Act Like An Adult: The New Business of Acting
While there are many people who wish their dreams would come true, very few people actually share a blueprint of how to make it happen. Brad Lemack in his book, The New Business of Acting: How to Build a Career in a Changing Landscape – The Next Edition, describes step by step how to create the life you want. His book shares his decades of experience inspiring actors to strong successful professional careers.“How to build a career in a changing landscape,” is meant to be about the world of film and television, but his clear steps can help you in any field or endeavor.
As Lemack says, we are all a “work in progress” and “the opportunities we all seek do indeed exist. However, it is our job to earn them.” If you take the time to create a plan and commit to it, you can have your dream job.
One thing that seems to be in short supply is the willingness to make a long-term commitment to anything that is more than 140 characters on a social media platform. Lemack is talking about building your legacy but you have to start at the beginning and be willing to put in the time.
Lemack tells us:
“You would never build a house without a plan, nor would you set out on a journey to a far-off destination without a map to guide you. That is what this book is meant to do: to serve as your guidebook, to inform you about the sights that must be seen (and, of course, steer you away from those that should be avoided) as you create and launch your personal action plan for career success in your journey to and through the not-so -far -off land known as the new business of acting.”
What steps are you will to take to make your dreams come true?
I agree with Lemack that: “careers begin to happen when talent, training, preparedness and readiness meet good luck and opportunity—and not until then. That is why you must be prepared for the long haul.” I have personally found that these ingredients do bring success.
After working for years with successful actors, new actors and acting students, Lemack has seen what it takes to make it. “Your professional life assignment is to develop your skills as a businessperson and to nurture your potential as an actor. There are only two ways to achieve this: training and experience.” If you are willing to put in the effort, you will see results.
I love his metaphors: “It is impossible to drive forward until you take the car out of park. But you also have to be sure that the tank has gas in it and that the engine has its needed supply of oil. Both are critical requirements to get you in gear for a safe and well-equipped journey.” If you find classes to take, seek out a mentor, meet people in the industry and never give up, your patience and persistence will be rewarded.
Lemack tells you to “never doubt your faith in your ability to succeed.” You have to be able to keep going. How do you manage that?
First, you need to develop the skills of behavior, communication, awareness and perception. When he explains about “how you say what you say can often be far more significant than the contents of the message itself,” this life skill is important for any acting audition but also for any human being on the planet. His talk about how you need “self-awareness, that is about being sensitive to situations around you all the time,” would help any person with any life goal. I love when he talks about perception and social media: “Do not be negative. Do not be nasty. Do not be personal. Think before you write or post anything.” While some people may want to be personal or political on their feed, I hope that is an intentional choice with full knowledge of the potential responses. This book is about being responsible for yourself and creating the life you want. It is directed to those who want to be actors but many now have to develop their own brand and these steps would be useful in many situations.
As Lemack explains to his students, “Be smart about how you want to be perceived by others and honor the integrity of your brand in all that you do—especially online.” This is crucial for all people of all ages and any profession. What you put online can help you or haunt you for years. Remember to “be memorable for all the right reasons.”
In order to make your life work, you need to have emotional, physical and fiscal fitness. Lemack shares his wisdom on all of these and my favorite part was: “Some kind of physical activity (other than jumping to conclusions) should be a part of your life.”
Lemack’s three rules of fiscal fitness are:
1. You have to live somewhere and be able to pay for it.
2. You have to eat regularly and be able to pay for it.
3. There is a minimum amount of money that you must earn first to survive and then to thrive.
Whether you want to work as an actor, have an internship or build your own business, Lemack wants you to:
- Never take rejection personally, unless you were rejected because of something inappropriate or unprofessional that you did. It is your product or brand they may have chosen to pass on this time. It is not about you personally.
- Your acting talent is a service that you provide to the entertainment community. Always play at the top of your game.
- The forward movement of your career requires that your action plan be a work-in-progress. At the launch, your plan is in place. But your plan must be adaptable to circumstances, environment, and personal and professional conditions that may indicate a change to the plan is in the best interest of achieving the results you seek.
- Success in this business has everything to do with opportunity, timing and an actor’s readiness. Opportunity opens doors; preparedness makes you ready to take full advantage of those opportunities when they come your way. The goal is building a career.
- Never let your passion for what you seek to achieve wane, even when the going gets tougher than you expected.
If you want to build a career, you need to make a plan and stick to the steps.
Here is some wisdom from the end of the book:
- I am a work-in-progress.
- My career is a work-in-progress.
- I will respond to my experiences in terms of black and white (I either got the role or I did not; that agent signed me or she did not; I got into that class or I did not—they “whys” of the matter do not matter, unless you behaved in a way that impacted the result or decision).
- I will stay clear about my mission.
- I will continue to gather evidence of my potential and upgrade the tools I need for use along my journey.
- I will continually seek to acquire and to develop the skills that I will need to build, sustain and grow my career.
- I will fuel my journey with energy, enthusiasm, positivity and healthy motivation.
- I will temper my journey with patience, fortitude and self-reliance.
- I will live by a code of ethics that will serve to frame my intent along with my actions.
- I will attempt to learn something new about myself and this about business every day, each step of the way.
When I need motivation,
I look at these words from Lemack:
If you stay focused, remain confident and always work at being a smart businessperson in the process of growing your career, than anything is possible. I wish you much luck, endless opportunity and all good fortune all along your journey. Indeed, you can do this.
Buy the Book on Amazon: The New Business of Acting: How to Build a Career in a Changing Landscape – The Next Edition
Learn more about Brad Lemack
Read what I wrote about his last edition here: Are You Prepared for The New Business of Acting?
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