Facebook: To the ordinary person, a social website that unites the world. The place to come vent, share your personal life’s experiences while you get the likes and comments that make you heal and uplift your spirits which seem to be down almost every time. And when you are in a good mood and say something funny, there is always that one friend who always has to come and comment being all serious and ruins the moment. To most professionals, it is the place to network; get to interact with other like minded individuals while discussing on the latest trends and updating each other on current events and happening around in their respective fields. Most importantly, it is the number one place to MARKET ones product. Facebook provides a large pool of people globally to sell and market your product right in front of your computer. I cannot think of any business or person in this day and age who does not have a Facebook profile, page or group.
The number one rule of acting we are always reminded of is to think of it as a business and carry you as one. In the business world, actors probably fall in the category of self-employment. Ask any business that has ever been successful and they will tell you that a business cannot survive or thrive without marketing and advertisement as it is from that where sales come from. In the process of marketing yourself, you are creating a brand that should forever remain engraved in peoples mind so that when I go to the shopping mall to buy soda, I will opt for Coca-cola and not 7-Up as I would like to get Brrrrrrrd.
The secret is in the name, a catchy simple name that can easily be remembered.
In the music world, think of Nonini, Nameless, Jua Kali, Amani, Size-8 etc names that these musicians have adopted and have stuck to as their stage and performance names. Their characters, so to speak, will never change this year next year or the year after that.
It is therefore absurd and unprofessional to see a budding actor with a name that makes one wonder does it really make you swaggerific or msupuu to include that in your Facebook name. Actors, unlike musicians will play different characters through out their careers and cannot afford to brand themselves as their character names in the public world like their counterparts. Actors should choose a brand name that they will forever be known for and I am here to say, that name should be your real name for one obvious reason, which is also why I have specifically selected to talk about facebook: Producers, directors, other actors, casting agents and your fans are all on Facebook and they need to identify you for who you really are and not a fake name that you use on Facebook.
Here is a scenario, if you have read this article, “how Facebook and twitter can help your acting career” followed its advice and are now friends with a couple producers, directors and other actors , you will at some point attend auditions or be in a meeting where these people are gathered. Let us talk about auditions to drive the point home well as this is what most actors really want to hear about. You have been calling yourself “Gera swageriffic don” on Facebook. At an audition, I surely cannot introduce myself with that name and will use my real name, Gerald Langiri. On the panel, is a director that I chatted up online sometime back and that producer that we have been having an educative talk in our inboxes. Chances are they never looked at my profile pictures to instantly remember who I am because I am those lazy actors who do not want to invest in my career and therefore, I also do not have a headshot that clearly identifies my unique features. In other words, on Facebook, no one actually takes me serious because I have a funny name that I cannot be identified with and makes me come across as a retard. Here I am in front of these people who ideally should remember me but they do not because they do not know a Gerald Langiri and it will actually sound “retardish” if I introduce myself like “By da way, I go by da name Gera swageriffic don on Facebook. We are friends”
Fine I get it, other people in other white collar jobs would not want to get found by their bosses on Facebook who in this day and age actually use the tool to find out what their employees are doing and what better way to do that than on Facebook where people are generally exposing their dirty linen. However, actors remember this, your bosses are online and like other professions,you should not fear and avoid them but be friends with them. Your bosses being directors, producers, casting agents are all online and they should therefore know you by your real names and not the fake names you give yourselves. Furthermore, make it easier for them to find you by removing all those privacy polices you have. Take an example where I, as a tech savvy casting director would like to find you actor X and I cannot find you online on Facebook because you have the restriction to not be found by search using name or email. Or perhaps you do not have those restrictions but I still cannot find you because whilst I know I should search for Gerald Langiri, I cannot find him because he calls himself “Gera Swaggerific don”.
Think of the Kenneth Ambanis, Lizz Njagahs, Pierra Mackenas and Oliver litondos of the acting industry. Why do you think they use their real names online? Think about it. Actually do not as I will tell you. It is a brand. It is a small marketing gimmick for them to be identified for their real names. They could easily be Ken Ambz, Lizzy Jagz, P Mack and O.Litondz.
I watched the movie rugged priest and loved the work of Serah Ndanu. I went on facebook to find her and a profile for a Serah Ndanu showed up. Looking at the information tab, I knew it was not her as this one stated she is interested in women, is married, schooled in Spain and nothing read anything to do with acting whatsoever. I did a google search and her actors.co.ke profile showed up and there she was, the real Serah Ndanu but her facebook profile name read “HeRoyal Serah Teshna (Thel Serah Teshna)” LOL and SMH.
Yes, I challenge you to brand yourself. Whilst those calling themselves descriptive names like Nancy Bootylicious or Nikki Minaj Wairimu actually do have the booty that goes with it unlike the ones I see calling themselves Anne yule msupuu usually aren’t really that hot, leave the kinky names to the bedroom. As an actor you are constantly working even while online. You are identifying yourself with the people, the same people who you will one day ask to watch your shows and what message are you passing across if you do not have a constant name to use and please do not get me started on how we nowadays write with the xaxa, xkul, xkia. Call me old school but replacing S with X does not make you cool, it only makes you sound like a retard.
Written By Gerald Langiri