So is it really in your best interest to spend tons of your time and energy seeking representation? In my own experience, I don’t think so. I think you’re much better served working on your own creative projects and outlets, and letting the people who can help you with your career spend their time and energy finding you.
Here are five reasons why:
1. You Can Focus On Your Craft
With everything we juggle in our busy schedules, it’s easy to forget to work on the very thing you love the most. If you love writing, you should spend your time writing rather than constantly telling people about how much you love to write. If you love acting, you should find or make opportunities to act rather than spending your time trying to convince people you’re good at it. It makes so much more sense to actually find ways to do the thing that you’re passionate about, rather than trying to tell people you love doing it. And as a bonus, the more you do it- whatever it is- the better you’ll get at it.
Besides, if you spend all your time trying to convince people to let you work, you’ll be rusty by the time you actually get to work. Instead, find outlets for constantly doing what you love. You can only get better by actually doing it. And as you get better, you’ll begin to pull ahead from the rest of the “pack” that is wasting much of their energy not practicing. And when potential representation finally sees you, you’ll stand out from the crowd because you’ll have been actually doing the work.
2. It Keeps You On Your Toes
Once you’ve achieved in any aspect of your life, it’s easy to get a little more relaxed about your next project. In some ways, this can be a good thing. A healthy dose of relaxation can breed confidence in your future endeavors.
But if you approach every performance (or writing session or makeup job or whatever) as the one that could make or break your career, you’re going to do your best and give it your all. And in doing so, you’re going to get much better. And you’re going to get much better much more quickly than if you just phone it in.
I perform a lot. I’m constantly involved in all sorts of different shows and projects. It’s sometimes easy for me to talk myself out of giving a performance my all. I’m involved in several shows, many of which I have to drive an hour one way just for five minutes of stage time. As a result, I can also find myself making excuses for why that night’s performance won’t be my best work. I hear a little voice trying to convince me that I can just do better at tomorrow’s performance. Save it for the next one. Tonight doesn’t matter.
But I don’t listen to that voice. I don’t let myself get lazy. I’m still looking for a comedy manager to help catapult my career. So I make sure I give every performance my best. Because you never know who might be in the audience. And as a result, I force myself to do my absolute best no matter what the circumstances. So I improve faster because I have no excuses at the end of the night. Sometimes it goes well and sometimes it doesn’t. Either way, I know I did everything in my power, so at least I can learn from it. And I know that when I finally do get in front of the audiences that I want to be in front of, I’ll have been practicing excellence for so long it will come naturally.
3. Everyone Loves The Thrill Of The Chase
We’re hunters and gatherers by nature. An animal doesn’t walk up to a hunter’s door handing out a pamphlet trying to convince the hunter why it should be killed instead of its brother. And if it did, human nature would make the hunter more interested in the brother anyway. And he’d probably be confused as to why an animal was talking to him and how on earth it made a pamphlet.
There’s a thrill in discovering something on your own and being a part of the transformation process before your eyes. Hunting is instinctual. It lets you feel ownership and investment in a your discovery. Reps want to find new talent. That’s their job. It’s a big part of their job. They want to be the one that sees the animal in its natural habitat, hunts it down, and claims it for themselves.
And if you’re doing your job right, you’ll be out there in your natural habitat just ripe for the claiming.
This one has gotten a little too neanderthal for me. You get the point. Moving on…
4. You’re Already Sold
One of the hardest parts of being in the creative field is you’re constantly having to sell yourself and convince people you’re talented and interesting. Actors have to say they’re “working actors” before anyone will take them seriously. You don’t need to be told your accountant is a “working accountant.” They’re an accountant. That means they know how to account. Period.
And if you’re anything like me, you cringe every time you have to turn into an LA entertainment community stereotype and talk about all your achievements and how great you are. Personally, I’d rather spend that time working on something much more interesting. Like my next creative project. Or watching paint dry.
The benefit of letting the people you want to be on your team find you, is that you don’t have to convince them that you’re really great at what you do. They already know that. That’s why they want to work with you. You get to just focus on continuing to do what you do because you’ve found people who believe in you and what you do.
5. You Remember You’re A Catch
In every healthy relationship, there’s good balance and communication between both parties. Too often, you see creatives who feel like their representation is doing them a favor. Which is an unhealthy perspective that makes you forget your power and lose your confidence.
By letting your representation find you, you remember that you are an active and important part of this relationship. It’s wonderful that someone is taking a chance on you and finally helping you get to the next level in your career. You should be extremely excited and grateful. But you should also remember that they’re lucky to have found you. You’re a hot commodity who is going to make someone some serious money with your talent and hard-earned skills. You’re equals on a two-way street.
Being approached by representation as a result of your own achievements is a reminder that your work is very valuable. And while you’re lucky to have found someone who wants to help you, they’re just as lucky to have found you.
Now, don’t get me wrong. You still need to do the work and put yourself out there. You should always stay extremely “findable.” Maintain a website with your current, present and future projects on it. Make sure you get out to events with other industry professionals. Have business cards. Utilize social media. Meet people. Be nice.
But beyond that, you should focus on what you love doing. Be creative. Get involved in a project you believe in. Get out there in this world and just start doing the very things that make you happy. Your happiness will be infectious and the right people for you in all avenues of your life will naturally gravitate towards you.