Kevin E. West

Acting Career Decision: Art vs. Business

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At some point, when the phone stops ringing, what will you do? Are you ready to re-dedicate yourself to the business of show business?

Let's talk about the Business of Show Business!

“…but I love talking about the The ‘Show’ of Show Business…”

Don’t we all…?

Heck, I sometimes get caught up in the “show” of show business. It’s easy. It’s forever glittering all around me. I can’t take my eyes off it. I watch shows on all the streaming channels. I mean, who doesn’t? And guess what? I’m doing the work, right? I mean I could get called in to audition for this show or that show so I better watch them. 


I am so laughing as I write this…

 

With all the years I’ve spent as an actor in Los Angeles, doing this professional activity to get paid, you’d think I’d be immune to the distractions of this profession. 


Stuff happens. We all get into that place. Or at least I do. I know you’re not guilty. 


How much are you paying again monthly for streaming? 


LOL!


We all chose to be professional actors and we do this to get PAID! But when we don’t get paid, do we alI start to wonder what’s wrong…? Do we re-set? Do we get back to the basics?


Through my career coaching with actors, the answer is often…


NO!


We get sidetracked!


How does this happen? 


We have all the professional marketing materials necessary for this highly competitive industry. 


We have a headshot and resume. 


Training? We are all well-trained to audition — ready to pursue the business of being an artist!!


Mind-set? Do I see myself literally as a product for sale?


YES! I am a commodity, Casting Director. I’m ready for my booking!!


Locked and loaded. Or at least we thought when we woke up this morning. And then some doubt creeps in and soon we stop doing all the little (and big) things to move our career forward. 


Period!


Listen. I get that most artists are sensitive and we take things personally. No doubt Hollywood — or anywhere else — can be a tough place in terms of feeling frustrated or rejected or downright glum. 

 

I know this. 


And because this is a real problem… 


… we just need to collect our thoughts and begin to understand the difference… between “ART” and “BUSINESS.” 


So let’s start out with the ART first, because that is the “show” of show business. 


For me, that is:


  • Auditions 
  • Callbacks 
  • Rehearsals
  • Performances 


All of the above requires our body and mind. Our instrument. Our singular talent. This is the intangible aspect of our profession.

Look. You’re one of a kind. You’re unique. There is nobody like you. I don’t even care if you have a twin. In this profession, there’s no one like you. 


And the “ART” is what comes from inside your physical body. Yes. We all know stars and the stars just below the stars and other assorted performer types that we think highly of… 


But it’s what comes out of that person that is their art


This includes me and… YOU!!


Your physical type is a part of the business. I’m not talking about your desire to perform or why you want to become an actor. I’m talking about what we all consider to be the artistic pursuits of a professional actor — like being on camera. 


Right?


Television, daytime soap operas, half hour or one hour episodics, feature films hosting, etc. All of these (and more) are part of the “art” of performing.

 

What about the “business” of performing? 


We’ve all done it. We can spend all the time in the world going to acting class and working on our craft and doing all those things and we think that is going to help us with the business of acting. 


But what happens? We forget a universal economic law:


Supply and demand is never going to change. 


Always the case. There has always been more supply of actors than there is a demand for roles. And that just means there’s always more actors who are willing to be paid products to perform. 


And there is a demand for them. 


So you have to realize that when you start discussing the “business” of the acting profession, you’re talking about being your own sales force, marketing team, advertiser, promoter and publicist.


Those are all necessary to sell a product — to sell your product!


UGH!


Now, you might be thinking that’s all well and good, but my true motivation, my desire to perform is that I want to hear the audience clap or to win an award. Inwardly, I admit. Even I want the adulation. Did I just write that? I did and that or anything else can — and should — be your reason(s) for being an actor. 


I get it. And all of that is pure “art”. It’s the softer side of this business. The part that goes on a vision board in your bedroom that you review nightly. You connect your five senses to whatever this outlined dream is for your career. 


And for some of you, it will come with little or no focus on the business side of acting. It’ll just happen. 


I’ve seen it hundreds of times. One day you might be one among many actors and the next day you’re featured in a film or guest-starring on a television show and your life changes overnight!


Let’s focus on that Kevin! I want to hit a home-run! 


So do I!!!


More in the next blog!