Thursday, June 9, 2011

Luck and Connections

I have run across a lot of people lately ascribing success in acting due to luck and who you know. I am sorry to disagree with the idea that in order to succeed as an actor you have to have connections and luck. I used to believe that luck was needed to succeed as an actor (a belief strengthened by the fact that there are so few successful actors), but I now think that is a naive idea just like thinking that only those with connections can succeed as actors.

Luck and connections are excuses for failing. "I was unlucky." "I didn't have connections like Miley Cyrus did." What really makes people fail is that they are unwilling to do the work needed to succeed, or that somehow they never learn what they have to do to succeed. They never learn the kind of work they need to do and how to go about it. That is why those of us in the mentoring business believe so strongly that aspiring actors need mentors.

It is really popular to blame ones failures on some outside or mystical force. "I failed because of racial bigotry." Or lack of connections. Or lack of luck. Or lack of money. You see none of these things really has a bearing on your talent or your personality, or your work ethic. All of them can be overcome by talent and the proper kind of hard work.

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. One of my NYC students had a chance meeting with a famous agent in an elevator. Luck? Well, that far perhaps, but when she mentioned to him that she had just finnised a course at a well respected acting studio, he was impressed. Then she had the motivation to go to his office the next day and meet with him. He took her on. If she had not been well prepared at the acting studio and if she had not taken it upon herself to follow up on the meeting, she would not have got a chance to be represetned by him. When the oppotunity presented itself she was prepared. I had been a semi-professional and amateur actor for over twenty years when I heard about a film audition in a near by city. I prepared for the audition and attended. Because of my long experience, I was cast. The agent doing the casting call became my agent, and I got the first speaking role in a major TV series that I auditioned for. Luck? No. Preparation meeting opportunity.

I think everyone has it backwards about connections. They are always saying your success depends on who you know. Wrong. It depends on who knows you. Such people who have it backwards do not really understand what networking is and how to go about it properly. The purpose is to get yourself known in the industry, to build a positive reputation as an actor for yourself. Connections are built through your networking over all the years you are in the business. Like taking acting classes or having an acting coach, networking is something you always need.

Talent, love of acting, and dedication are plentiful. Solid preparation, charm, industry knowledge and mentors are much more rare.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Doc

    what a pleasure its been to come across your book and blog, i have not finished your book but have i keep re reading certain chapters and let it soak in before i go on to the next one (Chapter 5 in particular). I had to follow you on this website just so I can comment on this blog post, i must say i agree 100% with you on luck and connection. I think when people meet failure then they bring out the 'luck' word, i want to ask those people did they put their 100% forward? Do they believe in themselves? Are they looking for an excuse or someone to blame, because in this society we want to blame someone for everything.

    I will be contacting you shortly regarding some advice on my future projects. Thank you once again for providing your services