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Secret Agent Man

The No. 1 Thing to Focus on This Holiday Season

The No. 1 Thing to Focus on This Holiday Season
Photo Source: Spencer Alexander

My lovely editor in New York pointed out that the personality in these columns tends to change during the year, going from hopeful in January to hard-boiled cynicism after pilot season to positively cheery right around the holidays. I guess that reflects the passing of the seasons in Talent Agent Land. And I cannot begin to tell you how thrilled I am that it’s Christmastime.

The holidays are a break from the heartbreaks that consume our professional lives. This is a time to let it all go so we can recharge our mental batteries. Because let’s face it: Everyone who works in the entertainment industry is playing a game where the odds are long and the risks are great. It doesn’t matter if you’re an agent or an actor, this business can grind you down. It’s hard to be Tony Robbins when the industry is constantly hitting you with sucker punches. But that’s the nature of life, isn’t it?

I believe the key to getting ahead is perseverance and staying positive.

So much of success is based on outlasting the competition and not losing your mind while waiting. I know a lot of agents who changed careers after their first few years on the job. But I’m still here. I never picked up my chips and left the table. Deep down, I always understood that I was standing exactly where I was supposed to be.

This is also true for many of the successful actors I’ve represented over the years. They all knew how to play the long game. They stayed in class and kept working hard, knowing opportunities can pop up when you least expect them. 

Having a positive outlook is also extremely important. Every time a deal goes bad or a client leaves, I deal with it by shifting my focus to the future. Because you know what? There’s always another deal or another client right around the corner.

Successful actors understand this. They know how to stay positive and appreciate every success, no matter how small, while they focus on the future. They’ve learned that banging your head against a wall doesn’t accomplish anything, it just gives you a major headache.

You might look back at 2017 and feel it was a total bust. You tried to get an agent and failed. You only went out on six real auditions and none of them led to a job. And worst of all, you can honestly say that you gained zero ground during the last 12 months.

Well, you need to end the year by looking at all of that from a different perspective. You tried. That’s more than most actors. You took the punches, you got knocked down, and you kept getting up. So be proud of that. 

Now feel free to take the next two weeks off. There’s no need to make plans for the new year. There will be plenty of time for that in January. Instead, surround yourself with loved ones. Enjoy the downtime. Try to be happy. The industry will still be here when you’re done. 

Robert Frost once said, “In three words, I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: It goes on.”

I wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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