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The 7 Big Steps Of Show Biz Success

Mar 22, 2008
This week I'd like to pass along some words of wisdom from seven very sharp people who have all made their way up the ladder of Show Biz success by following their own advice (and probably the advice of each of the others).

First up is George Burns who made his living in Show Business for about 85 years (not a bad run), who reminds us of the first law of success in this timeless classic:

"I'd rather be a failure at something I love than a success at something I hate." George Burns

This is crucial: You must love what you are doing if you ever hope to be successful at it. About 97.6% (Fake Statistics R Us) of actors do not have a problem here.

We all love it.

Next in the pantheon is Will Rogers, who is probably the most beloved American entertainer of all time. With his inimitable Oklahoma twang, he reminded us that loving it was not quite enough, all by itself. You also had to do something about it.

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." Will Rogers

Like all great remarks, this one cuts right to the heart of most career problems. I don't think I'm talking out of school when I suggest that most of us (actors) have a big streak of lazy. That is something we all have to work to overcome -- if we want the big brass ring. I know I did.

This third bit of advice comes from Uncle Miltie (The Man Who Made Television). Milton Berle spent his whole life in show biz (his mother started taking him to auditions before he could walk) and he imparts another critical factor -- a big piece of the puzzle:

"I'd rather be a could-be if I cannot be an are; because a could-be is a maybe who is reaching for a star. I'd rather be a has-been than a might-have-been by far; for a might- have-been has never been, but a has-been was once an are." Milton Berle

This is about sticking to it.

If you think putting a time limit on realizing your dream is a good tactic, Uncle Miltie cleverly tries to convince you that you are taking a step up ... on the wrong ladder.

But then there is this brilliant bon mot from the typewriter of the great playwright, author and screenwriter, Ben Hecht.

"Time is a circus ... always packing up and moving away." Ben Hecht

Oh, yes, it goes very quickly - so the sooner you get started the better off you are. Don't let the grass grow where you're standing. Do something right now. Well, finish reading, then do something. Time is moving away.

Now, comes one of my favorites of all time -- from one of the classiest of the classic movie stars:

"Do your job and demand your compensation, but in that order." Cary Grant

I love the fact that Cary Grant calls it a job and then he ties it immediately to the money.

For most of us, that is really the ultimate goal - acting for a paycheck. Keep that in mind every morning when you wake up.

BTW, complaining that it's hard won't make it easier. Making money will start to happen when you decide that's what you want -and channel all your efforts in that direction. Getting paid to act is a big step up ... on the right ladder.

If you are willing to learn from a school teacher, here's one who became famous as a humorist some 50 years ago, who wrote books and was a regular presence on early TV:

"You must learn from the mistakes of others. You cannot possibly live long enough to make them all yourself." Sam Levenson

What this means in simple terms is read books, watch biographies, make an effort to find out how others have succeeded - then "copy" their successful strategies while trying to avoid the pitfalls they stumbled upon before you came along.

The great thing about doing this part yourself is that you will only "copy" those methods that fit with your desires and needs. You won't be in the position of having to accept someone else's version of success. You can customize your plan for your own comfort level.

And this is my favorite exhortation by one of the great humorists and writers of more contemporary times:

"Contrary to popular opinion, the hustle is not a new dance step ... it is an old business procedure." Fran Lebowitz

Listen to Fran. Show Business is an old business. It's a darn good idea to use those old business procedures to succeed at it.

Hustle.

Love it.

Work it.

Just Do It.

Try, try again.

Hey, I got a million of 'em.
About the Author
Bob Fraser is an actor, writer, director and producer whose acting career courses are in use by 1000's of actors all ove r the world. http://www.youmustact.com
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