From Unknown to Unforgettable: Building Your Personal Brand (video 2 of 3)
From Unknown to Unforgettable: Building Your Personal Brand
Video 2 of 3
with Kaia Alexander
Hey you made it! To video 2 in this series, and I’m really glad you’re here. I’m Kaia Alexander, founder of the Entertainment Business School. In case you missed video 1, I spoke about Unlocking Hidden Opportunities: Navigating the Industry During Difficult Times. I shared 5 things you should be doing right now to position yourself for after the strike. These are things that if you do them, you significantly increase your odds of lasting employment and of penetrating elite levels of the business. In case you missed it, there’s a link for you here.
In case you don’t know my background, I was a development exec with a company called Inferno, and we made films like JUST FRIENDS with Ryan Reynolds, PEACEFUL WARRIOR with Nick Nolte, and THE GOOD NIGHT with Gwyneth Paltrow and Penelope Cruz, HACHI a DOG’S TALE with Richard Gere. I then went to work for comedian Garry Shandling, who taught me so much, and I love to share his insights with my students.
Today’s video is what I call a “fulcrum point” in the business. Fulcrum points are little hinges that swing big doors. You want to become a connessieur of fulcrum points, because that’s how to leverage yourself and your career in this competitive industry.
So let’s talk about how to move from unknown to unforgettable, which is through building your personal brand.
Branding is not an accident! Whether you’re Taika Waititi, Tom Cruise, or Shonda Rhimes, crafting your message, your focus, passion and niche is how to command more attention, eyeballs, more money and more power in the industry.
First a let’s clarify a place a lot of creatives get confused: brand is not the same thing as genre. There’s some overlap, but the difference is that brand is your marrow, and genre might be an element of your brand. Brand is your creative DNA.
One of my favorite examples is Judd Apatow. I describe Judd’s brand as ‘geeks get the girl’. Pretty much every film he’s known for fits that brand. The studios knew exactly what they were getting when they bought a Judd Apatow movie. Very clear brand. And yes, also comedy.
Taika Waititi is also comedy, and satire, and his focus is on indigenous and POC stories we haven’t seen on screen. He’s elevating POC worldwide with his storytelling, whether it’s RESERVATION DOGS or the upcoming RED, WHITE, AND BRASS. We know his marrow – he’s unapologetic in his approach and the industry always responds well to talented people who don’t pull their punches. His POV has gathered a worldwide audience, which is what you want to do.
But you have to focus on your message, and on what matters most to you. You can’t do everything. That leads to brand confusion.
My brand as a writer is badass, adventurous women. I was an adventurous kid who couldn’t find anything to watch with girls who inspired me, I just connected to movies with male protags. Where were the adventurous women and girls? Wonder Woman and Pippi Longstocking were about all we got back then. Even today, there’s so few adventurous women on screen, and even fewer if you want a BIPOC or LGBTQ lead, so that’s my jam.
What’s yours? What’s your message? Who is your audience? What do you love to tell stories about? What’s your POV?
As you craft your own brand message, you want to be able to share it in a quick tidbit with anyone you meet. Eventually everyone in the industry will be able to watch you, and see who you are in the marrow of your creativity on screen. Phoebe Waller Bridge wowed us all with FLEABAG, and now she’s regularly tapped for that modern woman POV. It will be exciting to see what she does with TOMB RAIDER. She loves these rascals and writes them really well.
So as you look at your own work, I want you to look for themes that continue to draw you back again and again, look for elements that repeat – kind of like the chorus of a catchy song. Look for the big passion pieces that you could see yourself writing and directing or producing for the next 10-20 years, because that’s how long you want to commit to your brand.
If you want to go from unknown to unforgettable, you’ve got to FOCUS.
Your brand is
All mixed in together. It’s so imperative to nail your brand, that in the Entertainment Business School I spend a whole week teaching my students how to craft their unforgettable brand statements.
If you don’t take some time to craft your brand, the industry will craft one for you, and plug you in somewhere that you may not be happy to be in five years.
Now is the perfect time for you to focus on expanding your own knowledge of the entertainment business. This industry requires continuous learning and upleveling your skills. It’s dynamic and competitive, and there’s always more to integrate in your skillset that will take you from unknown to unforgettable. So if you don’t have reps yet, if you don’t have deal flow yet, keep learning.
I hope this was helpful, got your wheels turning. Please leave a comment or question below and let me know where you feel stuck or what you need help with.
In my next video which is video 3, the final one in this series, I’m going to teach you the art of persuasion.
In this industry, you need to learn how to be persuasive, without anybody ever feeling sold to. When you’re truly persuasive you can captivate the buyers and build a very solid team for yourself. And the great news is persuasion is a skill you can learn. It ties in to pitching and general meetings and even chatting with people at the film markets and festivals. It’s not loud. It’s just a quiet confidence that enrolls your listener into wanting to be part of everything you’re doing. And get them to step up, support you, get your work seen, get you career opportunities through their network.
So to recap:
This is crucial stuff they don’t teach you in film school. Knowledge is power! Get the knowledge. I want this for you. Consider me your trusted source for your entertainment business career breakthroughs.
I’m giving you all this free content during the open enrollment of the Entertainment Business School. Our next classes start August 7st. If you’d like to look at the syllabus and get a sense of what you’d learn from me there, head over to Entertainment Business School
Stay tuned for your next video in this series, where I continue to open the kimono on the entertainment business for you. Take advantage of this opportunity to learn all you can, and arm yourself with the tools and the knowledge to put rocket boosters under your career. And I hope you’ll apply for the Entertainment Business School.