Who is your favorite actor? Can you tell me what it is about them that makes you like them? Is it their look, their acting style, or the projects they choose to do?
Now–ask these same questions to your neighbor. This neighbor doesn’t have to be anyone who works in the entertainment industry. In fact, the answers are infinitely more interesting when they don’t. Did they answer the same as you, or are you shocked and appalled? (You like Dane Cook’s acting technique…huh?)
The reason for the difference is because you’re using a different set of metrics to decide what is good or bad. Each person has a different set of standards–that’s why if you ask ten different people these questions you’ll get ten different answers. This same concept applies to advice given as well. Ask ten different experts how you should format your acting resume and you’ll likely get ten different answers.
Well…what is the RIGHT answer? And who are you supposed to listen to?
That is the question of the day. There has traditionally been an sense of indignity towards actors because many people don’t understand the acting process. The same applies to filmmakers, artists, and just about anyone in the creative industries. The standards that the Creatives use to judge work is not the same that the general public does.
So how do you fix it? Start off by finding someone you trust. Find a mentor, someone who has worked in the industry and has had some degree of success (whether commercially or artistically is up to you). What is it that made them successful? What sort of things do they look for when they judge success? Find other people that fit your mentor’s model for success and ask them the same questions. Chances are you’re going to find that the successful people are using the same four or five items to judge success. Find out what they are and Voila! You now have your set of metrics for creative success.
Follow your model so you can be successful, then become a mentor for someone else so you can pass that model on. Eventually the metrics for success in the entertainment industry will get passed on to the general public, and we won’t have to watch Dane Cook giving any acceptance speeches. 🙂