You are an entrepreneur. You are a start up in the acting business. You are the actor equivalent of Facebook, YouTube, SnapChat, Twitter, Netflix, Bitcoin. You are the new company on the block, and yes the market is full, but there is plenty of room to be a disruptor in that space. NOBODY does what you do. Nobody.
[smart_track_player url=”http://traffic.libsyn.com/actorceo/ActorCEO_52__A_year_of_an_Acting_Business_Podcast.mp3″ social_gplus=”false” ]
Hey what’s up everyone Mike Moreno here with you on our one year anniversary episode! Wahoo! I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to have started something like this out of pure curiosity and hunger for information and advice myself about the acting business, and then to have been so supported by actors not only around the United States but across the globe! Big shout outs to those of you listening in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and elsewhere. Thank you so much! This really wouldn’t be possible without your continued support, your reviews on iTunes and Sticher, your reviews online, and your subscription to the emails. All of it is a true blessing and I’m really thankful and humbled by all the love you’ve shown for this podcast.
As our frequent listeners know, I started this podcast as an actor looking to find insight and advice from those who were 5, 10, or 15 steps ahead of me in the acting business and figure out some of the tips and tricks to make a more sustainable career for myself but also one that I felt I had more control over. I had been grinding away for 6 years coming out of grad school and I felt like I was missing some crucial advice about the business side of things, how to treat my career like a business and how to make it something that I could control and that it wasn’t controlling me. Plus, about two years ago my wife and I had a child and that meant that my time was no longer my own. I HAD to find a way to balance my life and career and make the time I spent on my acting business the most productive and efficient as possible.
So I’ve talked to casting directors, actors, screenwriters, filmmakers, producers, and directors and the key take-away I’ve had so far is this: You are in control. Yes, having an agent is important. Yes, continuing to get training and improve is important. Yes, getting in front of casting is important. Yes, finding your type is important. Yes, creating a flexible schedule to make auditions is important. But there is only one common denominator in all of this. You. Your willingness to invest in yourself, to see yourself as valuable, to be determined to explore opportunities, to say NO when you feel in your gut that something is not right or a little shady, or like you’re being taken advantage of. That’s on YOU. No one else can do that for you. Your agent has a job and their job is not to figure out your type, it’s to pitch you based on your strongest qualities as showcased by your previous work. Your manager is there to help you build a career out of opportunities you create based on your skills, your ability to work in different markets and capacities, and your drive to build a creative career around yourself as a performer. If there is no career to manage, then they cannot help you. The casting director at your last audition is not the person who determines your value as an actor. They are looking to find a piece of a puzzle and you may not be that piece right now. Let me repeat this, no one else determines your value as an actor. Only you can decide that what you bring to the game has value. Only you can commit 100% to what you do so that there is no question that you are not fully prepared, expertly skilled, and exceptionally qualified to be paid to do what you do.
Now, when we think about our career choice like that, where we live in a world that seems like everyone else has the keys to the kingdom, but based on what I just told you, you know that you have the ability to work and build your own space in that kingdom, what type of business does that sound like? It doesn’t sound like a traditional type of business does it? You are not going in and punching the clock and doing a set job that in part determines the overall success of this business. You are on your own. Building an acting business on your own. You are an entrepreneur. You are a start up. You are the actor equivalent of Facebook, YouTube, SnapChat, Twitter, Netflix, Bitcoin. You are the new company on the block, and yes the market is full, but there is plenty of room to be a disruptor in that space. NOBODY does what you do.
So at this point I want to say that there are many resources made available from our fantastic podcast guests on how you can really work on honing your true self, getting in touch with why you act, what are the beautiful things about you that come naturally and make you unique, and how you can better cultivate and be protective of that mindset. I know Ty Jones, Timothy Douglas, Elizabeth Maxwell, Jessie Blue Gormezano, Eric Satterberg are just a few that have great advice in their episodes about how to help yourself with that, and there are incredible books recommended by our guests all up on the resources page at ActorCEO.com/resources that you can check out any time and build that confidence in your own abilities.
So, if by being an actor you’re an entrepreneur, what does that mean when it comes to working? What is the business you are building? Well, just like if I was to start a software company called Mike Moreno, INC I would need to determine what I do that sets me apart, who my ideal clients are, and how am I going to get in front of them to show them what I do? Sound familiar?
What is your type or brand? Who in the casting community is working on projects that your unique type or brand would be just right for? What can you do to get in front of them?
