I’ve been listening to one of my biggest influences Gary Vaynerchuk over the past few days. He comes back to two things again and again - and I thought I’d share them with you because they are absolutely essential for actors.
If you’re going to have a success in business - in our case, the acting business, you’ll need the Passion to get there and the Patient to wait until it blows up for you.
This is a long game. It may be a year, or two or ten. But you have to spend your time preparing. Staying ready. Because it won’t come when YOU’RE ready. It will come when it comes.
You need the passion, you gotta keep that spark alive inside you 24/7 until it comes. And you’ve got to have the patience to know that it may be 10 years away.
Too many actors I have known, give it a year, give it two - but in the end, they give up. A fucking YEAR? Which professional musician, or writer or pro-sports player - would give it a year? It's a life of dedication and commitment for these professionals, what kind of dilettantes does that make us? A Year.
This is the most competitive industry in the world. And you expect it to come to you? In a few years? I’m sorry, you’re deluding yourself.
I understand though - people feel the pressure to succeed within 6 months, a year, or two. To please other people, or to put food on the table. And there will always be people who are just in it because it's cool, or it would be a nice thing to do.
Look, you’re in the same position as everyone else who is acting, and waiting tables, and driving Uber and delivering pizza. You’ve got the same 24 hours in your day as everybody else. It’s up to you if you spend 8 of them auditioning and 8 of them working at Wendys.
But people are like, but Mark, I've got a headshot and I'm on Spotlight, and I'm just finishing my showreel. Why hasn't it happened for me yet? Guys! That's the minimum, that's just owning a pair of boots, it's not even stepping onto the pich to play a game. These things are just industry requirements - that doesn't mean you have rights at all.
And yet there's lucky people who get plucked from drama school and straight into work - yes, but if you're complaining about THAT, you aren't one of them - so forget other people's success, you have to focus on your own.
I see very capable people give up all the time. Because they don’t have the heart for it. If they did, they couldn’t quit.
They don’t really have the passion for it. And they will tell themselves the same bullshit everybody else does. It’s was a very hard job. There’s no work. It’s who you know… Any excuse to quit.
Well, welcome to the life of an actor - it was the same for those you now admire - they had the same odds and waited the same tables - but they didn’t let it beat them.
Listen, you've got to keep you fire stoked, you've got to keep that passion going, and at the same time, you've got to be cool with patience, because it's out there, there is a role for you, you will break out, but you're going to have to work your balls off morning, noon and night, not sit around and wait for it to come to you.
Mark Westbrook is the Course Leader of the epic full time acting course at Acting Coach Scotland.