Seth Godin touched on a cool point this week about listening only to the top 40. It got me thinking about the mass-market angle of acting, and what we do, what we see, and what we perceive, to be the way forward.
We can always go down the angle of being all things to all people. That is a given. We can be an acrobat, musician, parkour runner, model, skier, army professional, tricks skateboarder, horse rider, multi lingual, tight roping improving comedian and dramatic actor who attempts to do all of those things to the best of our abilities, all at once (good luck convincing the CD you actually can do all of those things if you tick them on your CV). Or we can be unique. We can be a one off. We can appeal to less people, and instead blow them away by being something truly exceptional. Unique rocks worlds. Being everything becomes mediocre.
In a recent talk as part of the World Acting Summit, Paul Barry talked about Rebel Wilson’s early days and how she had small but packed audiences along to see her shows. When I think about Dr Brown before he won the highly coveted best comedy show in Edinburgh Fringe 2012, his work was the same. Small but absolutely fanatical audiences. Cariad Lloyd in London is the same. Literally my favourite improv female out there and she always fills up every seat at every show!
Specificity in what you do is of paramount importance. And so is not marketing to the masses. Lets face it; once you are at Ryan Gosling’s level of ‘known-ness’ you can be all things to all people. But before that, aren’t you doing yourself a disservice by trying to cater to the whole population and all Casting Directors, rather than honing your skills like an eagle, and choosing your erm…prey accordingly.
I know I would rather be a willing victim and see a great performer over and over, rather than attend a show and see someone who is mediocre in all areas of the world.
Consider what really made you fall in love with acting in the first place and take a check on whether you are still doing that. If somewhere along the way, things perhaps went wayward, there’s no reason you can’t turn back the hypothetical clock and go after what you are great at. After all, that means more people will go after you in the long run.
And since Seth Godin inspired this post, I’d like to quote from what he wrote, “ It takes a conscious effort to seek out the thing that’s a little less obvious, the choice that’s a little more risky.” That’s truth!
References: Dr Brown wins Edinburgh Fringe