The other day, one of my favorite clients came in to have a chat. When he sat down, I could tell right away that something was wrong. Brandon looked like he was on the verge of tears. This surprised me because he's a handsome guy in his 30s who reeks of confidence. So I asked what was wrong. Brandon explained that after testing on five pilots and not booking a single one, he was exhausted and unsure about his future.
Now here's the thing about this guy. He's not a drama queen. When Brandon says he's in a bad place, I know he means it. By reaching out to me, my client was asking for support, words of wisdom that might help him get back on track.
So I leaned forward and said, "Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place, and I don't care how tough you are -- it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard you hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done!"
Those words sparked something in his eyes. Brandon smiled and promised to stay focused. When he left, my client felt better about the future. And that's a good thing for both of us.
Did those words move you, too? If they did, thank Sylvester Stallone. He wrote them. They're from "Rocky Balboa."
I've always turned to the movies for advice and inspiration. I wish more actors would do the same. You've chosen a difficult career and what better place to find words of wisdom than the movies you dream about being in?
Secret Agent Man isn't a big fan of chick flicks, but I did enjoy "Eat Pray Love" in my own masculine way. Richard Jenkins is in it, and his character has a line that really hit home for me: "If you want to get to the castle, you've got to swim the moat." No truer words have ever been spoken. I constantly meet actors who love to whine about how tough it is to get an agent and how hard it is to get in the union and a million other things. Well, guess what. You chose this path. That means you have to deal with the hardships that stand between you and success. That's how the game is played. So jump in the damn moat and start swimming!
There's another great line in an old Woody Allen film called "The Purple Rose of Cairo." It's about a character in a movie who steps down from the screen and enters the real world. While he's out having fun with Mia Farrow, the characters he left behind are stuck with nothing to do. Frustrated, one of them says, "I'm bored with sitting around. I'm a dramatic character. I need forward motion."
I want you to think of yourself as the star of your own movie. That means you have to make strong choices that move the story forward. So be bold; take chances. Produce your own web series. Start a theater company. Act like a hero who ain't afraid of anything. That's the only way to catch a break in this industry.
Every actor gets confused and scared. It's natural. So when you're worried about your career and where it's going, I want you to remember what Steve Martin said to Kevin Kline in "Grand Canyon": "That's part of your problem -- you haven't seen enough movies. All of life's riddles are answered in the movies."