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By Hammad Zaidi | October 23, 2012

Hi everyone! Welcome back to Going Bionic. I hope you had a great weekend. My weekend consisted of taking my twin, 15-month old daughters Zoe and Lena to swimming class on Saturday, and then witnessing Dwight Howard dawn a Lakers jersey for the first time during a pre-season game on Sunday. Both events were ridiculously fun and were tattooed in my memory, until the day I don’t know my own name.

Today’s article is the first of two columns focused on one of the most powerful weapons you can equip yourself with when going into battle for your film projects: Branding. Today we’ll focus on branding yourself as a filmmaker, and next week we’ll discuss ways in which to brand your film. As we dive in, just keep in mind, the opportunities you receive professionally are directly influenced by the actions you take publicly. What you say, what you do, and the filmed and written content that you have created, are creating or are about to create, all factor into your branding (or lack thereof). Since your “brand” dictates your financial and social value, keeping it worthy and socially clean can create limitless opportunities for you. So remember, it’s not just “big brother” who is watching you. The entire free world is one tweet away.

So, without further ado, here are a few things to help you build and maintain your branding as a filmmaker at a very high level.

Be Smart About Your Facebook And Twitter Posts
If you don’t think everyone who is considering working with you or investing in you isn’t reading your social media posts, then you’re being as naive as my toddler daughters, who think they turn invisible every time we play peek-a-boo. Maybe sharing that you drank 19 beers in 5 hours, and then slept for 26 hours after passing out, (an actual Facebook post from a friend of mine) isn’t such a good idea when it comes to sharing updates, photos or videos on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media site. Investors and film professionals won’t trust someone who seems unprofessional or unstable, so stay away from making public any information that would allow your image to be compromised. Remember, it doesn’t benefit you to share your missteps publicly, so don’t do it!

Make Sure Your Partners Project Your Desired Branding
When I mean “partners,” I mean business partners, but I guess your significant other also affects your branding! Anyway, if I had $1 for every time I heard a filmmaker say, “I know people think my producing partner (or writing partner) is shady, but I’m not shady, so I’m not worried about it,” then I’d have enough to by myself a brand new Apple computer to write these articles on. Guess what, filmmakers? Your partner’s image is your image, and vice versa. There is no separation between the two. Consider you and your partner to be cinematic Siamese twins. Of course, this can work in your favor too. If your or your partner’s credits are huge and socially verified (meaning they’re so successful, that your Aunt Becky in rural Pennsylvania knows how successful they were), then your brand gets a big boost.

Your Worst Title Could Hinder Your Opportunities
Your worst collective credit could hinder opportunities. For example, let’s say you worked on a G-rated children’s TV series, but your partner has a history of doing horror/slasher flicks with overt sex and hard violence. The horror/slasher flicks will raise red flags from most every mainstream entity that you’re trying to work with, because those films are not invited into play in the mainstream sandbox, unless they are branded by a studio (like the Paranormal Activity and Saw series of films).

It’s Not Who You Know. It’s Who Knows You
Everyone talks about whom they know, what really matters are how many of the powers-that-be is going to endorse for your character and abilities. This is the most valuable aspect to your branding, because you can be shot to the A-list in Hollywood if someone powerful brands you as someone they want to work with. Who wouldn’t want to work with you if you had the head of a studio, talent agency, or a super-profitable, A-list actor who wanted to be directed by you? The key is finding a way to get that powerful A-lister to back you, and that’s never easy. Of course, if getting a film made were easy, my 12-year old blind dog Pepper would have a six-picture deal by now.

On that note, I have to walk Pepper, so I’ll say I thank you for lending me your eyes, and I’d be honored to borrow them again next Tuesday! I can be followed on Twitter @Lonelyseal.

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