If you consider yourself either an artist or an entrepreneur (and I’d argue ALL artists are in fact entrepreneurs), chances are you have a strain of rugged individualism that is simultaneously helping you and seriously fucking you up.
As an actor, you are your business. We’ve heard that a million times. But maybe try thinking of yourself as a CEO rather than a sole proprietor. Nobody achieves greatness by themselves. Anyone who tells you they have is lying. (Why do you think all those Tony Award speeches are so damn long?!)
And if there’s one thing I’ve learned about musical theatre actors, it’s that they simply cannot resist a good sports metaphor. (Boy, do I know my target demographic!) So, without any further ado, here are the four people you need in your franchise to transform your career from Bad New Bears to Damn Yankees!
1. Fellow Players – This seems pretty obvious, right? You’re probably thinking, “Check! All my friends are actors.” But not so fast—think harder. How many friends do you have within your field that you don’t feel you are in competition with? Friends who are on the SAME team as you. Your successes are their successes, and your losses are their losses.
These friends are going to be your accountabilibuddies. They will hold you to your word and be tough on you when necessary. You will train together. This is the friend who says, “I’m going to ballet at nine-thirty tomorrow, and you’d BETTER be there.” This is the friend you email at one in the morning because you just found the breakdown they’re PERFECT for.
Not all of your friends are going to fall into this category. And that’s totally okay! You can only have so many players on the field at a given time anyway. Let’s take a look at some of those off the field colleagues shall we?
2. The Trusty Coach
These can be our mentors, teachers, agents, managers, and sometimes literal coaches. These are the people whose judgement we trust and who often have a better view of the field than we do, because they aren’t smack dab in the middle of it. I’m very excited to be receiving a coaching tomorrow morning from show biz guru Melissa Robinette, the founder of The Biz of Show. As a professional audition rep coach, I don’t think I’ve ever been more scared/excited for someone to look inside my audition book. What is that expression about the shoemaker’s children…?
Moving right along!
3. Rival Teams
Don’t worry, guys. I’m not talking a Sharks and Jets level of rivalry here. More like a Beatles vs. Beach Boys kind of thing. I’m talking about those people in your life that make you want to step up your game. The people who fuel that competitive side of you that try not to show.
That girl. The one in the front row of the dance call. See her? She’s the one who managed to make those fouttes look character-motivated.
It’s time to get back into class…
True, these people are not part of our franchise. They are quite literally our competition. But if we can start to view them as allies of sorts, I think we’re all far less likely to burn out and go crazy. We are only as good as our competition drives us to be. And, my God, the competition is good…
Starting to feel overwhelmed? Let’s get off the field for a moment and talk about:
4. The Fans
These are the people who will probably never come out onto the field, and yet, they are the sole reason the ballpark stays open.
They are our parents, our grandparents, our elementary school music teachers, our romantic partners. They believe in us when we don’t even believe in ourselves. They are as fanatical and irrational in their belief as a Chicago Cubs fan. And we love them for that.
You know who this person is for you. Call them.
And, for God’s sake, don’t forget them in your Tony Awards speech!