For complete transparency and clarity, this post features book(s) we’ve personally read and continue to re-read, but we do receive a small commission from any sales to help keep free content available at the Dojo. If you do decide to pick up one or two of the following, we send grateful fist-bumps in advance for your support.
Fame. A complex topic, we know, but one we’re gonna attempt to tackle here regardless. As a sneaky opponent for the vast majority of our actors, this is how we start to unpack what has become such a loaded subject for so many in our field.
For those just wanting the six word breakdown of this post and the broader life principle behind it, the tweetable version of the following is this: anything quickly won is quickly lost (tweet this ✊🏼).
For those up for the deep dive, #lessgo.
First things first, let’s dispel any guilt you may have around wanting recognition, admiration, or “fame”. It’s natural to desire recognition. Relax, you aren’t the first, and you certainly won’t be the last. In fact, this is a very human condition. Having a certain level of status back in our primal days meant we were more likely to be included and valued in our tribe, find a mate, and simply survive. There’s no need to add to the already abundant actor insecurity by feeling all taboo about this. You’re human. Welcome to the race.
So instead of expending unnecessary energy here, let’s focus it towards an important question:
How long do you want to sustain it?
This piece was originally titled “Why You (Probably) Don’t Want Quick Fame”. We decided this sounded too clickbait-y and so went against it, but the “(Probably)” speaks to the crossroads vital to address: if you’re only seeking a one-night-stand experience of “fame” as an actor, you might, in fact, want to do so relatively quickly. It’s up to you to author your personal journey, and it’s absolutely valid to decide you just seek to momentarily bathe in the spotlight.
If, however, you’re aiming to still be on the acting A-list well into your sixties, a significantly different approach is required.
What’s true for you?
If it’s genuinely the former, power to you, go get it. However, we aren’t experts on how to play that game so you’d be best to spend time researching elsewhere.
If it’s genuinely the latter (and be honest with yourself), power to you too. This is a game we’ve played for a very long time - both personally and with our Dojo actors - so the below will outline how we start to think about this.
Continued success can’t be won via luck alone. Flukes happen, for sure, but the odds are very much stacked against us when our greatest goals and dreams rely on this strategy alone. Think about that for a moment; are you really okay with handing your greatest goals and dreams over to temperamental chance? Are your life’s goals and dreams really something you want to gamble with?
Fortunately, there’s another route. The route by which we can increase our “Luck Surface Area” (shout out to Jason Roberts for this killer concept).
Build a solid foundation slow ’n steady.
There’s a quote from George S. Clason’s classic, The Richest Man in Babylon, that reads: “Wealth that stayeth to give enjoyment and satisfaction to its owner comes gradually, because it is a child born of knowledge and persistent purpose.”
While this wisdom was originally offered in relation to building financial success, the principle is 10000% applicable here too.
Things that come to us quickly, without much investment on our part, will be hard to sustain or replicate again. Why? Because there wasn’t an underlying structure or system.
If we apply this thinking to a trivial example: you’ll struggle to recreate that heavenly cake you once happened to make by throwing random ingredients together. This is why we have recipes.
This is what we do at the Dojo: create a recipe (or, to be exact, Training Menu) for our actors.
As James Cameron said, “Hope is not a strategy.”
Hope alone is also not a very empowering place to be.
So, to recap:
If you truly desire “instant fame”, don’t feel dirty about it. You may want to briefly ponder why so many before us have warned it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, but if you still want to experience it for yourself to decide, go for it. It’s your life, so own it. “Shine forth like the meteors that oft make brilliant the sky” (another poetic line from George S. Clason).
If instead you desire a lasting fame, think like “the fixed stars that shine so unchanged that the sailor may depend upon them to steer his course” (our last Clason quote, promise).
And, if it is fame sustained over time you’re after, and you’d like to start whipping up your very own recipe (i.e. Training Menu) for this success, give us a shout. We’d love to jam with you.