What is one thing you can do to self sabotage yourself in the Entertainment Industry? Be negative.
Whining is pervasive in the business. Actors bitch about their agents and managers, who in turn, bitch about their clients and the competition. Writers bitch about producers, who like to complain about just about everything (it is part of their job, after all), directors about producers and the “suits”, ad infinitum. In fact, there is so much bitching and moaning that it seems to be almost accepted. The key word here is almost.
When I was a Personal Manager for actors in Los Angeles, I had a sign in my office which read “The Attitude is Gratitude”. I would tell them that if they wanted to bitch and moan, they should call their shrink or their significant other, not me. I also told them to ask themselves daily this question:
“What have I done for my career today?”
To which, most would usually say something to the effect of, “Well, isn’t that what I’m paying you for?” My reply was yes and no. Yes, you can expect your agent or manager to be scouting leads for your career on a daily basis. Yes, they should be arranging meetings with producers and directors. Yes, they should be making follow up phone calls in a timely fashion. Yes, they should be strategizing your career path, but…and here is where I would pause, and say something like:
“So should you. Think of it this way, if I have 15 percent invested in your career, you should be investing the other 85 percent. I have 10 clients, you only have one, yourself. If you want me to spend 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, then we’re going to be talking a totally different deal here.”
At which point, they usually got it.
So, you want to be a player in the Entertainment Industry? Then, get proactive. Do something to further your career every day. Don’t sit around moaning and groaning about how so-and-so got their script optioned when yours is so much better. Instead, think outside the box.
If you’re running into resistance, accept it as part of the process. It does usually take a lot of rejection to get to a yes, but look at it this way, all you need is one person to get you and what it is you are presenting. Stay positive and keep looking for ways to connect with the powers that be. Make yourself someone who is easy to say yes to. Always keep in mind the four Ps:
Never think that a marginal effort in any of these four critical areas is acceptable. If you feel like having a bitch fest, call a friend over, uncork a bottle of wine and have at it, but whatever you do, don’t do it on the set, in a meeting, and NEVER EVER on the phone or in an email.
Keep all communications with everyone in the business upbeat and scrupulously professional. More importantly, watch what you’re thinking and how it is affecting your moods and demeanor. People can smell a complainer a mile away. People like to be around positive people, so remember: “Wine, Not Whine!”
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