How many times have you heard that phrase, from a casting director?
Or an agent?
Or a manager?
Or a producer?
Or a session runner?
Or a director?
And have you been lost for words, or blurted out something trite, or mumbled something incomprehensible?
Fear not. I’ve got exactly what to say for you right here.
I get this a lot. I meet a lot of people, network like a pro, am at ease with general meetings, auditions, call backs and chemistry reads.
But, I’ll admit, that “so…tell me about yourself” thing was often a show stopper.
I’ve learned some tried and true lessons about what to say there.
(There’s a great article that is a more generalized version of what I’m about to tell you, with a couple of other options and tips, by Ashley Stahl, writing for The Muse, here.)
It actually couldn’t be more simple: start with an elevator pitch, and ice the cake with a very short story.
The elevator pitch is a short sentence that sums up the core of your brand. (It’s called an elevator pitch because you’re supposed to be able to say it easily in the time it takes to go up one floor on an elevator.)
And I know that your first inclination as a voice talent/actor is to say “Not possible. My brand is so complex, it would take 5 or 10 sentences to get across!” Get over yourself, and create a sentence that gets to the core. Show them other shades after you get the gig.
If you need help coming up with the right words to say for your elevator pitch, take the time, and set aside the money, to take Sam Christensen’s Personal Brand Workshop. It’s AWESOME.)
The very short story illustrates your approach, your acting, your voice, your on-set demeanor, your accomplishments, and/or why they’d want to hire you, represent you, manage you, or cast you. Come up with no more than three sentences that
Don’t talk about your MFA, or your childhood home, or your religious/political/sexuality views. You want to spend these very precious moments connecting with your partner in a way that helps them see you as an asset, someone who can help them solve a problem, and that you’re not a problem yourself.
Here’s how I answer that:
“Well, I’m kind of like Paul Giamatti meets Uncle Fester – you know, creepy, evil villain with a huggable side. I was sort of handed that brand on my very first paid acting gig, on Heroes. That job was only supposed to last one episode. We had such a great time that first day on set, that they re-wrote my ending and kept me alive for the rest of the next three seasons. It was great!”
See if you can identify the elevator pitch and the very short story. And in the comments below, give me what you might say that follows this pattern.
Once you get good at this, resist the temptation to do it differently every time. These are lines to rehearse, and get to know well.
So you can deliver them with ease, grace and confidence, and book the room/gig/representation more often.
Hope this helps.