Advice for actresses and actors

November 30, 2009 at 11:56 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I work in a headshot printing/xerox place in the heart of NoHo. So I get tons of actors, actresses, agents, and producers walk into my store. Here is my advice to anyone who is trying to make it in the entertainment business in Los Angeles:

Good luck and bad luck are constantly swirling around you. But knowing how to use it is not luck!
I can never over-emphasize how much of a role luck plays in Hollywood. Being successful is often just being in the right place at the right time and not being the most beautiful or the most talented or whatever. So concentrate on putting yourself in a position to get lucky. Think of each social gathering/meeting/audition/whatever as a sort of a lottery. Each time you put yourself out there, it’s like scratching a lottery ticket. The more you scratch, the more likely you are to win, but most lottery tickets lose. So try to spread your bets across many projects instead of the one big jackpot. Make the cost of your failures cheap. You’re going to fail a lot at first, so get used to it.

Yes means maybe . . . no means maybe
See above rule. I got burned by this one myself. Things I thought were sure things ended up not panning out. Conversely, other things that I thought were disasters actually led to new and interesting things. Don’t necessarily think a “no” is a bad thing. It’s very hard to predict the future, so don’t try. Be aware of opportunities that come up when a “no” event happens.

You can learn more by studying Lindsay Lohan than you can by studying Grace Kelly
This is known as “survivorship bias”. People often pay too much attention to things that successful people did. That’s fine, but it’s also important to draw attention to things that the failures did wrong. Valuable data often lies in the misses, not the hits.

Opportunities are like buses. . . there’s always another one coming
This is actually a bit of business advice that a friend’s father gave me once, but it can be applied to acting. I’ve noticed this to be true in my own life as well.

Looking impressive vs being impressive.
I get a LOT of people that talk themselves up in my store. And the more I get to talking with them, the more I realize that the guy’s full of shit. People who excessively brag about themselves/accomplishments are generally overcompensating, I’ve noticed. The more you drill down, the more below average the person seems to be. General rule of thumb: the more expensive a guy’s sunglasses are, the more of a dipshit he is. Unfortunately, Hollywood is rampant with these assholes so beware.

Embrace failure!
Yeah, sounds paradoxical, I know, but it’s true. The word “failure”, has a negative connotation in the English language, and this has always bothered me. It kind of implies that you did something wrong and it’s something to be avoided. In my opinion, one of the biggest hindrances to success that people have is the need to avoid failure all the time. This is nonsense! Failure is not something that you should avoid, it should be something you embrace!

A good quote from Thomas Watson: If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate

Someone who is nice to you, but not nice to the waiter, is not a nice person
This rule never fails. Someone told this to me once and it’s resonated with me ever since. Remember this every time you have “lunch” with someone.

Hope this helps. Sometimes you can get the best advice from people who are OUTSIDE a given context, you get a different perspective.

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