I know when actors start to think about things this way they tend to cringe and feel like they are “selling out” or they feel dirty about “selling themselves.” Get over it. Those thoughts lead you nowhere and the road to a sustainable career is strewn with the bodies of your fellow artists who could not get out of their own way when thinking about their career. You are not selling yourself you are building a business, an acting business. The business of you as an actor. But any business has to do marketing if they expect to be around long.
If you build it they will come is a myth! Pure and simple. I challenge you to really dive into the biographies of actors you admire. Deeper than the IMDB page or a wikipedia entry. Find as many videos, interviews, bios, and other accounts of their lives before they broke out or became a household name. You’ll find they worked their asses off for years to even get to the point of having a chance to audition for the part that would be the part that got them noticed to be called in for the role that made them a household name. So don’t get it twisted. Don’t romanticize this life too much. Work like no one else will, so that you can live like no one else can.
You are in control of your own success. Building your startup will require that you create a detailed plan for yourself and commit to completing it in the year or two you’ve laid out. Don’t stray from it. Don’t get distracted. COMMIT! One of the best ways to do that is to reverse engineer your goals. One of my first guest, Eric Satterberg is a great example of this strategy. Laying out your goals on a whiteboard and then figuring out the steps it will take to reach that goal.
If you want to land a guest star role on Law and Order by the end of this year. What needs to happen to do that? Who casts that show right now? Who is the assistant? Are there classes where I can meet them? What kind of roles do they cast? Do I fit those types of roles? Can I take a scene study or camera class where I can work on these types of roles? Can I get a reel together that showcases me in these roles that I can submit to their offices? What can I do tomorrow that will get me one step closer to that next goal.
Now here’s a handy acronym that will help you when laying out these goal. S.M.A.R.T.
Specific. I want to have a guest star role on a network episodic drama by this date.
Measurable. What are the indicators that you’re making progress. You’ve completed a class, met the casting assistant twice and the CD once, etc.
Attainable. I’m new so I want to book a guest star role rather than I want to star in my own series this year.
Realistic. I want to have auditioned for 10 top casting directors this year rather than I want to audition for House of Cards this month. Depending on where you’re at, that last one is unrealistic. Don’t put yourself in that position. Be bold, but be realistic. Remember, you’re a business. You’re in this for the long term.
Time bound. You have a time frame you must complete them by. This keeps you on track and doesn’t let you get lazy or say, “I’ll do that tomorrow” at any point in the process.
So with that said, I’ve decided to take it up a notch and create a space for not only the listeners of the podcast, but the acting community as a whole. As of this broadcast I’m launching the Acting Business Mastery Facebook Group. This will be a closed group where listeners to the show, actor friends that you invite and more of our peers can come together and work as a community build the acting business that best suits your and become the entrepreneur that you can be. There’s gonna be lots of resources, interviews with some of my guests, exclusive Q & A’s, I’ll be going live in the group a lot to talk about some of the latest developments in the entertainment marketplace and also really to help motivate you guys to stay committed to making this career your own and being in control of your own work.
One of those motivations is the 5 Day – 5 Month Challenge that everyone should take part in. It’ll be laid out in the group but for those of you listening, here’s a preview.
You’ll have 5 days to put together your your 5 month plan. Each day will have some action items related to planning, strategy, accountability, and focus. And the goal at the end of those 5 days, will be to have a crystal clear 5 month plan on where you want to be, what you need to do to get there, and the action that you’ll take every day to make that goal happen.
I’ve seen this type of planning really work well for me, I could not have gone from knowing nothing about podcasting to now having a show a year later talking to all of you, without the help of a plan like this.
Also, in the 5 Day – 5 Month Challenge, there will be actions you’ll need to take to check in with your support community in the Acting Business Mastery Group and that’s where you can ask questions, get feedback, or help encourage others to make a decision that helps others get clear and move their career forward.
I’m really excited about this. I hope you guys are too. The world is changing too fast and the industry is going through a titanic shift right now that there is no room for actors who are not taking themselves seriously, investing in their own career like their building a business, and staying focused on creating opportunities. You’ll just get left behind if you’re waiting for your career to happen. And we don’t want that! So join me over in the Acting Business Mastery Group on Facebook and keep tuning in to the podcast for another incredible year of putting a mentor in your pocket, and making you an Actor CEO.
Resources In this Episode: