1. Stop trying to get an agent.
If show business is war, agents have the guns. It’s your job to make ammunition. So while it’s great that you wrote that sketch show or have five tight minutes of stand-up or that you finally finished your Modern Family spec script — you have to make more. The guys with the guns may gawk at your one shiny bullet, but they’re not going to start firing unless they know there’s more where that came from. Because, well, war is hell and no one knows what they’re shooting at. So stop worrying about getting a gun you’re not ready to use and focus on making more bullets. Trust me — the guys with the guns need good ammunition. When you’re ready — they’ll find you.
2. Don’t be bitter. Be better.
Too many people seem to think that really wanting something is actually a reason they should get it. It’s not. As Steve Martin once said, the key for any aspiring comedian is, “Be so good they can’t ignore you.” So sure, you could make a hundred excuses for why you’re not as successful as you want to be. And some of them may even be true. But the comedians who make it are the ones who keep pushing themselves and take advantage of every opportunity. The gatekeeper who rejects you may indeed be an idiot, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be better.
3. Be nice.
That intern taking out the garbage may be on SNL one day. And that guy in your improv class who you don’t think is funny may end up working in development at a studio. But more importantly this business is filled with rejection and it’s a lot less lonely if you’ve got a community of like-minded, supportive people around you who understand what you’re going through. Another person’s success is not your failure.
Good words. Here's the full Steve Martin quote btw.
Labels: about standup
Permalink | 9/01/2011