Tell Me About Yourself…Wait, What??
Written By Jodie Bentley—
Ever got to a networking event at a film festival or an industry mixer? You scope out the room, grab a drink at the bar, then walk over to someone who happens to be standing by themselves also surveying the room. You introduce yourself, say hello and then they say, “Nice to meet you, tell me about yourself?”
Or have you ever had a Zoom meeting with an agent? You say hello and exchange pleasantries. Then the agent says, “Thanks for meeting with me, tell me about yourself.”
Let’s be real, responding with, “Well, what do you want to know?” is NOT a good answer to the question. Freezing with a deer- in- headlights stare isn’t recommended either. 🙂
Look, you know this is coming! It happens in multiple circumstances. All. The. Freakin’. Time. If you know it’s coming, why would you not have a well- thought out response to answer the question?
You can articulate who you are, what you want, and where you’re going in an easily digestible way, so people get you —and get you quickly! By doing this, you’ll separate yourself from a sea of struggling actors and artists who keep thinking “I’ll just be myself and wing it.” That philosophy usually doesn’t work, because you’re discounting what happens to you in (perceived) ‘high- stakes’ situations when your nerves kick in.
My answer – let’s build your 30- Second Pitch, shall we?
When it’s used effectively, this pitch showcases both your personality and your business savvy. It’s a living, breathing reflection of you.
Most people start with where they’re from, how they fell in love with acting at an early age. Then insert some story about their first lead in a school play. They then rattle off their credits. #yawn
Let me say this:
You don’t have to start with where you’re from. It doesn’t need to be linear.
Oddly enough, everyone’s story about falling in love with acting or directing or writing sounds remarkably similar. The cast of characters and the setting may be different, but the plot’s the same. Every. Single. Time.
Rattling off a laundry list of projects or relationships is, well, boring. Plus, it’s redundant. You have that sales tool elsewhere. It’s called your résumé.
I invite you to put pen to paper and brainstorm out some sound bites, which you’ll stitch together into a pitch. Write as much as you will, without judgment, about all or some of the following:
Your Personal Life:
A bit about your past and personal life
What are your values and what do you believe
What are you passionate about other than acting
What do you want from your life and future
Your Business Life:
Your ‘why’ as an artist – no one cares what you do but rather why you do it
Your strengths as an artist
What do you do best
What makes you different/stand out/unique
Where are you most marketable and where you fit in the industry
When you’re done, read what you wrote. Have a friend or mentor read what you wrote. What is most compelling? What feels most authentic? What are you excited to share? Then start to make some choices about the info you’d like to use and that represents you best.
You’re not bragging, you’re relating.
You’re not selling, you’re sharing.
You’re not name dropping, you’re finding a merge.
Put in a little work before you head to your next networking event and notice how much more freedom you feel when you’re prepared! When you’ve actually stacked the cards in your favor.
The more you practice, the easier it becomes. You just get to focus on being authentically you. That’s true in your life, and in your business.
If you don’t give yourself permission to express your truth, your nature, and your point of view, you’re not giving anyone access to truly see you. You’re limiting the opportunity to connect to others in a meaningful way and find an authentic connection. Share what’s in your heart. Trust it and trust yourself. Get over the need to please everyone and play it safe. Rarely does success live in your comfort zone. PRO TIP: When you know who you are and your Brand, creating your 30-second pitch is easy.