But how can you market if you don't know your product? Duh, marketing for dummies right? Yet we're always surprised how overwhelmed actors are when it comes to knowing their strengths, or how casting sees them. Often actors want to put everything but the kitchen sink on their reels. We say, 'Not necessary.' One minute of high quality amazing work showing your strength as an actor supersedes that scene with the celebrity where you have one line.
Know your essence and be specific! If you were an ad executive you wouldn't sell a bottle of Veuve Clicquot the same way you would a bottle of Bud! Learn to observe how others perceive you. Yes, your personality is part of that too. Know how that translates to casting. Are you the professional, or the blue collar all American dad? "But I'm the all American dad who becomes a psycho-serial killer!" Great, you've got a niche, even better! Your specificity just narrowed your competition. You never limit yourself when you truly know who you are. Because knowing who you are exudes confidence. And confidence inspires trust. And casting directors want to trust the actor they are sending into a producer's session. The more you accentuate your strengths the more unique, complex, and interesting you become.
We all fall into "types". I prefer to go with archetypes, a la Joseph Campbell. It's the starting off point for all actors. And all characters fall under an archetype no matter the story. Then of course, we factor in age, genre, and current trends in TV and Film. The fun part comes when you walk into the audition for your "type" and you take all your complexity, uniqueness, life experience, and personality into the room with you and put your stamp on the character. No one else will read the all American psycho serial-killer dad quite like you.
"I did that and gave a damn good audition. So why didn't I get the role?" Never ask why, because it is out of your control. The only thing you can control is giving your best, your all, letting yourself shine, that's it. They could have wanted a taller all American psycho serial-killer dad, or an older one, or one from a particular agency. It's an imponderable question that will drive you nuts, and make you question the "Know Thyself" principle.
What's the bigger picture? Knowing yourself gives you a profound sense of understanding about all humanity; a great asset for an actor. It also brings contentment, happiness, and self-love. So embrace who you are and bring it to your work. Cast aside doubt and get yourself out there!