Probably the biggest reason to use a stage name is in the name of SAFETY. This is especially true for young performers but really, it is something every performer should at least entertain. In this digital world, it is so easy to google someone’s name and with all kinds of ‘check in apps’ it makes stalking an individual very easy. A stage name can deter that as the public interaction pages like FACEBOOK and TWITTER and the like interact with the persona, not the true individual. Another big pro to using a stage name involves the family. Perhaps the actor doesn’t want to be assoicated with the celebrity of his or her family…perhaps they want to make it on their chops, not on a family name. Stage names also allow a performer to ‘turn it on’ when needed. If they are addressed as their birth name, it is likely it is a family member or a close friend. If addressed by their stage name, they intrinsicly know it’s time to be ON. The other reasons are self explanitory and you probably already know them…if your birth name is particularly difficult, very ethnic sounding, already the name of a celebrity, etc…
Of course there is the other side of the fence as well. Choosing a stage name can upset the family and question the performer why he/she isn’t proud of who he/she is. It can also be confusing on paperwork. If the performer is very young, it can confuse the child as well as to who or what exactly is his identity?? It may not seem like much but potentially all these issues can weigh on a heart so don’t go into the decision lightly.
As with all things in the biz, you make a decision and plow ahead. If you do choose a stage name, make sure it’s easy to pronounce, easy to remember, and please, do your homework! Make sure no one else already has it!! IMDB is an excellent source for that part. Once you decide, consult your POWER TEAM you’ve put together. Usually, it doesn’t have to be a legal name change so long as the paperwork is in order and the UNIONS are aware.
Got a stage name? Considering a stage name? Talk to us about the process that led to your decision.