9 Qualities of Remarkable Entertainers/Actors

What separates the best in show biz from everyone else? (Hint: It’s not about the money.)

Good entertainers make money.

Great entertainers make us smile and make serious money for themselves in the process.

Remarkable entertainers do more than make us smile and make money. They are the few who possess qualities that don’t appear only in bank account balances, but do make a significant impact on the lives of their audiences, inner circles, and communities.

Here are nine qualities of remarkable entertainers:

1. They find happiness in the success of others.

Great sports teams win because their most talented players are willing to sacrifice ego and acknowledgment to make others look great. Great theater productions, TV series and notable films are made up of actors who help each other, know their roles, set aside personal “perks”, and value co-operative success over everything else. Where does that attitude come from? You. Every great entertainer answers the question, “Can you make the choice that your happiness will come from the success of others?” with a resounding “Yes!”

2. They relentlessly seek new experiences.

Novelty seeking—getting bored easily and throwing yourself into new pursuits or activities – is often linked to gambling, drug abuse, and attention deficit disorder. But according to some leading doctors, novelty seeking is one of the traits that keeps you healthy and happy and fosters personality growth as you age… if you combine adventurousness and curiosity with persistence and a sense that it’s not all about you, then you get the creativity that benefits society as a whole, and THAT translates to creativity in show biz. To succeed, you want to be able to regulate your impulses (don’t take that gig that isn’t quite right just to have one!) while also having the imagination to see what the future would be like if you tried something new.

Check out this “something new” I tried on my birthday a few years back.  Definitely a novelty.  So go ahead – embrace your inner novelty seeker. You’ll be healthier, you’ll have more friends, and you’ll be generally more satisfied with life.

3. They don’t think work/life balance; they just think life.

When you have burning passion for this career, work-life boundaries are almost impossible to maintain. Why? You are your business. Your business is your life, just like your life is your business – which is also true for family, friends, and interests—so there is no separation, because all those things make you who you are.

Remarkable entertainers find ways to include family instead of ways to exclude work. They find ways to include interests, hobbies, passions, and personal values in their daily business lives.  Ever notice the “big boys” working with the same people (sometimes friends and family) over and over again?  It’s because they have become a part of each other’s lives.  So hire your parents, kids and friends for you latest webisode or cabaret act, student film or full length feature.  Network like crazy and bring in to your creative path the people you like and enjoy in your LIFE.  If you can’t, you’re not living—you’re just working.

4. They’re incredibly empathetic.

Unless you create something entirely new on your own—which I encourage as an actorpreneur, but is very hard to do—your business is based on fulfilling an existing need or solving a problem.

In order to identify a need or a problem you must have the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes, particularly the casting director and creative team of the “place” you want to work; that’s the mark of a successful entertainer. But remarkable entertainers go a step farther, regularly putting themselves in the shoes of their audience. Success isn’t a line trending upwards. Success is a circle. No matter how high your profile—and your ego—soars, success still comes back to your audience.

5. They have something to prove – to themselves.

Many actors have a burning desire to prove other people wrong.  You know who I’m talking about –  that acting teacher from long ago that didn’t see your true talent; the family member who still thinks you’re crazy for choosing this career; the gal that beat you out of the perfect role in your 5th grade play…you’ll show them! These are great motivators. Remarkable entertainers are driven by something deeper and more personal. True drive, commitment, and dedication springs from a desire to prove something to the most important person of all.  You.

6. They ignore the 40-hour workweek hype.

Studies show that working more than 40 hours a week decreases productivity. Whatever. Successful business owners (uh huh, that’s YOU) work smarter, sure, but they also outwork their competition. I personally don’t know a SINGLE soul who works more than I do (outside of Tracy Costa of course!)  There will always be people who are smarter and more talented than you. Remarkable entertainers want it more. They’re ruthless—especially with themselves.  Remarkable entertainers simply work harder. That’s the real secret of their success.

7. They see money as a responsibility, not a reward.

Many successful actor cautionary tales involve buying 17 cars, loading up on pricey antiques, flying to and from private islands in private planes, importing Christmas trees, and spending $40,000 a year for a personal masseuse.  Wait—maybe that’s just Oprah! But being a remarkable entertainer includes not seeing money solely as a personal reward; they see money as a way to grow their business/profile and give back to the community… in short, not just to make their own lives better but to impact the lives of other people too.  Ultimately Oprah, Brad and Angelina, Bono and more, are just as well known for spending their money improving the lives of others as for the fun trinkets and toys they can afford.

8. They don’t think they’re remarkable.

In a world of social media everyone can be their own PR agent. It’s incredibly easy for anyone to blow their own horn and bask in the glow of their insight and accomplishments.  Remarkable entertainers still have to do all of that self-promotion but also accept their success is based on ambition, persistence, and execution… and they also recognize that key mentors, and a huge dose of luck also played a part.  Remarkable entertainers reap the rewards of humility, asking questions, seeking advice, recognizing and praising others…

9. They know that success is fleeting, but dignity and respect last forever.

The most important thing remarkable entertainers provide audiences, other actors they work with, agents and other creative industry professionals- everyone they meet – is dignity and respect.

And so should you, because when you do, everything else follows.

