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Friday, 17 August 2012

No Shortcuts

I don't know why you'd want success now, because what would it mean? You think getting discovered is your golden ticket?

Most of the great actors I know personally, sucked ten years ago. Many of the ones who were good ten years ago are no longer acting, because they were too bitter to last. They thought their talent entitled them to success.

You can be the fastest man in the world, but you won't break the 100m Olympic Record without years of gruelling training. It takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice to be the best you can be. Did you see 'Senna'? Talent isn't enough. You need to know the system. You need to work through your mistakes and limitations.

If you're a struggling writer or actor, or in fact any artist at all, it's to be expected, even when you're many years down the road. Moan because you're tired, cry because you can't afford to eat, but don't ever allow yourself to think you're entitled to anything.

If someone is consistently working, if they're earning the money, you can be almost certain they've earned it. You may think you've earned it too, but have you really? When people moan about how hard done by they've been, I never want to work with them; because they assume they've had it worse than you. They don't realise everyone else has been through it ten times over.

I meet a lot of actors who are two or three years out of drama school, and they're outraged that nobody wants to pay them to act. They look down upon the student productions. Meanwhile there are other actors, nine years out of drama school, who shot two hundred student films. And guess what, 198 sucked, but one of them had a great director and another one had a runner who knew a guy who is related to a producer who is casting a massive movie... and that's how it worked out. The point of the story isn't that you luckily meet the right people, it's that it takes 200 projects.

No-one I knows who moans about lack of opportunities has honed their talent enough to deserve being hugely successful. Myself included! But I've made peace with the fact that it's a gradual process. I went through years of steady progress that to an outsider, looked like nothingness. But there I was, my development steadily growing day by day until eventually, it was useful in some way, it meant something to people. You need to have a track record. You need to find your niche. You need longevity.

There are no shortcuts. And if you find one, don't forget to keep learning along the way. Trust in the process of steady advancement.

Talent is easy, style is quickly learnt. Heart and substance take years to form. But they only form when you work on them. You have to turn up at the running track. You have to know your vehicle inside out.

You need to be an artist.

Care to share?


  1. These posts always seem to come at a time when I feel I need to hear these words. I'm battling daily with ways to pursue the things I want and this is an eye opener. I need to put more work in and stay hungry.

    I saw a video last night that felt like something I could have done. Even the style of the edit felt like something I did in 2007 and had just as much heart. It made me feel like I'd lost my passion, while watching someone else find theirs.