Monday, July 27, 2009

question 147: Should I change my name to sound like someone famous to get in the door?

You mean like change your name from Alexis Whisenstoneawitz to Alexia Jolie, so people may think you're related to Angelina and bring you in? I can't say it will get you in the door, but I can say, it could be to your advantage to change that last name, simply to make it easier for people to find you.

I've had clients with common names like "Smith" or "Jones" joke about changing their name to something foreign to give them an edge. Then I've had foreign clients seriously want to change their foreign last name so they'd fit in locally.

A name is not going to get you hired, unless you are actually related to a celebrity (and that's still no guarantee). Like the first example, if your name is too complicated it could hurt you. For example, as an actress, I've had to slate my name (when you say your name for camera at an audition). Because my name is a bit unusual, I've changed the way I pronounce it, specifically for slating, when I found people got more caught up in "what my name was" than my audition.

Be sure to check with the union you are in or may potentially join, to make sure there is no one else with the name you are choosing. While it may be tempting to get confused with an established celebrity, the pain in the butt to change your credits on IMDB, is NOT worth it. And people DO NOT take it lightly when people try to ride their coat tails, nor do the people hiring appreciate finding incorrect credits for you when they research you.

Changing your name is like creating a new brand--- CHOOSE WISELY.

For more tips and articles by top entertainment industry coach, The Greenlight Coach, visit

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