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Brand Research In Hollywood – Part 2 of 4

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I have to admit that digging around Hollywood and attending the AFM (American Film Market) sometimes required a lot of hopping around. There were things to learn about how the networking and relationship building process works and believe it or not there was nobody down there announcing, “We want to make Sebastian MacLean one of the popular actors of 2012“. Hey, I’d even just take the film producer kudos. That would be nice, but the real world isn’t so easy.

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The Chinese Theater In Hollywood

Since experience tells me that we usually have to work for progress,  the best idea seemed to be getting thrown into the mix to learn. I was there to see what kind of entertainment brand elements the industry gets excited about and how they are packaged.

The idea from here is to take the knowledge gained about the film industry and apply it to a project that works to move you forward. Along the way you just may make some friends that will help you get there a little faster.

Although my third and fourth clip will deal more with the details, this short piece gives you a sense of the environment I was dealing with. Below is a short clip. Remember to throw some feedback or questions at me, so I can help you out more:


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    Let’s Talk About Film Industry Branding

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     Lets Talk About Film Industry Branding

    Actor, producer, writer, Sebastian MacLean

    Let’s talk about film industry branding and why it is of value to anyone who aspires to be part of the business. In fact, this could apply to anyone who is looking to craft an image for themselves in the public eye.

    What makes this important is that it has to do with getting people to believe in what you want to represent to them. If you’re an actor maybe you want people to believe you will make an ideal comedian in comedy movies or maybe an action actor worthy of leading a summer blockbuster. If you’re a producer, you want people to look at your film pitch and scramble to cut you a distribution deal, because they believe your project has them seeing big ticket sales potential. As a writers you may want big name producers asking to turn your stories into films.

    In all of the above cases, what you need is to know how to wrap anything you are pitching (including yourself) in the right brand package. That entertainment brand is the image that people will buy or reject.

    An actor can’t expect to fulfill his dream of playing Hercules if he’s a hundred pounds over weight, and has arms that look like spaghetti. He has to craft his image to match the character brand he wants to represent.

    A producer can’t expect their project pitch is going to sell, if the pitch material has no polish. The person pitching can’t look like someone who needs help. The project needs an image that invites partners into something that is already looking solid.

    This entertainment branding process is part of what I want to share with you. That said, you will rightly want to know why you should even listen to me and that is a fair question. Many of you won’t have even heard of me at this point.

    I am speaking to this issue from a few fronts:

    1. As just a guy – Believe me, when you decide to work in the film business and live in an area where film production is limited, you have to learn every marketing trick in the book to envision a way you can build a film career.  As a young dad and husband, I didn’t have the luxury of making a quick move to a larger film center. Instead I worked with some very talented people on the east coast and got involved in learning how to make modest film budgets go a long way. I also knew that when the time was right for our family to move, I would need a solid brand strategy to sell myself as an actor and as a producer in a pool of talent that already had a head start on me in a major film center. I had a few friends in the business, but my contact list was small. I am really just another guy, unless I can paint a brand image that speeds up the process. The truth is things are moving quickly already and much of this has to do with brand strategy. If I can do it, so can you.

    2. As an actor – I understand that to be a good actor you need good instincts and solid training. That said, if you have those areas covered, it is vital to know how to stand out from other actors out there. My vision was to brand myself for physical and action oriented roles. That required a brand development strategy that would enable casting agents to believe I could fit the roles I was aiming for. There is more to this than just physical conditioning, as I recognized a need to leverage certain roles landed increase the chances I might be picked for projects in line with what I was after.

    3. As a business man – At one point I was both producing a TV series and running a weight loss company. It was during this experience that branding took on an entirely new value. This wasn’t knowledge that actors or producer automatically acquire. However, since my franchise needed a solid brand, I began seeing incredible cross over value in terms of how branding strategy could be used to increase interest in a persons talent, product or service.

    4. As a film producer – When making films in a tough part of the world to make films, branding is essential to selling your idea and raising money. It has been through producing in these earlier environments that I learned some valuable ways to get people to believe in my projects enough to invest in them and take risks on behalf of my ideas.

    Lastly, I will add that I am still learning and there are many smart people out there that i want to learn from. That said, I want to bring them here so we can all benefit from their wisdom on this blog. I have always believed that we never have all the answers and we are wise to keep learning from those wiser than us. because of all of the above, I believe this blog is of value to you if you are in film or want to know more about film industry branding.

    I look forward to sharing with you.


    Sebastian MacLean

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      Get in touch

      • Sebastian's Talent Agent Contact:
      • KG Talent
      • Kathy Gait
      • T-416-368-4866
      • Producer Inquiries:

      Sebastian MacLean is a Canadian based actor/producer. In addition to acting in a variety of diverse film roles, he has produced an internationally televised documentary film Facing Goliath and a health related TV series Body Quest. He is currently working on developing action drama projects for both TV and film.

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