Last week I made two appearances at a Houston, Texas elementary school during its Career Week in Fine Arts. I’m honored anytime I get a chance to talk directly to students and share the challenges of working as an actor. I especially liked introducing the audition process so each student could learn to slate, show some personality when answering personal questions, and deliver one line—”Did Mom make you eat that?”—that came from the script for a national Raisin Bran commercial.
Before the school visits, I posted a question on a social media site for film, television and theater creatives. I asked the folks on Stage32.com about the kind of advice they would give themselves at age six. Many of the responses that came in are worth sharing here.
Actors, entertainers, and filmmakers: You get to tell yourself at age six one bit of career advice for the future. What is it?
“Pay attention to the business end of your chosen craft. You need to know it all.”
-Richard “R.B.” Botto, Screenwriter, producer, voice artist, and actor from LA
“If you really enjoy something, try to make that your work. Don’t let fear propel you toward spending your life doing things that don’t make you happy.”
-Sonia Apodaca-Harms, Production manager, producer, location manager, and production coordinator from Tucson, Arizona
“Keep the joy and wonder that I had at 6! At that age… anything was possible; I was in the moment; I didn’t even know what the word naysayers meant; laughter was an everyday event. In the end, to do anything meaningful… passion has to trump fear!!!!! And at 6, I was fearless…”
-Deborah Weed, Screenwriter, and playwright from Palm Beach, Florida
“Listen to the dreams you won’t always allow yourself to have. Don’t wait. Become an actor, it will become your life’s pursuit.”
-Benjamin Alany, Musician, actor, and voice artist from Austin, Texas
“Get experience as a retail and customer service professional. A day job is very important early on!”
-Tony Cella, Story analyst, script supervisor, editor, and production assistant from LA
“make many friends, don’t be afraid, go for it, learn, practice, try try and try again!”
-Mark Schaefer, Actor, director, distributor, and producer from LA
“As a writer– Read everything!”
-E.L. Reedy, Screenwriter from Cedar Rapids, Iowa
“Network, network, network. You have to put your message out to all interested parties. You never know who will pass your information on to someone that can really help you.”
-MasterSgt. (Ret.) Charles R. Evans, Transportation coordinator, actor, editor, and location scout from Sand Rock, Alabama
“Know yourself. Trust your intuition. Notice what fuels your creativity. Allow life to unfold and walk the path that is uniquely yours.”
-Kiki Carter, Actor, author, music composer, and singer from Walker, Minnesota
“Don’t be afraid to be different and original. Embrace your artistic side. Embrace being creative. The world will find ways to hold you down in those departments. Find surroundings that let you flow your creative juices. And DON’T BE AFRAID TO TRY. You never know what doors will open if you sit back and do nothing.”
-Richard Gustason, Actor, comedian, and screenwriter from Colorado Springs, Colorado
No matter what career path you may be on right now and what age you are at the moment, may you continue to learn something new every day. Learning keeps you growing, and personal and professional growth makes you an asset in this business. Think about what discoveries you made today and share them in a comment below.