I received a BFA from NYU’s Tisch School and to my dad’s chagrin, I have done absolutely zero with it since college.
In fact, after my sophomore year at Tisch, I switched to Art History and finished off my drama degree with internships.
I wanted to pursue a life playing myself versus playing (if I actually got cast in anything) a character.
With that said, what I didn’t know at the time is that acting school or the mindset needed to pursue an acting career is the best possible training for entrepreneurship.
This may sound like a bizarre comparison, but imagine accepting from the time you’re 18 that your entire life will be full of uncertainty…
Now, onto the list!
1. If you want a career, create one.
It was constantly drilled into my head that my chances of actually “making it” were miniscule. If I wanted to pay my bills, I had to create my own work.
2. Rejection is MOST of the process. Accept it.
I interned for a very well-respected film casting office in college. I remember the stacks (probably thousands) of unsolicited head shots, the stacks (closer to hundreds) of solicited head shots, and then the 1 part that was available.
I’m not great at math, but it was obvious from that probability ratio that if I wanted to survive in entertainment, I had to accept that rejection is most of the process.
Key takeaway, be resilient.
3. If you’re 15 minutes early, you’re on time.
If you’re on time, you’re late.
If you’re late, you’re fired.
This is the mantra to acting professionalism.
I had to arrive 15 minutes early to all my acting classes and sit in silence until the class actually started.
Once the class started, no late comers were allowed. If I was late, I received an absence, which immediately affected my GPA.
Let’s just say, I learned punctuality and the repercussions for lateness.
4. Be Memorable.
When you walk into a room, are you memorable?
I was always told to be memorable in every audition — even try to wear something that is memorable like a red sweater.
When casting directors are seeing 100 people audition for the same part and recite the same lines, they won’t remember your name, but they will probably remember that red sweater.
5. You are one of the lucky ones, if you know what you want and go after it.
For my freshman parent-teacher weekend, Kate Blumberg, the head of my acting school, gave a speech to about 60 parents about why it was a good idea to invest $200,000 so their children could be actors…
Kate, who herself is an actor, said something that I will never forget:
“We are the lucky ones because we know what we want and go after it.”
Because at the end of the day that is what it is all about — courage.
The path of an entrepreneur and an actor is courageous.
It’s about facing problems that need to be solved without knowing the route to success, or venturing to parts of the human experience that are scary and living it on repeat 8 times per week.
I have confronted much self-doubt in my professional (and personal) life, but I find peace of mind in my courage to pursue what I know I want.
And for that, my BFA was worth every penny ☺