real name or stage name?

  • User Deleted

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    I've been wondering if I should change my name...

    Does my real name suit me? Will I get more work if I change it? Should I change it to one that suits the characters I play? Will it help with how people perceive me? Is it too late? Should I still do it? Is there a certain beat to names that work best?

    (Having a fairly unusual name, people always forget it and call me Lindsey, I think this continuing trauma is what has brought this on, that I am/my name is forgettable!)

    For personal reasons I've been thinking about first name Isobel and possibly Hunter Grey or Gilroy Grey or Hunter Gilroy...

    What/who do I look like?!

    What does everyone think?!

    Has anyone else done it?!

    • 26th Jun 2008
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    in my opinion, you only need to change your name if someone in equity/spotlight has the same name.

    yours is not a difficult name to read or remember, i'm baffled that people are getting it wrong. seems quite rude/ignorant that someone can't take the time to learn what your name is!

    i went through the same dilemma with mine - i always get called sarah or zara instead or sara (how difficult can it be???) and no one can ever pronounce my surname (fair enough, it's not all that common) but then i thought screw it. it's my name, it's the name i've happily had for 24 years and i'll be damned if i'll change it just because other people might have a problem with it! :)

    • 25th Jun 2008
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    Lesley is not an unusual name! The people who can't get that right are surely idiots and should be ignored! I actually think your name has a nice beat to it and suits you well. Double barreling for the sake of it can easily backfire as people will drop one of the names just as they shorten your first name as they get to know you (Cath, Les, Sar etc)and therefore rendering your posh new name a bit pointless!

    I changed mine partly because there was someone in Equity/Spotlight with a very similar name to my legal one and partly because I've never liked the way my legal surname sounds in my accent. But I changed it to another family name in order to keep some continuity. I also did this as I started out professionally to avoid confusion for casting directors etc. Hope that helps, just my opinion!

    • 25th Jun 2008
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  • Emily Clare

    Actor

    I changed my name because my legal name was already registered, I use my middle name as my surname. The problem is it can get a bit confusing and if you can keep your real name I think it makes it all a bit less complicated, especially if you have already been working under your legal name. Plus, you have a good name, but it's up to you and whether or not you are happy with it xx

    • 25th Jun 2008
    • 3
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    wow I feel really reassured and blessed to be part of this community. Thank you everyone for your messages.

    I guess because things are hard I'm trying to find out what it is that is preventing me from moving forward and what I can do about it.

    • 25th Jun 2008
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  • Forbes KB

    Actor

    Hey Lesley,

    Having had a glance at your headshots you look more like a 'Lucy' than a 'Hunter' more feminine and delicate than maybe the image you were aiming for! I may have you all wrong...you may even be able to kick my ass...but my point is you don't "need" to change your acting name unless it isn't unique in the Equity register! To Casting Directors your name doesn't matter...all that matters to them is a) do you look the part & b) can you act the part! End of!

    I changed my surname 'cos I was sick fed up of Casting Assistants spelling my name wrong and wasting my valuable audition time with spelling debates so I simply abbreviated it...even now I get asked "KB? How do you spell that?" Aarghh!!

    A friend of mine was told by a spiritualist in LA to change his acting name. That was only a month ago and he's now done it...Personally I think its bunkum but I'll keep you posted on any miracles!

    If it ain't broke don't fix it...nowt wrong with the name you got Lesley! Cunningham on the other hand...

    • 25th Jun 2008
    • 5
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    I was thinking of using Isobel as a first name and Hunter as part of a surname , unless i'm going for a part as an amazonian warrior in which case Hunter would really set me apart:)

    But I am lesley Cunningham. And I am all these things and more. I am a strong, independent, passionate, quirky, funny, intense, sparkling, political woman. I study existential philosophy and classical mythologies. I read about Buddhism and Gnosticism and everything esoteric. I love baking and gardening. I hate chick flicks and love reading film magazines. I am shy and arrogant in the same breath. My biggest asset are my striking eyes which will bare my soul and bore into yours. I covet my vainglorious mane. I am the writer of a decadent, tragic, inspiring period screenplay based on a true story. I will never give up!

    hang on... maybe I should be Hunter..!

