Actor Game Plan: “The Answer!”

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I have some specific questions about the specifics of show business and I need an answer. In fact, I need the answer...

IF YOU’VE GOT QUESTIONS…

…who’s got THE answers…?

RIGHT?

Hollywood creates so many questions:

  • Who needs me? 
  • Who will see me? 
  • Who will hire me? 

It’s hard. 

And I’m not making light of this. These questions are merely the beginning to hundreds more I’ve heard during my 20+ years offering acting career guidance. 

They continue:

  • Who’s the best acting teacher? 
  • Who’s the best theatrical agent? 
  • Who’s the best commercial agent?
  • Who’s the best manager?

And we want the answer. The one. The name.

Get me that name and then I will feel better and pursue that person — sign up for that class — track down that assistant.

Then, I’ll feel better.

I’ll be on the right path.

Funny enough, this is that part of our profession where we want a guarantee. 

But we all KNOW that even life isn’t a guarantee. The prep. The attendant actor business necessary to getting representation or a job.

Of course!

But understand this…

The only guarantee you will find in this business that has to do with being an actor is…

...a contract

Contracts are your guarantee. Both sides are assured that. The contract is whatever you agree to when signing with a representative, or manager, or even better any kind of an acting project that has a contract.

Legally binding with clarity and answers. 

Now trying to clarify or get an answer to virtually every other question you may have as an actor is simply not just one answer. There could be many.

 I assure you if there was a direct path or perfect solution to becoming a working actor or star, I would have found it by now. 

C’mon! Help me with those questions at the top!

I will. I bring all this up because I want you to understand that I understand that you need an answer. I needed answers when I first arrived in Los Angeles.

But I slowly realized that you might find the answer you’re looking for as you make decisions at each stage of your show business process.

Are you willing to make a decision on a question that you have at any given time? Or are you waiting for an expert to direct you to the right (fill in the blank)? 

When you’re talking about looking for the answer to any of the questions you may have as an actor, I just simply need you to understand that most of the time there isn’t the answer.

BUT… there is an answer for you at that time.

Just make a decision.

For example, there are a couple hundred acting coaches in Hollywood and at least a hundred headshot photographers.

Is one better than the other? Will one be better for my career? 

What if you don’t live in Hollywood…? You might have three talent agents and two photographers where you live. Fewer choices, but a decision needs to be made. Likely, one of them is going to be better suited for your situation than the others.

Now that doesn’t mean two years down the road that one of the others isn’t better suited for you. We’re not machines. We evolve, learn and grow. We do all those things. 

So, constantly trying to believe that there’s one perfect answer to all of the stuff we face in this profession is just going to cause you to lose your mind.

But do your homework regardless. Research is so easy today. Find out as much as you can before deciding on an answer…

The economy is way too tough for us to be lazy. You need to make people earn the money that you’re going to pay them if it’s a service.  

No short-cuts.

I’ve seen a lot of people come to Hollywood knowing one person or they got an angle or something or they just did a project.

If you find yourself counting on the answer from one recommendation from that one name you heard at a meeting, you are severely affecting the possibility for you to really get the best case scenario — FOR YOU — which is what I would encourage you to replace with “the answer.”

Our careers and a lot of the decisions that we have to make are not black and white / right or wrong.

Look…

From what I’ve witnessed in my 25+ years in Los Angeles regarding us as performers, when we set ourselves up with an expectation which probably shouldn’t be there in the first place, it is NEVER based on enough information and when it doesn’t come to fruition, it is sad and frustrating for us.

It just is.

And this business is hard enough, righ?

Life is already hard enough. You may be keeping yourself positive and healthy just with regards to being a good performer and being ready for the next opportunity that comes along… AND those things are already hard enough.

You don’t have to make it harder by taking something that isn’t black and white. . 

Setting up a belief system that you’ve decided based on something you read once or heard once or even from three people, that this person or this service or this thing is going to be the be all – end all, and will  guarantee you – blah, blah, blah.

STOP!

There’s a good chance the only way to go from there is… down.

So getting an answer is much more about:

  • you knowing you
  • you being you
  • you allowing yourself to make a mistake… AND LEARN! 

Getting the answer is making sure that you give yourself plenty of options and get plenty of information on each option. 

Just be careful about looking for anyone or any one service to give you the answer that’s going to make you successful in this business. It really is a combination of intelligence, research and timing.

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Kevin E. West