Next year you will be another year older…What will be different?
It’s a question that one of my mentors asks constantly. So many of us leave for tomorrow, the things that we should have done yesterday.
Most people see this time of year, as a time of new beginnings and possibilities.
Here’s a reality check that I got the hard way…
All that jazz: the new year resolutions and the whole “2018 is my year” mentality is little more than a pacifier.
It’s how those that have not accomplished all they wanted to this year, can brush their shortcoming aside and “recommit” (stage cough) to do “better” next year.
Soon after I got serious about my career, I met someone that taught me an exercise that has made a big difference in my life and I’m sure it will make a big difference in yours too.
Instead of patting myself on the back this time of year, I face the facts. I don’t revel in the accomplishments, I take stock of everything I didn’t do. I build a vision of what could have been and take a real account of how far I am from that vision.
Since I started doing this, with each passing year, I build a bigger vision and I get progressively closer to achieving it.
That’s not to say that I beat myself up about things. Not at all. I just face the facts. This allows me to reassess whether it’s something I really wanted to do, or whether I just made excuses for not getting it done.
For example, I told myself that this was my year to become a bestselling author, but I didn’t get my book done.
In fact, let’s just say I came up with a really snazzy title and table of contents.
But, it turns out, I didn’t really want to write the book after all. I enjoy these short bursts and releasing my strategies to you in this format because the industry is so dynamic. I love it and I really don’t want to change that at this point.
So, was it a fail in not getting it done? No, I just took a creative turn in a different direction.
This is what top performers do: they use “failure” as a springboard to success. So, now instead of renewing my commitment to getting my book done in 2018, I have instead decided to double down on what I enjoy most: my weekly releases.
The way you can do this, is first take stock of where you are in your career and compare it to where you wanted to be.
Then be honest with yourself about why you didn’t hit that target. Did you have a goal to land a supporting role in a studio feature? If you didn’t hit that goal, was it an activity problem?
Did you spend more time on Netflix than on auditions? Did you go on 100 auditions and not get any meaningful bookings? That would mean you have to up your skill set, or marketability, not just go on more auditions.
This exercise forces you to diagnose that and come up with a plan to overcome it, rather than just arbitrarily setting a lofty feel-good goal that is in, reality little more than a dream.
If you really want your career to take off, then try doing this at the end of every month. You will then be correcting your strategy and reassessing your goals 12X. This is what the elite do.
They tend to do it subconsciously, so imagine the possibilities if you were to do this on purpose.
This exercise and the clarity it brings will help you develop a work ethic that it is unparalleled. Couple that with a killer brand that leverages social media and is backed up by a stellar industry reputation and the world is yours.
As we call this year a wrap, I wanted to go over the strategy that was responsible for more success in the tribe than probably everything else combined.
It’s the concept of being a business.
Remember the industry is Show-Business, yet nearly all actors ignore the business part.
Here’s what I mean. You’re not an actor, you’re a product. This is the way the industry sees you, and it’s largely the reason that you will either be cast or passed over
When you think of a successful product, in any market, what made it succeed was that it filled a market need by solving a problem. This is true for food products, cars, and even actors.
So, if you are a product, and all successful products fill a market need and solve problems, wouldn’t it make sense that you consider what problem you’re solving.
You have to solve a problem the industry has and fill a need in the market if you want to be successful in the industry. You do this by being different.
Contrary to what everyone will tell you, you should never be in an audition room where you fit right in.
So, what market need are you filling?
If you can’t come up with an answer to that, then you’re in big trouble.
I’ve talked about Awkwafina a few times this year. She’s the Asian female rapper costarring in the upcoming Ocean’s 8, alongside a star-studded cast. This is a great example of a differentiator and unique angle.
Pitbull was one of the first guys to rap in a finely tailored suit, instead of Nike’s and a white T-Shirt that could pass for a parachute, and he rode that wave to become a worldwide phenomenon.
Kristin Bell’s career skyrocketed when she positioned herself as the only 20 something in the industry that could play a mature, 16 year old convincingly.
Here’s a good way to come up with your unique angle. Take out a notepad and list all of the special skills you have or skills that you can acquire.
Can you play guitar and do you have a knack for doing comedic song parodies? This was a big part of launching Adam Sandler.
Did you do Karate as a kid? Brushing up on your moves might also give you a great differentiator. Piper Perabo used this angle to resurrect her career with the hit show, Covert Affairs.
Once you figure out what your unique angle will be, then you have to become “that girl” or “that guy” that is synonymous with your angle.
Think of it like this: The Fat Jewish is basically a male Yenta and everybody knows him. He’s unhinged and has a big mouth, with no filter whatsoever.
For anyone who has succeeded in doing this, you could describe their unique angle to someone and they would instantly know who you were referring to.
It might go something like this: Who’s that big guy that says whatever he wants all over Instagram, has no filter and weird hair? “The Fat Jewish!”
Your unique angle should have the same effect. This is how you build an industry of one for yourself even if no one has heard of you yet. The trick to it is to get in front of as many people as possible and give them something they can’t forget.
There’s two ways to go about this. The hard way is to hope that someone finds you and likes you, then tells their friends about you, so on and so forth.
The smart way to do it is by design. I’m sure you would prefer that so here’s the shortcut.
I want to close out this year with my sincerest wish that you dominate next year and truly send your career soaring to new levels. I have enjoyed being here for you every week with new insights and effective strategies that have helped so many in our tribe achieve more than they previously dared to dream.
So Grasshopper, I challenge you to complete the exercises above and actually put this stuff to use.
After all, you only live once. What do you have to lose?
Remember that next year you will be another year gone. What will be different? Here’s an idea of something that you can do right now that will make all the difference.
The only constant in this life is change. And we can be sure that the industry landscape will be far different this time next year than it is today.
So, be sure to stay tuned to Boost My Star because we are your go to source for the side of the industry that no one else dares talk about.
I already have tons of great stuff planned for you in the coming year when I hope to…
See you at the top,
P.S. In case you want to get a head start on next year and make career progress while everyone else is knocking back eggnog, check this out.