What the Bleep Do 'They' Know!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013
One of the reasons that Jodie Bentley and I started The Savvy Actor was to empower actors to make their own decisions based on their own individual goals. Over the last year and a half we've given seminars on marketing, branding, social networking, etc. At each of these seminars, the proverbial "They" enters the conversation. Someone will raise their hand and say: "Well, "They" say you should or shouldn't (Fill in the blank)." The "They", from our experience, is often the source holding our clients back and actually preventing them from taking action that will move their careers forward. Thinking about what "They" want makes actors feel powerless.
Let's look at this closer. First of all, who are "They"? And are "They" always 100% right? There are no absolutes in our business because it is subjective; and because of that, the information "They" give often times conflicts! How can we as actors run our own business doing what "They" want, when what it is "They" want is typically not inconsistent? Especially when you, the business owner, need to make decisions based on what's best for your individual and unique business. We need to realize that each casting office and agency has their own ways of doing business because it is what works for them.
So, that being the case, where should you look for guidance in how you run your business? Well let's start with you. How do you want to conduct your business? What is your comfort level in asking for help? What types of things are you willing to do? What are you not willing to do? What are your hours? How do you handle social networking? These are all things you have to decipher for yourself and your business.
What opportunities can you create for yourself? (Here's a hint... they're everywhere.)

One of my clients produced his New York college showcase. He sent out invitations to casting directors and agents. The following week he did what "They" say you shouldn't do, and called the agents and casting directors personally to make sure they received the packet and to see if they would be able to attend. Some said yes, some said maybe, and some said no. One agent said no, but asked him to come in for an interview the following week. He did and ended up booking his first commercial through that agent...a BIG agency AND a national spot! He didn't listen to the advice of "They". He listened to his instincts for guidance and created a great business opportunity for himself.
Remember you're really in the sales business, ie. promoting a unique product. Your potential clients are casting directors, producers, directors and agents and you need to convince and persuade them that you are the best solution to their casting problem. You may not be exactly what they need at a given time, but after several auditions they'll trust in you and what you bring to the table. That's why we talk A LOT about brand and the "brand promise." There are no rules on how to get an audition. As a matter of fact the only "They" rule you really need to follow is to respect other people and their time. Do what is right for you and your business, but be professional and respect others. This means not texting, emailing, or calling cell phones out of business hours. It doesn't mean don't stop by, it means be respectful if you do. Really, it's because of some actors lack of respect that all these "They" rules (like no phone calls or drop bys, etc.) were created.
So it boils down to - When guiding your career, make your own decisions. Now I'm not saying to ignore the "They" completely (that's part of our market research) nor that you're going to know exactly what to do every time (that's where we can help you fine tune your strategy.) But it is important that you conduct your business in a way that resonates naturally from you and is respectful to others.


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