by Bri Castellini
Been thinking a lot about branding recently. It’s a topic that comes up a lot in indie filmmaking, because it’s important that all of your projects’ assets follow similar themes, colors, etc so that people can easily tell what accounts and posts are yours. It’s also something pretty integral to my ambitions in the media and entertainment world, because online, personal brand is everything.
I know how much me and my personal identity entangles with my work and the promotion of it. I know I’m one of the most Google-able (if not THE most Google-able) person in my casts and crews. I’m the only Bri Castellini on the internet, baby, and you can basically find my entire life story in the first few pages of search results. Plus I literally run all the social media and email accounts associated with my projects (as well as the social media for one of my friends) and at this point people are wise to that.
I’m also not ashamed to type here in my decade-old personal blog that I want to be famous. Whenever anyone asks what my plans for the future are, I say “get very famous,” and I’m only a little bit kidding (because my actual plans are to get MASSIVELY famous). With fame comes power, and with power comes the ability to be creative full time and pay my collaborators the crazy amount of money they’re absolutely worth.
I want to be famous, and therefore I spend a lot of time thinking about my brand. I can’t just be “Bri Castellini, person.” I have to be “Bri Castellini, pre-famous filmmaker and writer,” and that’s distinct, even if only subtly. This means I also have to be conscious of the kinds of projects I’m developing, because if I make things that are too dissimilar from each other, it’ll be hard to leverage my existing audience that I fought so hard to attract. Granted, that audience is pretty tiny right now, but it’s not nothing.
I’m very curious to hear what y’all think my “brand” is, so leave thoughts in the comments if you have them. In my mind, based on the projects that have been successful/gotten me my teensy audience, these are the Bri Castellini keywords I’ve come up with:
- Millennial woman
- Mental illness/anxiety/depression
Looking at this list, struck me today that despite it being a pretty obvious option, I haven’t really leaned into the chubby facet of my identity. While I use my struggles with mental illness and my asexuality a lot in my work, further strengthening the “authenticity” of my brand as it relates to my creative endeavors, I haven’t really explored weight. Both Alison Sumner and Sam from ‘Sam and Pat’ are chubby because they’re me, but their weight literally never comes up in their stories. I have often wondered if this is a mistake.
You don’t see chubby women on screen very often, especially not as “women.” Chubby women are reduced (hah) to their weight, or to the undesirable comic relief character, and rarely find opportunities for lead roles or roles more complex than “fat lady trying to lose weight.” So even though it wasn’t really my intention or a part of my development process, the fact that Alison Sumner is a chubby girl with a voracious sexual appetite and a romantic arc never once mentioning her weight is kind of amazing. The only example coming immediately to mind of a chubby women on film getting a romantic arc without her weight being mentioned is Sookie from Gilmore Girls, although that show (and it’s creator Amy Sherman-Palladino’s writing in general) has its own weird issues with weight and fat people.
It’s weird that such a massive (hah) part of my own identity literally never occurs to me when writing. Maybe it’s internalized fat-phobia from having never seen fat female protagonists on screen. Who can say?
I guess the question is… is that bad? Am I doing my chubby sisters a disservice by not mentioning the weight of characters I play? Or by explicitly writing characters with a little more junk in the trunk? Or is not mentioning the weight of chubbier characters the more nuanced way to approach this and promote further positive representation? Is this a part of my brand I should be leaning into to reach my full (HAH) potential as an independent artist, or is “loud depressed asexual feminist” enough? Am I missing out on a significant potential audience? DOES ANY OF THIS REALLY MATTER? (probably not)
I don’t know the right answer here. Boiling myself down to my base keywords is a weird way to spend an afternoon, and a weird way to think about my online activities as they service my overall ambition of incredible fame and fortune. For the record, this isn’t an invitation to weigh in (HAAAAAH ok I’m done), especially if you’re of the male persuasion, but if other similarly sized ladies have thoughts, I’d love to hear them.
Bri Castellini is an indie filmmaker and Community Liaison at Stareable, our favorite web series hub. Watch Bri’s award-winning web series, Brains, HERE This post first appeared on her seriously cool blog.