HERE'S WHAT HAPPENED
One of the first acting books I read was Audition by Michael Shurtleff. His most popular tip from the book is to always wear the same outfit to the audition and callback because that's how directors remember you.
The specific example he gave was a director asking about "the girl who wore the orange sweater," if I remember correctly. That got me to thinking about how important the color of what I'm wearing is in addition to what I'm actually wearing.
I started only wearing blue because I get a lot of compliments on my blue eyes, so why not make them pop on camera? Then one day, someone from class said they mentioned my name, and another actor friend of ours said, "She always wears blue."
Bada boom, bada bing, baby! That is the power of good personal branding! Personal branding can sound like an overwhelming term, but it's important to learn for the sake of building your career.
Actors must effectively market themselves, and building a brand can increase the success of those marketing efforts. Every successful business ever has strong branding, so why would that be any different for you as an actor? Unless you want your acting to stay a hobby, then you must start thinking of yourself as a business.
You might be thinking, "Wait, I don't have any customers as an actor, so why do I need a brand?" But remember, your fans and followers are your customers. At some point you'll want them to purchase or watch your work.
"Successful branding yields benefits such as increased customer loyalty, an improved image, and a relatable identity. (TSL Marketing)" - via Lucidpress
One of the easiest ways to kickstart your personal branding as an actor is by choosing your brand colors, which I'll teach you how to do in this post.
Here's what the experts say about brand colors:
When I say Facebook, you think of the color blue.
When I say Coca Cola, you think of the color red.
On the flip side, those colors may make you think of those businesses.
You can also use color psychology to your advantage as an actor by making casting directors think about you when they see a certain color. For me it's blue. I never wear red (more on that later).
I have an actor friend that looks great in citrus colors (yellow, red, orange), and I've highly encouraged her to always wear them. That means she could actually associate herself with a color family (citrus) as opposed to just one color. Jewel tones would also be considered a color family. For the sake of getting started, though, there's one color I want you to consider the most.
STEP #1: PICK YOUR POWER COLOR
The first color you need to pick is the most important because it will be your staple color. Like blue for me, this will be the color that you're known for and associated with the most.
Pick the color that makes you look your best, also known as your "power color." I suggest that you always wear your power color, especially to auditions or in your headshots. Why the heck not? It's literally the color that makes you look awesome!
This might to be your favorite color based on that fact. People tend to like colors that make them look good and dislike the colors that make them look bad. This isn't a hard and fast rule that you must use, but it's a good place to start.
What's your favorite color? Do you feel your best when you wear it? Do you feel like it lights up your face? Most importantly, does it make your eyes pop? Your eyes are really what casting directors like to look at anyway.
That's why I pick blues. I have blue eyes and red undertones to my skin, so blues make my eyes pop (especially on camera) and tones down the redness in my skin. Red, however, is my least favorite color. It really enhances splotchiness in my skin and accentuates acne.
Your power color will also be the color you primarily use for your text or graphics on your social media or website. I actually use a variation of blue that's a bit more aqua for all of my graphics. If you can't fit all three of your brand colors onto a graphic, then at least make sure to use your power color.
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STEP #2: PICK A NEUTRAL COLOR
Neutrals are colors that appear to be without color, creating an amazing backdrop for more pronounced colors. What's your favorite neutral color? Take a look at your clothes or the color of your walls for potential inspiration.
Neutrals include white, gray, black, beige, ivory, taupe. Now look at your favorite color against your favorite neutral. Do they look good together? If not, tweak your neutral color to complement your power color.
Which neutral do you use most in your everyday life? I actually use navy as my neutral since it's a darker version of my power color, blue. If it was green, I could use hunter green or dark olive.
Your neutral will be the color you typically use as the background of your graphics, logos, social banners, website, and staple pieces in your wardrobe if you're super coordinated.
For example, if your neutral is black, you could wear black pants, jeans, or jackets. That doesn't mean you must always wear your neutral color. Your power color is what's most important and should always be somewhere on your top half so that it shows against your face on camera.
Your neutral color is really there to complement your power color and make it easier to see and notice. Think of your power color as the picture and your neutral color as the frame.
STEP #3: PICK A POP COLOR
This last color is going to add a little pizzaz. It's optional but great when you need a third color for your graphics, website, or outfits. A pop color is also exactly what it sounds like.
You need to pick a color that "pops" against your neutral and power colors. These tend to be bright, bold colors. Its primary purpose, though, is to drastically contrast your other two colors. Even if you don't have a super bright pop color, think of this color as the one you just add "here and there."
This color should be used sparingly to highlight key text on your sites or to add visual interest to graphics. You could also use it in the accessories of your wardrobe, such as a necklace or a necktie.
Take color branding as far as you like, but adding this last color will make you look and feel consistent. That consistency is the key to making you more recognizable.
BRAND COLOR EXAMPLE
My current brand colors are aqua blue (power), navy (neutral), and mustard yellow (pop). I used coral instead of yellow initially, but it felt too feminine for me. I don't really like pink. Make sure that the colors you pick are colors you actually like.
If you update your brand colors, make sure you do it everywhere! You also need to buildup a new brand launch on your social media profiles with sneak peeks of what you're changing if you're making drastic changes.
You may also consider letting your audience vote on options. Make sure you only offer options that you actually like. This will make your audience feel like they're part of the process and brand aware before your launch even happens.
If you decide to change your color branding at some point, it's ok to leave old social media graphics with their original branding. It's not a great use of your time to update old posts that most people will never see. It will also allow your new followers to see your brand evolution.
Just make sure any new branding is cohesive across all of your platforms once you pull the trigger. Your website is where it will matter most concerning your online presence. Your wardrobe is where it will matter most concerning your photos and auditions.
Here's an example of my colors in action:
I want to point out that my power color is blue, but there's not a true blue in my color scheme. However, I consider navy and aqua to be in the blue color family, and I always wear blue shirts. In general, I'm associated with the color blue.
It's ok to bend these rules (i.e. only two colors, monochromatic scheme of one color), but this is a great foundation to get you started. Again, the one color I think you should highly consider incorporating into your branding is your power color.
So what are your colors? Comment and share. Start incorporating it into your wardrobe and online presence this week. It's ok if you have the same power color as another actor. It's probably going to happen, but how you use it will be unique to you.
Here are five free color palettes to help you brainstorm if you're feeling stuck. Feel free to use one of these palettes:
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HEY ACTOR BOSS,