    • 25th Jun 2008
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  • Toni Brooks

    Actor

    I changed my name earlier this year - based solely on what a psychic told me - it sounds daft I know but I haven't done too bad this year and people say that it's much easier to remember than my old name which was my real name.

    • 25th Jun 2008
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  • User Deleted

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    To be NUMBER ONE in the pecking order, I once thought of changing mine to AARON AARONS!

    • 25th Jun 2008
    • 8
  • Forbes KB

    Actor

    We all go through peaks and troughs in this game! Being actors we, by our very nature, overanalyse every facet of our careers on a daily basis!

    Your name is your brand! Your brand is solid! Don't change it!

    • 25th Jun 2008
    • 9
  • User Deleted

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    lol! what about aaron aardvark? got a nice ring to it!

    • 25th Jun 2008
    • 10
  • Forbes KB

    Actor

    Don't laugh! Another acting mate of mine actually did change his name to Aardvark-Bragpuss!

    It worked! He gets loads of work! His look is very unique too so it's a tough to say wether the name change had much to do with his success as a character actor! It does indicate he doesn't take himself too seriously though!

    • 25th Jun 2008
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    I know exactly what you are going through. My first name is JULIA but ALWAYS get called JULIE - nothing wrong with Julie but its not my name!!! it is an especially bitter pill to swallow when they do it in response to an email or something when my name is written a line above where they have written it wrong! grrrrr

    I changed my name, sort of, I joined my middle name and surname to a hyphen surname as there was another equity name like it, but otherwise I wouldnt have and I often drop the hyphen in conversation. Also the risk is if you change you name now, you loose all the hard work and effort of contacts you have made so far! xxx

    • 25th Jun 2008
    • 12
  • User Deleted

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    That's exactly what it is Julia! People hear the L and the S and the EY part of my name and make the connection that it's Lindsey rather than Lesley. The worst part is that even when i went to see my agent recently he was pulling up my profile on his computer and I had to correct him! now THAT is a sign to change agents if ever there was one. He doesn't know who I am!

    • 25th Jun 2008
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  • Amanda Golding

    Actor

    Lesley, I think your name is great.It rolls off the tongue.It has an educated and sophisticated feel to it, in my opinion.

    I changed my surname to my stage name, as I needed to break with the past, and my maiden name was really boring 'Brown.'I must say it made a huge psychological difference,and perked me up no end.It just really 'clicked'.I didn't even have to grope for a name.It flew into my head, and was right for me.

    I suppose I'm saying, it can a be a huge boon to change your name, but your first name is so much part of your identity, since being a child.

    If you've any doubts about this, you do not HAVE to do it, and/or no name really 'clicks' - don't do it!

    That's my penniesworth.

    Do it only if it feels 100% 'right'.

    Amanda

    • 25th Jun 2008
    • 14
  • User Deleted

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    thanks amanda, educated and sophisticated is exactly what I am and if my name reflects that then I'll keep it!

    x

    • 25th Jun 2008
    • 15
  • User Deleted

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    I'm also a fan of such awesome names as Rip Torn and Red Buttons. A friend suggested "Sarah Toenin" as an alternative! I guess I'll keep names like that for when I have to check into hotels anonymously!

    • 25th Jun 2008
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  • Monty Burgess

    Actor

    I had to change my name when I got to the UK as there was another person with my real name.

    I'm happy with it - Monty is my nickname and has been used as my first name (in effect) for 13 years.

    • 25th Jun 2008
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  • Alan Brent

    Actor

    Amanda! I changed my name from 'Brown' too! But I had to. There was already an Alan Brown in Equity when I joined.

    But to be honest Lesley; why change it? If it is for you and will make you feel better and give you a 'boost' then, OK.

    But why not simply change it to 'Lindsay'? Cunningham? There are already some great actors with the surname.

    Just as an aside my old friend Ian Crossley was having difficulty getting people to remember him. So he changed it to Finetime Fontayne. He's a very succesful actor!

    • 25th Jun 2008
    • 18
  • Amanda Golding

    Actor

    Alan, it's really good to know I'm not the only ex-Brownie.Brownie points to you - even if you had to!In a way in felt harsh, renouncing the family name and all that.Hey - but it was liberating!

    • 25th Jun 2008
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