Golden Nuggets

A very valuable resource and mentor in my transition to my acting career has been Kristine Oller.  I’ve written about Kristine before and the guidance she’s given me has been so invaluable.  She’s the kind of advisor that doesn’t tell you what to do, she helps you lead yourself to what you want to accomplish and where you need to go.  Networking is a big part of her success formula and it’s an element that so many creatives overlook.  They think that if they do good work, the world will come knocking at their door.  Why wouldn’t it?

Well it’s not that easy.  I share Kristine’s fantasy that when I go to an event the cool group with all the mojo will take me under their wings, introduce me to the people that will catapult me to the stratosphere of my career and give me all their client contacts.  <SIGH>  It just doesn’t happen that way unfortunately.  It’s work to get to know people.  You have to put yourself out there.  Make connections with folks.  Having been in sales for so long I’m very comfortable at meeting people and making acquaintances.  And I’m great at selling someone else or their product.  But when it comes to selling myself, the wheels come off the bus.  I had the same problem when asking for a raise but that’s a topic for another day.  One of the things Kristine taught me was her Golden Nugget game.  She says that when you go to a party or an event, she tells herself there is someone there with a golden nugget of information for her and she has a golden nugget of information for someone else.  She doesn’t know who she’s giving it to or who she’s receiving it from or even what the information is but she just knows it’s her job at that moment to find the giver and the recipient.  This helps take the pressure off of that first face to face meeting and the awkwardness that ensues.

Keeping this thought in the back of my brain has really helped elevate my encounters with people.  Sometimes I give out more than one golden nugget and others I get far more than I give.  It really makes an evening enjoyable and takes the strain away from connecting with people.  I’m still hoping for that elusive E ticket to the top, but while I’m waiting, this makes the A, B, C and D tickets so much more fun!

Ain’t too proud…

Not to beg as the song intones.  But recently I’ve been hired by a fellow voice talent to direct him on several long form projects.  For those not in the Voiceover business, long form in narration could be anything from an audiobook to e-learning to a documentary.  These scripts can be very dense and very often contain complicated language.  Usually the project needs to be sent to the client in an edited form with all the correct pronunciations.  Another set of ears on the audio and eyes on the script allow fixes to be made right away, eliminating the need to go back and insert a fix, all the while trying to match the sound and flow of the original recording.  It’s much easier and better to correct as you go.

Anywho, Bob Souer is the voice talent who hired me.  In the midst of this big project he was being interviewed by Kristine Oller for one of her wonderful coffee date interviews.  His VO business has grown so much he’s had to reach out for help and I was fortunate to be the one he contacted.  He was telling me about the call and said that while he talked about the assistance I was providing, he’d kept my identity anonymous.  His reason for doing this was he wasn’t sure if I wanted everyone to know I was directing him.  While I appreciated him protecting my privacy, my thought was I have no problem with people knowing I was working for him.  I am a big believer in there is dignity in any work and if I can help a fellow VO meet a tight deadline, I’m more than happy to do so.  Besides I’m learning a lot, not just about the stuff he’s recording, but also how he records and tells the story.  And he is paying me for my time.  We used to say in my former television sales life when a piece of biz would come in from a less than marquee client, that their money was as green as everyone else’s.  It spends and saves the same way.

Do I want to do this all the time?  No, that wasn’t my purpose in leaving full time corporate work to pursue a freelance creative life.  But part of that freelance life is that work will come from many different sources at different times.  That’s the exciting part.  And if part of my work comes from directing and not performing, that’s perfectly fine with me.  I’m not too proud to accept that work.  Actors who direct always get better as actors.  This serves my learning process as well as serving my financial process.  In your quest to create a new business life for yourself, don’t overlook adjunct ways to earn and learn that push your  success even further.  Be wise in how your spend your time as it is a limited resource but don’t let pride get in the way of a good experience.

Closed fist/Open hand

As I mentioned the other day, I was talking with my career coach Kristine Oller about my transition from full time j-o-b to full time artist and she mentioned that so many times in counseling people  in this particular aspect of their career, they hold on so tightly to what they know that won’t let go until they have a for-certain guarantee that what they are going towards will be successful.  They won’t let go of the past until they are sure of the future.  Which of course can never happen.  We can never be sure of the future.  Life is full of twists and turns that can’t be predicted.  I was in that exact same spot.  I wanted to make sure I had every base covered, every potential pitfall considered, every monetary need accounted for.  And on top of that I wanted an absolute sign that I was doing the right thing.  I wasn’t asking for much right?

The image that kept coming to mind was the one in Raiders of the Lost Ark where Indiana had to cross an uncross-able ravine.  There was no bridge that he could see.  He closed his eyes and stepped out, fully expecting to plummet to the bottom but instead his foot hit solid rock.  There was a bridge only it was disguised so his eyes didn’t see it.

I realized I had to let go.  I had to unclench my fist from the past so my hand could be open to receive what the future was offering.  Letting go is easier said than done but it is necessary to move forward.  Otherwise you’ll always have one foot in the past not moving you forward.  Let go a little and see what the universe brings to you.

29 months

As I’ve been known to say, Holy Macaroley.  I was talking the other day with my career coach, Kristine Oller , whom I’ve been working with for a while.  I started with her when I wasn’t happy with the way my acting career was progressing and some of the things I’d heard her say at a conference really resonated.  As they say, when the student is ready, the teacher appears.  So I contacted her and on my next visit to Los Angeles sat down with her.  Her forte is organizing but one of the things she said that struck a chord with me is her favorite space to organize is the mind.  That really hit me.  I felt so helter skelter in my career planning.  I was going at fits and starts and really not gaining any traction.  It was at that first meeting that we started to map out the transition I could make from full time day job/part time actor to full time actor.  That day was was pivotal to me as it was the first day I really considered acting as a full time career.  It was the first time I’d allowed myself to entertain even the possibility of giving up the career I had worked at for over 2 decades to take on a new challenge.  Over the months that ensued, she and I reviewed my progress and set new targets for the next steps to take.  That arrangement continues to this day.

But purpose of our conversation on this particular date was a coffee date she was recording for her new venture and she wanted me to tell my story for those that were contemplating the switch to a full time creative.  In her introduction she mentioned that we’d begun working together in October 2007.  That stopped me cold.  We had only been working together for 29 months.  29 MONTHS! I couldn’t believe how far I’ve come in so short a time.  I was amazed at my progress.  All too often I bemoan the fact that this or that hasn’t happened and certainly nothing was happening at a pace that was fast enough for me.  I am so grateful Kristine happened to mention that date.  If she hadn’t I wouldn’t have taken the time to look back and see how far I’ve come.  I know I have so very far to go but I am so encouraged by my progress. And proud of myself.  Who knew I had it in me?!!  And who knows what lies around the corner?