Is that an interesting title or what? I just came up with that this morning. I was going to do the whole "actor's blog" Star Trek stuff again, but it just didn't feel right. Besides, the date is just under the title anyway... So what shall I blog about this time? I don't know. I decided to put the activity in my planner for today and I think it's important to do what I set out to do. I just hope it doesn't suck.
Perhaps that is what I should blog about! I could go on about the acting industry, about what it's like to run several small businesses or many other meanderings as I do have the gift of the gab. Don't get me started on the whole teacher thing (as my wife's been an educator for 27 years) but I think today's blog should be about getting shit done!
I think the hardest thing about being 'self-employed' is getting shit done. Obtaining a sense of accomplishment is very important to humans, at least to ones that aren't stoned or drunk... And being self-employed that can be difficult. Now, being in the arts doesn't help matters because we can literally go months without working in our field. I am now up to over one full calendar year without work from my agent (opps! there I go on about the industry again), but being self-employed does offer a real interesting ball of stress. All the pressure is on you to be successful. All eyes are on you to see if you can do what you set out to accomplish. Will you sink or will you swim? Sadly it's almost always in between.
Running your own business is awesome! (I thought I wasn't going to blog about this this week?) You work for yourself! No one to boss you around! No bullying! You can work in your pajamas (I currently am) and make your own hours. However, those hours can be endless! It all depends on the person.
I am a Virgo. Ask anyone who knows me, they will tell you that many 'typical' Virgo traits I possess.
http://www.astrology-online.com/virgo.htm defines the traits of the Virgo to be as follows:
Modest and shy
Meticulous and reliable
Practical and diligent
Intelligent and analytical
Fussy and a worrier
Overcritical and harsh
Perfectionist and conservative
Now, modest and shy I can be. In large groups of people I don't know I am very shy. Some might have a hard time believing that but it's true. As a kid I would spend hours not speaking at all, until it felt like my lips were glued together. It wasn't until college that I really came out of my shell. Most of my friends from high school would contest to being surprised that I'm now an actor, I'm sure.
Meticulous and reliable I am to a tee! That is totally me. Practical and diligent too. As well as intelligent and analytical. Fussy at times, a worrier on occasion. Overcritical and harsh? Only of myself. Perfectionist and conservative? Perfectionism is very passe for me. I'm over that. Only during moments of weakness do I struggle with that and it's always of myself, never of others. Conservative? Depends on your definition. I have never done any drugs, nor do I have any desire to do so (not that I damn anyone who does, it's a personal choice. Don't judge me and I won't judge you), but I wouldn't call myself conservative. Simple at times, maybe, but considering what I've done on stage and on camera over my acting career, I would say no.
So what does being a Virgo have to do with running a business? Well, those traits impact how I run my businesses. For the improv troupe I think it's fantastic. My cast members can rely on me and my judgement because of those traits. They know I'm safe on stage and that I always have their best interest in mind because it's those interests that are best for the company.
Same goes for my Knights. But it goes even further there because we are dealing with weapons and combat so safety and reliability are paramount.
As a fledgling manager/publisher, currently handling my wife's writing career (www.amazon.com - look up Andrea Hertach and buy, buy, buy!) being a Virgo can only be a good thing. MRL Management is slow to catch momentum, but I think that is only because of how little time I have to work on it. Money is unfortunately a necessity in today's society so I spend more time on my companies that are established and can generate income easier. But it will take off soon. My wife's writing is fantastic! It's only a matter of time before it really takes off. That's where my diligence comes in handy.
I do wonder sometimes if being a Virgo impedes my acting though... I am a creative person, but the shyness doesn't help sometimes, especially during awkward audition situations. And my modesty almost cost me my first interview with Talent House way back when. If it wasn't for my amazing wife Andrea, who tooted my horn when I couldn't, the kids and I (we were going in as a package deal) probably wouldn't have been signed on. Luckily she was there to save the day. I don't know if my modesty has cost me gigs, but it's just so hard to tell. One of the worst things about being an actor is the "why not?" factor as I call it. You do an audition, it went amazing and yet you don't get cast. Why not???!!! You almost never find out. In 15 years I was told once. I was at Jigsaw Casting. Shasta brought about 6 of us in for a commercial (I can't even remember what) that was shooting that afternoon. We had to do this physical thing where we went to close our car door and our hand was stuck to the handle. It was a great mime activity and I thrive in mime! (On some level that is rather sad I know...) The audition went superb and I nailed it. We sat in their subway style waiting room and she came out to tell us the news, only because we had to go from there to wardrobe pretty much right away. I was addressed and told
"Matthew, you did a great job, but you're actually a bit too young looking for the spot."
I'll take that any day!
But that was the only time I ever found out why and I think it's that why factor that really kills some actors. It eats them up inside and I completely understand it. Luckily I've been able to adopt a bit of a mantra that really helps me out:
Show up prepared. Do your job to the best of your ability. Take note of the shoot dates so you're available. And forget about it as soon as you leave the room.
That is the only motto I can use and stay somewhat sane in this industry. It's simple and I'm sure I wasn't the first person to think of it, but it works for me and it keeps my head held high while I keep trucking hoping for my next opportunity to do what I love - act...