Stay tuned for Sunday's video about how to finance your acting career and your next star-making project!
A Love Letter To My Fellow Artists - Part II
So I started these newsletters to begin a conversation with my fellow actors, writers, producers about how to survive this business. Roz Coleman was and is my coach (AKA Yoda) for many years and her question to me was,
"Right, I know so and so booked this and you weren't called in for that, but what are you doing?"
She told me I wasn't using what I knew, but pretending I didn't know how to figure it out. So I followed her advice and just started with what I knew and trusted that I'd learn the rest along the way.
I produced my own solo show, Liberty City, but boy was it hard and I screwed up big time and often. I also raised $100K to produce, write and act in my new play Good Bread Alley. But when I looked for other artist/producers, I was left with 2 people who really knew how to self-produce. That's crazy. Especially, when you think of all the countless articles online, on talk shows, on social media about there are no images of women or Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Gay folks...etc...
I'll tell you why, because we're all so busy complaining that we never see our stories, yet very few of us are learning the business of show business. If we were, we wouldn't have time to complain, we'd be living in Shondaland....LOL.. . We're still waiting to be discovered or yelling at someone else because they're not telling the story of us the way we thing it should be told. We're waiting to be hired. Waiting for someone to care enough about the kinds of stories we want to tell, to hire us to be in the story that they are producing. We're waiting to be needed and affirmed. What we're missing is all that juicy fear, ambition, desire, sensitivity and scattered genius that lives inside of you. Those are your gifts that must be shared with the world by any means necessary.
No revolutionary or groundbreaking work ever came out of someone giving an artist exactly what they want. It came out of a need, an absolute need to create an artist's life and be fulfilled by what one has made. Brangelina did it. George Clooney did it. They were told they were just pretty faces. They were told, here get on this crappy sitcom for 15 years. (George Clooney actually did at least 30 failed sitcoms) before he started producing stories that moved him. Brad Pitt was destined to be a not-so-good actor who was very pretty for the rest of his life. No one knew he could act until he started playing characters and then things really got interesting. No one handed Angelina a meaty role until she played a complicated character completely against her glamourous type and won an Oscar. Success was in the scruffy girl with tats. Her soul understood that when the business didn't. And even though these people are successful now, they didn't get successful until they pursued work that was beyond what their agents/managers thought was their "type." Their careers took off when they formed production companies and started directing, acting and producing their own stories.
So I blog and answer questions because I want you to learn what Brangalina knows. I want you to not have to stumble around in the dark for 10 years auditioning for minor roles and feeling unsatisfied even if you book them. I want to make you aware of how much power you have. You have a great deal. Artists are returning to the model of the 19th Century actor. Sarah Bernhardt was actor, director, road manager and producer. With the internet at our fingertips for free, you can become your own TV show, indie film, web series franchise. Netflix, Amazon, HBO, Showtime, exists to give self-producing artists a break because those networks exist to program what primetime isn't: YOU. Seven Faces of Tara created by a blogger, Girls creator Lena Dunham wrote, directed and starred in her own low budget film at Sundance, next she had her own TV show. Issa Rae wrote/produced/starred in at least 20 webseries and the network came to her. Brit Marling was playing the girl next door sidekick until she wrote/starred/produced Another Earth and The East, a political thriller where she plays a serious bad ass. If you haven't seen this work, go online and see it now. These artists are kicking ass and taking names. You can, too and I want to show you what I've learned by following in their very big footsteps.
Click Here to learn the 90 min Secret to Booking More Auditions
April Yvette Thompson