You are burning to be discovered. You have loads of talent, desire, and drive. You’ve prepared- you’ve taken great headshots and have a few decent clips on your reel. And you’ve been doing the work. You’ve sacrificed. You love it so much and you want it bad. You just want to know how to get the Industry to see you. To give you a chance. To hire you. And… be paid for it. You’re willing to do everything and anything.
Are you? And do you even know what that is?!
You might believe in the story of getting discovered “at Schwab’s.” Or at the restaurant where you work, at a party, introduced by someone who knows someone- just being in the right place at the right time. And sure, that happens. Serendipity. Timing. Luck. But… you have to be ready when that moment happens. And, more importantly, you have to make your own luck. It takes hard work for a very long time. Doing it wherever and whenever you can. And for however long it takes. Luck isn’t magic; it’s work. It’s doing readings and theatre and class and student films and friends’ shorts. It’s putting in more than 10,000 hours (Malcolm Gladwell). It’s the intense commitment to doing what you love because you must, because it’s a calling, because you can’t live without it. It may take 5 years; it may take 25 before anybody even pays you. But you have to be willing to drown yourself in it until the moment of discovery presents itself. And by the way, that moment will show up very differently from what you might expect. It will be earned. It will be inevitable. It won’t be remarkable. You may not even notice.
When the time does come, there will be fast highs and deep lows. But mostly there will be plateaus. The same plateau you’re currently sustaining. That’s when it counts; that’s when you must maintain- finding the fortitude, the stamina, the inspiration to stick with it no matter what. Giving up just isn’t an option. You are in this for the long haul. That long-haul mindset will support you, so that when each opportunity presents itself, you’re ready. And when you’re in it, you can persevere.
I used to scout comics for HBO (early 80s, gasp) in dark, dank comedy clubs, from Philadelphia to San Francisco, watching comedians tough it out, trying to find their voice and their audience, night after night, year after year. And then there came that moment… when a comedian hit. When it all came together, all the jokes and beer sweat and late nights culminating in that one hot set, when there happened to be a TV scout or exec in the house who witnessed the moment, and a career was born. I came to understand that these moments of discovery happened because that comic was ready. It may have taken years, but those (lean) years of absolute commitment (bordering on obsession) and toil (hundreds of midnight shows) shaped that unformed talent. Discovery happens when you do that work, when you’re beyond ready. And if you’re not ready, it will probably be a failed meeting of talent and opportunity.
Making your own luck is making your own opportunity, which also means making your own work. A comic writes and tries out material. But an actor often waits. There can be no waiting. Opportunity depends on your willingness to put yourself out there. You have to get directly in the eyeline of the Industry, creating work and being a part of other people creating work, so that you get seen. Simple as that. Not easy, but absolute. Here are some more thoughts on that: How To Get Casting Directors To Find You and How To Be A Working Actor.
By creating, you’re readying yourself for the time when that role comes along. You’re already deep in the work, you’ve got it down. People in the Industry see you as proactive with the ability to self-sustain, as a creator, as a pro, which is hugely attractive. Bonus, you’re a happy actor. Bonus, your reel is built.
At The BGB Studio, we see lots of actors take their careers into their own hands. They get together and make work. They take their short films to festivals all over the world. They keep creating content. They rise up. They show up as artistic leaders. They’re whole artists. Their careers emerge; they are discovered.
So, if you want to ensure being discovered, you have to build a rock solid foundation and keep working at it- every which way you can- until your discovery is inevitable, even fated. You discover yourself in the work each and every day and then you open the door for others to find you, hitting your stride on that comedy club stage, and kicking ass.
Discover what you’re capable of in class with us here at The BGB Studio.