yourself to achieve an "online" self. Your website should reflect exactly who you are. That means every picture, every tab, every link, and every button should pulse with your unique energy. That energy is what attracts people in our industry. That energy is the key to success. Be yourself. Be successful. Be happy.
“It was when I realized I needed to stop trying to be somebody else and be myself, I actually started to own, accept and love what I had.”
- Tracee Ellis Ross