Trish and Harold's Weblog

News, information, and random thoughts from the busy lives of Trish Egan and Harold Phillips.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Oops! Back to SHOW Business: Mailbox

Edit: Oh wow! Sorry about the late post, folks... for some reason this stayed in "draft" for instead of posting yesterday!

Hi folks

I did get more than a few comments through email and Twitter about my first post in the "Back to Business" series... most of them were along the lines of "way to go," or "looking forward to reading more!" I did want to address a few of the messages I got that were a little more critical, though...

... I want to work, but that doesn't mean I'm waiting for someone to hand me a job. I look for audition, and I go on some whenever I can. It not like Im not trying! JC (location unknown)

I'm not saying that anyone's not trying, JC. It's good to hear that you're going out there and auditioning!

Without getting all Yoda-like, though, there's a big difference between trying and doing. A lot of actors will try and get in on auditions when they hear about them, maybe look through the paper or online resources available to them... but they won't spend time actively looking for opportunities (or making time in their schedules to pursue them.) They get cast in a show or commercial, do the gig... and then wait for their agent to call them with another audition.

What I propose is action rather than reaction; focusing on making opportunities happen instead of waiting to come across them. Keep reading and you'll see what I mean in coming weeks.

... frankly, I'm offended that you compare actors to plumbers. I am not some day-laborer, I'm an artist. My place in life isn't to service people's plumbing or their home, but to engage their soul and make them see the uncomfortable truths in their lives. RM (Portland)

It's good that you aspire to show people uncomfortable truths and engage their souls, RM. I try to do that myself. I like to get paid for it, though... that's how I can afford the time it takes to learn lines, rehearse, audition, and do all the work required to be an actor who engages people's souls. Lots of people don't care about supporting themselves through their craft; they're perfectly content to work at a "day job" and perform whenever they're allowed the time (usually evenings and weekends). I myself think I'm better at my job when I don't have to split my focus; the less "day job" work I do, the more time I can focus on bringing the best performance to the projects I'm working on.

If we expect producers (and audiences) to pay us for our work, then we're doing business with them: we're exchanging a service for money. It's really a fundamental concept. The same is true in any profession - work in a restaurant? You're doing business with the restaurant - they pay you for your time and expertise at cooking, waiting tables, or what have you. In that regard, we're no different than a plumber or landscaper, a doctor or a lawyer. They've got to market their services, gain clients (like producers, directors, and the audience), get paid, and invest in their businesses so they can gain more clients and serve them better.

I have no problem comparing actors to plumbers - the service we provide may be different, but the nuts and bolts of how we do business really aren't.

You seem like a nice enough person, and I can see by your web site that you've had some success in your little market at local commercials and independent films. Respectfully, though, do you really think you're qualified to tell people how to make it in a real market like LA? KL (Los Angeles)

No. I'm not out to tell people how to "make it in Hollywood -" there are a lot of people based in LA who would be much better resources for that, like Bonnie Gillespie or Mark Sikes (to name just two... there are hundreds of others, and everyone's got their opinion on who's the "best.")

When I meet with my Business Coaching clients, I'm not trying to teach them how to "make it" in LA or anywhere else - what does that mean, really - to "make it?" My idea of "making it" is probably different than yours, and different than half the people watching Access Hollywood. The most important thing, in my book, isn't to try and try and live up to other people's definition of success, but to decide what success means to you and work towards that goal.

I do have to disagree with you on one point, KL - my market here in Portland is just as "real" a market as the one in LA, or New York, or Minneapolis, or Boise. A market is a place where goods or services are exchanged. That's it. Now, LA is certainly a bigger market than ours here in Portland, OR, but that doesn't make yours "real" and ours "fake." Any place actors can get hired for films, commercials, television, or theater there's a market. The specifics of working in one market may be different than those of another, but the fundamentals really aren't. That's what I'm talking about in this series... fundamentals.

That's it for now, folks... see you on Monday when we talk about a subject on everyone's mind - Taxes!