Wednesday 10 March 2010

A lesson in humility

It seems I have been talking a lot about the good advice I've been given lately regarding acting as a business, professionalism etc. Here's the story of someone who, it seems, has never been given this advice or maybe just didn't listen.
A while ago I flatted with a young woman, I shall call her Angela, who after training and working  overseas had come to Wellington to find her place in the local film and theatre scene. Her goal was and I believe still is to work full time and paid in her profession.

For a while I worked closely with her on some of her projects. So, I got to hear her side of the story of why things almost always seemed to go wrong or at the very least did not result in new opportunities. Somehow on every single project there seemed to be someone who didn't like Angela and so it seemed she was bullied a lot. Did Angela only have a streak of bad luck with the projects she chose and the people she worked with?

After a while Angela happened to work on the same projects as my partner and some of my other friends and I started to see a different picture. Stories reached me about never being on time, not pulling her weight, and generally being disruptive to the creative process. Then people I had just met started talking about this person who was not doing the job she was told to do, who knew everything about everything and therefore constantly got in other people's way by trying to apply her expertise when it was not welcome. That person turned out to be Angela. The amount of times I hear people talk about how bad their experiences working with her were, and for many different reasons!

The point I want to make is the following: The theatre and film industry, in general and certainly in Wellington, is not only a small one but also one that is close-knit. People talk. They talk a lot. If they start talking about you and do not have much good to say, well quite frankly, that's BAD. It definitely won't help you to be a full time, paid anything in the industry.

I reiterate, get known by your talent not your personality or your shoddy work ethic. That doesn't seem to be so hard either. Here is how: Don't do what Angela did! Instead be on time, listen to what you're told and to what's going on around you, do your job and mind your own business. Help when you are asked to help but keep your 'expertise' to yourself when you're not asked to display it. No one likes a show off but the industry does recognise true talent, hard work and humility.

So, my goal for this year is to get known by my talent, work hard on my craft and stay humble in the process. - Earlier today my 9 month old puked on my head. That's a lesson in humility.

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