To be productive, you need to be proactive.
But I had not really understood that before. Drama school doesn’t teach you the “business” side of acting. And without a certain business acumen, can you really be an actor – or rather a working one?
I am not going to put the blame on them though, because they do not market themselves as acting and business school. There main role is to develop our acting skills and help us get to professional standards. However, I do think they should tell you that being an actor is like running a small business; just so that actors connect the dots once they come fresh out of the protective cocoon that is drama school.
Anyway, now I finally know (and it took me a good 3/4 years! Yes, I’m a bit slow sometimes :/) and I’m working to do what’s needed. And you know what? I actually find it fun!
I enjoy networking, I enjoy raising my public profile through Twitter, Facebook, this blog (amongst other things that are needed).
I went to a lovely networking do yesterday, organised by UK Actors Tweetup and met some great people. And I learnt! I learnt new stuff, that can prove useful for me in the future. And I shared things I know, that can help them in the future. And I think this is a very important part of being proactive: listening and sharing.
Listening to people who have more experience or a different career path.
Sharing what you know with others.
This is just applying what we do on set/stage to what we do when we network, really. Because our job is all about listening. And sharing.
Today, I met with my “networking buddy” Louise McConnell (she is on wordpress too, check her out!), and had a lengthy exciting chat, about acting but also about the other things we do. And it felt very nice and stimulating to spend time with a fellow actor who is roughly at the same place as I am career-wise.
I had been told in the past (and not just once!) that it is very important for actors not isolate themselves, to spend time with other industry people (and not just on a job). But at the time, do you think I listened? Oh no, I was so much smarter than everybody else, I was gonna do it my way!!!
Boy, was I stupid!
Creative people cannot create if they’re alone on their corner. They need to interact. With the world, with others (preferably who are creative too, to get the creative “juice” flowing!) Ah, it’s a bit like a play I was in last week: Small Hadron Collider (by Thomas Crowe). The writer was exploring the possibility of the existence of Quantum Drama. In Quantum physics, we talk about the particles colliding, interacting with one another. Well, we are those particles, and if we want to create, to produce something new, we need to collide.
And to collide, we need to get out of the comfort of our house and be proactive!