If someone suggests that they have the blueprint for your success, I’d ask them why they weren’t following it themselves and calling you from Hollywood. The truth is that no one has the secret to success. But with so many people out there desperate to find success, there’s plenty of people that will sell you a plan for acting success.
It may not be the actual formula for success, but I really like Fort Minor’s Formula for Success in his song Remember the Name.
In acting, people are always talking about whether you need luck, whether you need training, how much does talent impact, what role is patience, what role is commitment, should you give up when it stops being fun?
Well, Fort Minor’s Mike Shinoda breaks down what he thinks it takes to achieve success. And from my reading of the lyrics, it seems to fit acting just as well.
Of course there is an element of luck within being successful. However, as it has been said many times by other people, it’s amazing how lucky you get when you work your ass off. When you put in the work, the chances of luck taking your side improves. It may only be 10%, but luck plays a role, a small one, but a necessary edge. And it’s an edge you can build of yourself.
It’s not everything, but without skill, without the application of ability to technique, you tend to guess. Some people don’t train, but most do. Those that don’t train tend to learn through trial and error, which is a more painful process for all, but it is a way that people develop the tools and habits of professional acting work.
15% (Concentrated) Power of Will
Focused motivation is another essential element of success. Losing focus can easily have us pouring our energies into the wrong places. And without motivation, the fuel to do something, we tend to run out of steam. Building a successful career in acting requires great patience and that requires the concentrated power of motivation to keep you going in the face of perceived rejection, disappointment and long gaps without acting work or auditions.
Many times people I know have given up acting or actor training because “it’s not fun anymore”. Well, the truth is that Mike Shinoda says that there’s about 5% pleasure in the process of becoming successful. 5%. If you expect it to be all fun and candy floss, it isn’t happening. Actually, to be honest, if you are doing it because you want it to feel good, it probably won’t. It’s work, and work is tough. Yes, it can be incredibly rewarding and fun, but it will be the minority.
Because most of what being successful in the arts is fucking hard work. And that hurts. It’s pain and it hurts. And most people can’t endure the pain, and I don’t blame them. Because who wants to endure the pain? But Shinoda suggests that 50% of the game of being successful is enduring the pain to get to success. In acting the pain is all around us, and we have to toughen up and do that without losing our sensitivity - which is hugely important.
Listen to the song on YouTube by clicking above.
Give the song a listen, it will remind you of the graft and grind that you’re going to have to get through, if you want the success you deserve and I hope it inspires you to get going through the pain too!
TO YOU, THE BEST
Mark Westbrook is an Acting Coach based in Glasgow, Scotland.