In Brad Lemack’s book, “The New Business of Acting; How to build a Career in a Changing Landscape,” he shares his decades of experience so that you can grow your career. The book is designed to help students to succeed but the steps he shares for success can help any entrepreneur or acting hopeful at any age.
As he says in the beginning of his book, “Your professional life assignment is twofold: to develop your skills as a business person and to nurture your potential as an actor.” You could substitute almost any career goal for actor and much of his advice would help you as well! As he says: “There is always something new to learn and someone new to learn from.” We should all be growing in our chosen careers at all times.
Lemack’s advice is to “Learn to trust your judgement. Never doubt your faith in your ability to succeed. Remember to take those occasional, but regular, rest stops for some self-awarenesss, reflection and personal evaluation. Take care of business and the rest will fall into place, in its own time, not yours. Transition yourself by being prepared to handle whatever is around the next corner. Learn to recognize and value the small successes you will achieve each day along your career journey.” This advice and book is meant for students new in their acting journey but the wisdom will resonate for many in any stage of creating their dream job.
His advice to work on the skills of behavior, communication, awareness and perception is impactful and his summary is to “be smart about how you want to be perceived by others and honor the integrity of your brand in all that you do.” Whether you are taking this advice for auditions or how you use your social media, it is crucial to think about how what you do is interpreted by those around you.
When talking about headshots he says: “It is all about perception. What the image in your photo reveals about you is vital. This image can help open doors to opportunity or it can shut you out—all based on a quick look.” I would add that the same is true for the words and images you use on social media. Employers now examine what you say and how you say it on snapchat, twitter, YouTube and Instagram to imagine what it would be like to work with you and what you will reveal about them if you are part of their team.
I completely agree with Lemack that: “Careers are not built on single jobs. They are constructed from years of hard work, ongoing training and perhaps most importantly, relationships.” I have found in working on set, in a classroom or on a cruise ship that being consistent in your behavior and being kind makes more of a difference in a career than you might at first imagine. As Lemack says: “Be memorable for all the right reasons.”
I appreciated his sage advice about Fitness: Emotional, Physical and Financial. He says: “How you feel about yourself has a direct connection with how you relate to the world and how the world relates back to you.” Your attitude can make all the difference. Remember “the value of any audition is not in getting the job. Making a positive impression is the goal.” Imagine if we all stopped trying to get the job and worked on how we related to each other instead. “Careers begin to happen when talent, training, preparedness and readiness meet good luck and opportunity.”
For Physical Fitness, “an actor has to be fit.” We all need to take care of our health, and “some kind of physical activity (other than jumping to conclusions) should be part of your life.” I love Lemack’s sense of humor and gentle nudging about the importance of self-care and good attitude. As he says, “It is important that you do something and that you do it regularly.” This is great life advice for actors and everyone else on the planet!
For Fiscal Fitness, Lemack says: “You need to be fiscally strategic and financially smart if you want to stick around.” I am in a tech entrepreneur group with the small business development center in Los Angeles called Bixel Exchange and while this book is meant for starting actors it definitely applies for all start-ups and entrepreneurs.
Remember the three rules of fiscal fitness:
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.
While growing a great career is not easy, it is possible if “you continue to follow your commitment to your action plan and your responsibility to do at least one thing that is both positive and proactive in the interest of your career every day.” Lemack says budget your time and your money. “It is like taking prescription medicine. Plan to engage in your regular business activities on a regular schedule not at random times.” If you want to succeed, you must take the steps to make it happen.
“When opportunity knocks, how will you recognize it?” Lemack offers notes to remember:
- I am a work in progress.
- My career is a work in progress.
- I will view and react to my experiences in terms of black and white and not the colors of emotional stress.
- I will stay clear about my mission.
- I will continue to gather new materials 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 begin (or relaunch) and fuel my journey with energy, enthusiasm 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 follow my heart, follow my action plan and try to learn something new about myself and this business every day, each step of the way.
More resources and trusted websites can be found on Brad Lemack’s website, The Business of Acting.
Remember, “you can do this. You have the talent within you to go the long haul. Stay focused, be confident and always work at being a smart businessperson in the process of growing your career and anything is possible.”
Thank you Brad Lemack for your encouragement, enthusiasm and sharing your valuable knowledge in The New Business of Acting.