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Robert DeNiro’s commencement address to the 2015 Tisch School of the Arts graduates highlighted one word over and over: COLLABORATION.

How often do you feel like it’s you against the world? Or you trying to “get in” with the right group of people? Or do you feel like the Industry elite are somehow keeping you out?

Do you truly – be honest! – assume that everyone wants you to do well? Or are you expecting that you have to be perfect or you’ll hear NO and be rejected yet one more time…?

Make Collaboration Your Daily Truth

The day-to-day reality: we’re here to work together. Whether you’ve made this your truth or not, is a different story.

Every time you step into an audition room, onto a set, onto your business calls, or into your class, you’re there to work together with someone else.

So how do you let the spirit of collaboration work its magic? By doing your part. Be prepared, show up, deliver.

DeNiro was pretty funny when talking about the fact that Directors are the ones with the final say. If you’re in films or on TV, that’s absolutely true.

Even for stage, while you might have some nightly leeway, you still need to satisfy the stage directions, and then the Stage Director is technically in charge of the show. All you need to do is your best at what you do: create, act and collaborate.

Deniro Mohawk

DeNiro was talking to a class who had just left school, so they had learned their craft. They were students, not professionals.

They didn’t necessarily know much more about the business itself, not the day to day realities of doing business, managing the business, attempting to turn a profit or marketing to create growth.

Most new actors don’t learn the simple systems that let you work more. That’s what this site is all about.

Most actors who first come to me are carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. And that’s fair: it’s their world and their livelihood.

But it’s not really necessary, especially when your ‘lack of progress,’ if not outright desperation, take all of the fun out of the work itself. Instead of making everything a possible ordeal, how can you create effective business processes, and then just act? That’s what I love helping actors do.

You Choose to Build Your Business, It Doesn’t Just Happen

Building your business does not happen automatically just because you’ve left your BFA, MFA or acting training program. A career path does not instantly materialize.

Your business is built brick by brick, day by day, activity by activity, collaboration by collaboration. Find your best collaborators and expand on that.

Who were the five most fun people who’ve had the pleasure to work with so far this year? They might include actors, directors, casting directors, producers, agents, managers: whoever in the industry you had FUN working with!

Go back, and reach out to them again. Don’t just stop there, keep going back there. With time and trust, those people will be the ones who call you first, who keep you in mind.

You get to choose if you actively build your business every day, strategy by strategy, so that you can keep collaborating.

Like DeNiro said, maybe “you’re f*%&ked,” so have some fun with it!

Every day can and must be more experience, more collaboration, and more work that you love.

Click here to watch the entire speech:







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