Kevin E. West

Acting Career Coaching: Game Plan

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What is your acting career game plan?

 

Do you have one…? 

It’s okay to say “no.” So often I get the enthusiastic “yes” and I know it’s not true. 

Well if you click my photo up there, I can get you back on track! Trust me. 

Click the photo!

Click the photo!

Or just click here…

For the rest of you, welcome to your own personal GPS blog post. Yes, I know you know the value of GPS (Global Positioning System) when you’re trying to find that cool restaurant in a new neighborhood but what about the GPS for your acting career?? 

HELLO! 

Take it from me, a really smart way to view your professional pursuit is to embrace another form of GPS I call:

Game – Plan – Synergy baby!!

Look! All successful businesses, sports teams, and entrepreneurial leaders have a game plan, right? C’mon, we’ve all read a little self-help in our lives, right? No? Just me? Okay…

If you try to navigate Hollywood or your place of acting endeavor and you believe that you don’t need a game plan to pursue a professional acting career, well, I hope you enjoy being the Mayor of Crazy-Town.

WE PLAN THINGS ALL THE TIME!

Why not put a little of that energy into your career???

Now as a veteran performer, a goofball and a Pisces – yes, I get it, we just want to play all the time, pretend all of the time and just hang out in the acting sandbox. I’m with ya, I feel ya, and I can clearly relate…

BUT HOLD THE PHONE…

…because not only is that not reality for 99.9% of us, the other side of it is that in life, you plan things all of the time so what’s the big deal? I’ve actually never understood this about my fellow actors. How is it that you can plan vacations or tutoring curriculums or neighborhood parties and not make time for your acting career? 

C’mon! We just need to take that skill-set and make a smooth and simple transition over to your acting pursuit and apply it there! No biggie!

1. WEEKLY SEGMENTS ARE CHEWABLE
When it comes to anything in life that seems at odds with our normal or basic learning curve or natural association I like to try as best as I can, to keep it simple. The creation of, and or more importantly, the consistent execution of an actor – business ‘Game Plan’ is NOT remotely normal or natural for us as a professional artistic community. Therefore, in order to make it an easier lift right from the start, think of your life and available energy/time as a weekly thing. Why Kevin? Because we’re used to the idea of a 40-hour work week, and then the weekend. However, let us be clear on another Kevin’ism: “You can’t get fired from a job you don’t have.” So, when you’re not working as an actor, I do not distinguish weekdays from weekends, as it is all just TIME. I give ya eight hours of sleep so that leave 16hrs x 7 which equals 112.

2. QUARTERLY REVIEWS ARE VALUE IN H.R.!
Remember I referenced the casting director community as the same as Human Resources…because they are, literally from a U.S. labor code standpoint. So, with that in mind, if you’ve ever been hired to work a regular office job, temp job, even the food service industry or anything else, it is very common for the guidelines of employment to come with a 90-day trial basis type of thinking. If you make it past this point, this is when perhaps some form of benefits will begin to accrue etc. etc. So, again, I like to use constructs and frameworks that we are used to so the idea of ‘Quarterly’ reports or reporting is fairly normal. Once you have your game plan, part of the synergy I want you to feel and experience with it, comes with reviewing how you’re doing with the plan every 90 days…without fail people. 

3. SEMI-ANNUAL ASSESSMENTS SAVE CAREERS
So, you’re cruising along, you like your plan, you’re doing it, you’re playing Santa Claus and checking it twice, now you’re checking in on it every 90 days, rock on. Coolio. Then you hit the half-way point in the calendar year or perhaps whenever you started your plan, your actor game plan FISCAL year. I mean, if you started on October 1, then your Semi-Annual assessment is coming on March 31st folks. You have a weekly plan and you review that quarterly but you assess it every six months. Why? Because an actor’s pursuit is NOT remotely linear, nor does it necessarily remain on the same tracks as it was because we’re artists. You may be a singer, or dancer, or think you wanted to do Voice-Over and your artistic side begins to evolve or change in ways that MUST force a change in your game plan. No prob, but be sure to assess that every six months because you may discover you really haven’t been executing your weekly plan and you don’t know why.

4. ANNUAL REORGANIZATION IS PARAMOUNT
Just so you know, if you don’t, that ‘Reorganization’ is actually a legit legal term used for companies called Chapter 7 rather than what we all commonly know, a bankruptcy filing as, Chapter 11. I put these terms ‘n thoughts into my actor business blog posts because ALL of my expertise I present to you is about wanting to have a monetary career in the art of acting and therefore we are BUSINESSES. To stop, and consider the necessity to ‘Reorganize’ your business annually is not a bad thing in any way and should not be viewed as such. Bear in mind that we cannot pursue acting in a bubble. We have lives, maybe kids, other jobs to make money, life partners, friends, family etc. Sometimes, you have to reorganize your weekly plan before going into the next fiscal/calendar year. This is not about ‘New Years’ resolutions at all. Your annual actor game plan (executed weekly) may need to be reorganized and reprioritized for very good reasons.

5. GOALS v. TASKS IS THE KEY
I’m going to keep this portion very short and crystal clear. A goal is NOT a task. A series of tasks, well-planned and well-executed, are the key to accomplishing a goal. Also, a goal can be something you do not have complete control over, especially in the acting profession, but it is most emotionally helpful to have as many goals as you can be something that you can actually accomplish through intelligent and consistent task application. An example would be the common actor goal of; ‘I want an agent’. Whereas Kevin would say; ‘I want to create seven agent meetings.’ Why? Because your goal of getting a rep is left to THEM to decide and the creation of meetings is up to you to make happen. BOOM!

6. BUILD YOUR BALANCED ACTOR DIET
Never forget this Kevin’ism so long as you’re an actor: ‘They don’t add extra hours into a 24-hour day for you to have time to pursue your career.” The reality is, no different than one’s caloric intake to stay healthy, is the absolute requirement to manage your LIFE and ACTOR time. If you’re out of balance in your diet / exercise you’re out of shape. If you’re only dreaming or living in fantasyland about how much time you’re putting into the PURSUIT of your acting career (not actor class time) then you’re going to be ‘professionally out of shape.’ So, it will be imperative to build your Game Plan Synergy from a place of knowing what you have to work with and keeping it balanced at all times.

7. IS YOUR TIME-BANK SUFFICIENT?
All of the above has come down to this, which is a favorite #TopicalDiscussion I invented as the Founder of, The Actors’ Network known as, #TheActorPie. This is a very simple metaphor in that you’d never plan to drive to Las Vegas and never consider IF you had enough gas to get there or when you needed to STOP and re-fuel. Well, you cannot create or engage in Game Plan Synergy unless you know for certain how much time you have on a weekly basis to set aside to execute it. Therefore, you must sit down, and intelligently arrive at a clear number of hours to put into the pursuit of your career. I do not care how many it is, I only care, that it is accurate and doable. This is so important it is indeed a chapter in my book, 7 Deadly Sins – The Actor Overcomes. You cannot spend hours of time you do not actually have.

CONCLUSION:
You are the CEO of your business and the master of your life. When it comes to any form of a game plan related to anything you’re the boss, the coach, the leader and the ultimate arbiter of its outline, blueprint and implementation. You must stand before your desires, goals, dreams and deep desire to work as an actor and put together an executable game plan to accomplish it knowing you have the time to do so. This is Game Plan Synergy!!