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Mark Allen
Director , Screenwriter , Composer
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How To Start From Nothing part 02

This is a continuation of the previous blog, if you haven't read part 01, please do before reading this.

I am picking up under number 3 at step three....  Yes, I realize my number system will have to be modified before I put it in "the book."    ;)

Step Three:  Do what you do and let everyone know that that is what you do and don't do anything else.

Yes, that's the title of step three - the whole thing.  Do not be a Jack of All Trades.  Be the guy/girl who does THAT THING.  The reason is that this will stick in people's mind when they need someone who does THAT THING.  You'll be an expert and they may never have experience your thing - they just know that that is what you do all the time and what you think about all the time - and that will make them feel good about 1.  Feeling secure that you ought to know what your doing.  2. giving someone who has a singular dream a shot.  

You might be a bassist AND an actor.  Pick one.  Sure, the other may come in handy at some point in your career - but ONE of these is going to be your gateway - not both.  If you do both, people won't know what the hell you do.

Okay - let's look at a couple real world examples:  

South Park.  You probably know the show.  Well, that show started because the two creators were just being who they are.  They knew themselves well and didn't try to hide who they are.  They had gotten some jobs in the industry and just because they were around someone asked them to make a little animation for them.  It turned out to be the basis for South Park - they held nothing back and just put it all out on the table for their Santa vs. Jesus video.  People in the industry saw it and knew that this had to be a show because they kept showing it to their friends.  South Park was born.  

Jack Black.  This might challenge my last rule some, but I'm using it anyway.  He is an actor... and a musician.  He i snot a leading man, he knew it.  However, he knew what he had and that was this very intense burning energy.  When he was in college, he could play basically anything because he was just so committed and people respected him.  He was also a musician.  His first success though would have been getting little roles in Tim Robbins movies - just enough that this gave him a little buzz that helped him with his band.  So - he used acting a bit as a gateway into the music and then built up a broader audience for his music and then used that as a gateway back into acting in larger roles - because suddenly he was "the Tenacious D guy."  The key thing is that he committed in both to a very particular personality and stuck with it and mastered it and the result is what you see him as today.  How did he get his acting?  Well, it probably didn't hurt that he put himself in Los Angeles to start with of course.  Then, he got into a theater group well tied into the industry - but he was able to do that because he was so damned good already.  But if he was so good and then didn't really put himself out into the industry at all - what do you think his chances of succeeding would have been?

Okay - the next (and probably) final blog will address the singular issue of starting from NOTHING... I've touched on it through out, but hopefully I'll have some very specific thoughts.... hopefully.  :)

over 14 years ago 0 likes  13 comments  0 shares
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Thanks for the kinds words everyone.... musicnote... That is exactly why I provided the Jack Black example. He played it perfectly I thought. And he still does play it well. Jared Leto did a good job of this as well. Think of yourself as a product and you are marketing that product. Keep it simple and focused. Just because you're interested in more than one thing doesn't mean you have to tell everyone that and be out there trying to do both at the same time to everyone. Maybe it's not fair, but you will seem unfocused. If you are trying to do something which is a dream - something not everyone can achieve - why make it hard on yourself and try to do that with two things at once!? That's nearly impossible. Focus on one and when the opportunity comes to fuel the other based on the momentum from the first, take advantage of that. But really keep in mind that you are "competing" against other people who only want to do one thing and so they may gain twice the amount of skill building time and twice the amount of marketing exposure.... that's hard to compete with.
over 14 years ago
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shorty - For the reasons I said earlier in the comments, I think it is wise to focus on one thing at a time. To reach a level of mastery, it just takes a lot of time, effort, and energy. Ever know someone who was trying to be an olympic athelete? I'm sure your aware of their regimes either way. There are certain skill which you can parlay though. There is the mentality and confidence of mastery which transfers between careers quickly. HOWEVER - and this is a huge dose of reality.... DO NOT postpone the glamour career for something that can be done later in life. If someone were trying to be the leading woman/man, supermodel, big label music star... if you're over 26 it is going to be so hard to start any of these. I know, it sucks, but it's true. Doesn't mean it's impossible, but you're stacking the cards against you. Why? Because in "the industry" youth has the advantage of glamour. I hate even writing about that, but I've been in too many discussions with lawyers and executives of the industry who make reference to that 26 year old cut off. On the flipside, one of the States's most successful architects didn't start until he was 40.
over 14 years ago

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