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Acting vs. A Job Search

How Does Acting Success Relate To A Job Search?

From Career Tips, 2013 Volume 7, July 2013


Kid Performing
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

I was enjoying the audio memoir of Garry Marshall, the director of such hits as "The Odd Couple", "Happy Days", "Pretty Woman" and "Princess Diaries", when I heard this quote:



"If you can get out of bed each day, go to a job you love, and return home to a family you love, that is the key to life and the key to a successful career in Hollywood, or anywhere else."



Garry went on to provide tips for achieving success as an actor, which mapped very well to ANY job search ...


"Go to school, any school.  Be in school plays, study acting.  At the very least it will help you prepare for the business you've chosen."


Work on your skills!  Find classes, volunteer projects, consulting assignments and community efforts that let you keep building your repertoire.


"Try to do a play.  In a play a producer can see your skills better than in a 10 minute, 2 page read or audition."


Find ways to build visibility and get known outside of the standard "apply for a job and cross your fingers" approach.  This way people get to know you better, you get more chances to interview and walk into interviews better prepared, and hopefully recommended.


"It is just as hard to be a working actor as it is to be a star."


A search is hard work.  Don't approach it lightly.


"Spending most of your time getting an agent or manager is not as important as meeting people yourself at parties, charity affairs, church or synagogue."


Focus on meeting people one-on-one.  That's how you get your brand out there, and it's how you get the connections that can ultimately lead to invitations to interview.


"Getting a small part in a movie or TV show will not make you a star - it will give you experience to do better on your next job."


Don't hesitate to take on small projects in your field of expertise that help you build your toolbox ... and also increase your visibility.


"Give yourself a time limit."


If you are continually hitting a brick wall, take stock.  Reexamine your target job / job level / companies / industry, and how exactly you are presenting yourself.  Get critical feedback on everything you are doing from trusted advisors.  Make sure there isn't anything getting in the way, and make course corrections as needed.


"Relatives, romances, connections or the like will not make you a star. Talent and showcasing will."


Connections only get you the chance to interview.  Landing the job is up to you.


"Make your own video and put it on the internet - someone might see it or send it to someone."


Not a bad idea, if you have the capability of doing it very professionally.  In any case, find ways to get your presence out there:  Put up a strong LinkedIn profile.  Pose or answer questions on LinkedIn, in groups, etc.  Join in the on-line conversations in your field of expertise.


"Spending large sums of money to keep getting new photos and headshots is a waste of time.  Spend your money going to film festivals and you might meet someone who will get you an audition."


Network, network, network.


"Take all chances to be seen in small films or video."


Always be on the lookout for additional ways to build on your 'stories.'


"Don't rely on any one person to make your career - it takes a village.  The more different people who will give you a part or a chance the better.  And remember, luck can be a good part of success."


The law of large numbers applies - the more connections and the more conversations you have, the better the chance you end up interviewing for a great job.  As said before, network, network, network.


"Stay healthy.  Stay away from and avoid negative people who put down your dreams.  Cultivate the positive."


Feed your body and soul well.  And remember, hiring managers try not to hire negative people.  By extension, they avoid those who hang around a lot with negative people.


"Jealousy of others is a total waste of time and energy."


Time spent worrying about why others are more successful than you, and obsessing about all of the things that have gone wrong for you, is a dark pit that will hold you back, and that will give you a negative aura that will repel opportunities.  Get over why you were let go at the last job, how unfair the job search is, why you aren't landing and others are.  Focus exclusively on what you want to achieve, and go after it like a dog with a bone.


There's a lot of wisdom there.  Send me your own take on any of these points, or your own additions to the list, and I'll include them (anonymously, unless you specifically say attribution is OK) in a future issue.


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