Surround Yourself with Greatness
Surround yourself with greatness. It's one of the biggest keys to your success in the industry, 2nd to having talent. But since you're all here on ForTalent you obviously have the latter, so bravo; let's talk about how to Surround Yourself with Greatness and what it means to really network.
But first, a story from my own life. Years ago I was working on a television show that we won't name here on ForTalent. There's this wonderful class system/rank structure that's blatantly obvious even to blind men when you're on the set of a television gig. It's the system of (trumpet horns blow): union status. It's clear as day, noticeable and in-your-face obvious who's union and who's not. They may as well draw a white chalk line down one side of the street and say, "OK, union to the left, Non-union to the right side" ... wait!!! Most times they do! ... any-who, I digress.
Side note: The food is so much better when your union.
Matt, stop fantasizing about the food. Roger that. Moving on...
Ok, so the scenario I'm trying to paint in all of your minds is a young, gangling looking guy (me) sitting around with other actors. Completely bored. This tended to happen as days extended 12-14 hours while working on this particular show. There's only so many hours I can play Sudoku or Brick Breaker. The mood on this particular set was always very snarky. You couldn't escape it, everywhere I sat or went-- there would be someone complaining. One actress that I was around wouldn't stop bickering, saying how much she couldn't stand being there. She was totally condemning the fact that she was an actress and really was in such a negative light that I'm convinced 100% that her thoughts began to spread to the crew. (It's like the sick, feverish six year-old kid that the parents let pass out the hors d'oeuvres at the house party, seems cute at the time, but chances are pretty good that everyone is going to catch the virus.) Pretty soon I'm in this mecca, boiling pot of negative energy. How's that for a days work?!
Well let me tell you, it made my life 10X harder because I'm such an upbeat, "Hi, how 'ya doing?" kind-of guy. The crew's energy and talent became extremely smothering and then I realized something. The light bulb went off! It was like an epiphany... actually, that's the correct word- wrong phrasing. It WAS an epiphany.
Not everyone was negative. Just the ones I was surrounding myself with. These were people that were (for whatever reason) just plain miserable. I wasn't surrounding myself with greatness! Something I desperately needed to remedy. So what was my result? How did I deal with this situation? Remedies come before results, so let's look at what I did...
The answer is that I took a hiatus from working.
Stopped working? Qu'est-ce que sais?! Yes. Stopped working, quit 'cold turkey'. I realized that if I was surrounding myself with these 'people', that I was partially responsible and to blame. Life is all about choices. There was something that I needed to sort out with myself prior to trying to work again. So, I took time off. The whole process of discovering who you are, but more-so what your goals are; is incredibly important. And even more-so, it directly affects whom you'll end up surrounding yourself with.
Point blank: If you're content doing background work-- you'll just do background work. If you have no will to succeed, success won't come a' knockin'! However, if every step you take is a step to something bigger and better; you're going to be more likely to move yourself up a notch. And you want to do just that! You want to continue to grow and evolve. Don't be like Anthony Hopkin's in the movie, MAGIC, and go completely psychotic when success presents itself. The people that I was with that day were the type that were content with mediocrity. They didn't have a zest for life, or an urge to do something greater.
Folks, half of your life in the entertainment business is probably going to be spent in what I like to call, "Discovery Mode." The other half is spent trying to figure out exactly how to use what you 'discovered'; which was probably just your true life potential; something you probably thought you never had. And you all have it. Use what you know, get out there and start surrounding yourself with others that see that light inside of you.
Who you surround yourself with directly affects what kind of work you'll be getting hired for.
I've been in this business a long time. I've seen a lot of people with so much potential just give up on themselves, mainly because they surrounded themselves with other unmotivated, highly undeserving individuals.
I'll give you a real-world example. Probably an example that some of you can relate to. Many of you probably want union status. And that's a great goal! Remember, the food is so much better under the union tent! So, why aren't you taking the steps to get your card? Are you waiting for your BFF Joey down the block to come along with you? If so, then you might be waiting forever. Take the reigns and go out and work for your SAG vouchers. And if you have no clue what a voucher is or even the acronym: SAG, no worries, do your research on the subject. Setting goals that are achievable and obtainable for who you are at this present moment as a person are extremely important.
Anyone and everyone should have goals, because if you don't have a dream or clear vision path, I guarantee you there's someone coming up behind you with just as much ambition. Please don't waste half your life in, "Discovery Mode." Figure out what it is that you want and go for it. All-the-while, not forgetting to, Surround Yourself with Greatness.
All the best till next time folks, keep up your talent!
To contact Matt personally, add him here on ForTalent!
Follow Matt on Twitter, @RealMattWayne
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