If you are looking for a helping hand in the entertainment industry, then you’d do best to look at your own two.
I know that sounds harsh, but if you’ve ever worked or tried to work in the entertainment industry you’ll know exactly what I mean. The myth of “being discovered” as you are walking down the street, sitting on an airplane singing, or even as you are performing in a small nightclub or Town Hall in some small town USA is simply that, a myth, another urban legend. (And trust me, if you hear someone tell you they were discovered that way, it’s probably a marketing ploy they are trying to sell you on or they invited the “discoverer” to the venue or to walk down the street with them!)
Put it this way, you have a better chance at winning a multi-state lottery with a $1.00 ticket, and then you’ll have of being discovered this way in the entertainment industry. The meaning of the word “myth” is: “false popular belief,” and from the letters and emails I receive there are a lot of false popular beliefs going around.
The odds of “making it” big in the Christina Aguilera, Steven Spielberg, Claire Danes kind of way is far too great and would make it seem impossible. So why try? Well some people do make it or there wouldn’t be any Christina Aguilera’s or Steven Spielberg’s out there.
But let’s face it, the odds are still huge. There are literally millions of aspiring artists, actors, singers, musicians, producers, film directors, etc. to every one that are actually employed in their craft Statistics approximate this figure in the range of only 2% of any of these individuals trying to get hired in these fields are actually able to pay their rent strictly from their art. That’s pretty staggering.
While the odds are staggering, it doesn’t mean you can’t “make it.” However, I wouldn’t count on a lot of help from others in the industry. The hands that may reach out to help you may also be the ones that are reaching for the same job or position as you, and may end up pushing you down. Accept help from others, but keep a watchful eye out. Always remember that the helping hands that you really need are your own two hands. You have a hand to help yourself, and a hand to help others. Remember the adage, “Those you pass by on your way up the ladder are the same ones you see on your way down.”
You have to work hard, reach for every opportunity, be reliable and steadfast, and be in the right place in the right time. You need to watch the want ads, read the entertainment papers and find out who’s who in the business. You really must socialize and above all, don’t pretend to be someone or something you aren’t.
The business is already filled with too many individuals who are not themselves and they can see through an act like that in an instant. Frankly people in the industry are pretty tired of it. You’ll get more attention by being genuine. Be fresh and sincere. After all, it’s you that you’re selling not an imitation of something or someone. You are all you have. If you don’t let them see the real you, first and foremost, or if you don’t believe in yourself and your own talents, then you shouldn’t be in the game in the first place.
Can’t get an immediate job of your dreams in the entertainment industry? I suggest if you really want to be a successful actor or musician, think about taking another job in the industry to get into that venue. Get a job as a script person, a telephone operator (they know everything that goes on, so it really is a great position), or a gofer (hey, you'll be “going for this” and “going for that”, so you'll have a chance to network and meet people!).
If you want to be a musician, try to get hired as a roadie or someone who works on tour so you can get an in. The people who are at the top, didn’t start at the top, so why should you? Be the person who is willing to do the “dirty” work. Become appreciated and part of the regular crowd. You never know when you’ll be asked to sit in on a set and there you go!
To be quite honest with you, the people that make the most money, but also take the most risk in this business are the directors, producers, record companies, and studios. Of course, they also have the most power over your career. So when I say that the only helping hand you should be looking for is yourself, keep that in mind. Part of what I’m advocating is that you learn how to manage your money and be sure to broaden your horizons. How many actors turn to directing too? If you are in one of those positions, you will be the one who has the most power over your career, not someone else. That’s another reason why business courses and knowledge of accounting are so important.
Take business courses specific to the entertainment industry. Learn to produce. There will always be someone over you who can make or break you in the industry. And, at the same time, take you from financial fortunes to bankruptcy in the blink of an eye, and smile at you as they are doing it. So, do you really want to be an actor or musician who is broke? I don’t. You’ll need to manage your money wisely and learn to diverse.
I do music and acting first and foremost because I really love it. It is who I am, what I breathe, how I think. But I also want to make money so that eventually I can devote full attention to my music and acting in order to pay my bills and keep a roof over my head.
So again, while I’ve learned to look no further than my own two hands, you need to know that ultimately, for all everyone else’s good wishes and support may provide, you can’t count on anyone else but yourself. Just remember, it’s within your own power to genuinely outstretch one of those hands to another. Jaci Rae – “The Rae of Hope TM”
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Jaci Rae is a #1 Best Selling author of The Indie Guide to Music, Marketing and Money and Winning Points with the Woman in Your Life One Touchdown at a Time. Tune in for "The Jaci Rae Show" heard live around the world every Thursday: Click on the weekly show link
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