This article was re-written/re-purposed from something I read in Inc. magazine on Remarkable Entrepreneurs.  I think it fits perfectly, don’t you?   Lisa

7 Common Actor Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

What practices are surefire ways to ruin opportunities? Read this so you can avoid them at all costs.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this or some variation of it: “I tried doing X. It doesn’t work.” While it may be true that one approach may not work for a particular person or situation, it’s been my experience that the ACTion is less often to blame than the implementation of it. In fact, many actors make mistake after mistake based on their limited knowledge (hey, they don’t really teach this stuff in acting school) about how marketing really works. Always consider we are in a “supply side” market place…many, many, many more actors than are ever possibly needed at any one time.

Here’s a quick review of 7 of the most common ones and how to avoid making them.

1. Aiming at everyone. No one can be all things to all people; if you try, you’ll end up being nothing to no one.  Actors paint themselves into a corner because of a misplaced fear that by narrowing their focus or targeting less people, instead of carefully selecting who they market to, that they’ll be missing opportunities. But aiming at everyone is an oxymoron; the best “traditional” marketers understand that by narrowing their target audience they can increase the intensity of their brand’s appeal, creating interest more quickly. You’re better off being the first choice of 10 percent of the “other side of the casting table” than being one of 10 options for everyone.

2. Betting on rationality. This mistake is terribly dangerous. Choosing actors to cast in to projects or represent is often a left-brain effort, where rational thinking doesn’t often take place (hey, you’re talented…isn’t that enough? Nope.)  Most folks in this business often choose based on other things like emotion and that influences decisions that sometime baffle us.  Don’t try to figure this one out and don’t try to convince industry why they should work with you; connect with them instead. They’re depending on their gut more than you realize.

3. Advertising your aspirations. We all aspire to make a film that’s No. 1 at the box office, win a Tony, make a great deal of money, and become a household name. I’m not saying not to HAVE the aspirations, but outside of your business planning and support system, advertising your aspirations only invites people to continue to wonder when you will achieve them, making you sometimes doubt yourself.  Very few actors fully achieve any of these, let alone all of them. Aspirations are, by definition, promises that can’t be fully kept. Don’t announce them, just try to live by them—use them within the “mental game” of your business and rally your troops. But outside of your inner circle, don’t put them on external loudspeaker.

4.  Seeking approval by committee. If you can’t agree with your family on what type of pie to serve at Thanksgiving, how can you expect a roomful of “creatives” (cd’s, et al) to agree on something as subjective talent? Everyone’s taste is unique, and the fewer people involved in the creative approval chain, the better. If you try to please everyone, you’ll end up with a gooey mess that nobody wants to eat. The best committee is a committee of one. You!  Make choices, stick to your guns and remember, if you only try to please yourself, at least one person is always happy.

6.  Starving the budget. An anemic marketing budget may save bucks but it will cost you business and gigs in the long run. If you don’t have a healthy cash flow, with a reasonable percentage allocated to marketing, you’re not a real business and will be OUT of business sooner rather than later.  Notice I said a marketing budget, not money for more acting classes.  Yes, you have to invest in keeping the skill set competitive, but if you’re not marketing regularly and have the financial resources to do so on-goingly, you’re SOL (pardon my abbreviation). Find the best way to save and then spend the money. Also, keep in mind that sometimes investing in your own education to learn about how best to market is included in this (hint, hint).

7.  Anticipating industry will act very quickly. When was the last time you leapt out of your seat to do exactly as an ad instructed? Marketing doesn’t work that way, and as consumers we all understand that. Yet when you mail out our headshots, do a show, meet an industry guest at a seminar/class/workshop, we somehow expect to see immediate results. It takes time to seed a message, and credibility grows through consistency. Plan your efforts well, and stick with them. As obvious as it sounds, every time you start over, you’re starting over.  Consistency is KEY.

8.  Chickening out. Plans are terrific, but plans are just words on paper. Even though I’m a GREAT supporter of having a business plan, it’s amazing how much time and money actors spend on getting their acts together.  Often when it comes to “pulling the trigger” on a plan of action, many succumb to stage fright when it’s time for the curtain to rise. It’s easy to come up with reasons NOT to do something, surrendering to fear of the unknown. But just as writers aren’t writers unless they write and actors aren’t actors unless the act, marketers aren’t marketers unless they market. Not everything you do will work, but with each mistake you’ll be learning and growing. The key here is to ACT OUTSIDE THE BOX.

There you go. 7 tips that can save you time, money, and a lot of frustration as you learn from the mistakes of others, including me. Now you’re free to make new mistakes of your own (when you do, I’d love to hear about them).

To Your Success, Lisa Gold

Box Office Friday


The MechanicOK folks, this isn’t the biggest weekend for movies, but hey, The Mechanic is finally here!  I’ve been hearing about this movie and it’s stars for the past few months but wasn’t really EAGERLY awaiting it’s release.  Why not?  I’ll explain.

Its got amazing star power (Jason Statham, Donald Sutherland, Tony Goldwyn), a neat plot line (an elite assassin with a strict code and unique talent for cleanly eliminating targets with detachment gets personal when his close friend is murdered) and has had some wonderful marketing and now is opening with wide distribution.  So how come I’m not going to see it? Read more

5 Minute Overview Answering Many Questions

Hi all you fabulous ACT-ion oriented actors. Take a peek at this wonderful interview I did several years ago with on the Business of Show.  It stands the test of time and I look exactly the same today, LOL. Though the events mentioned at the end of the interview are no longer running, so many new things have been created since the interview first premiered and even more amazing things are ahead.

Actors have all kinds of questions and several of them are answered in this quick 5 minute overview of what the industry is REALLY looking for when seeking talent for their projects.

Get the insider scoop and return to this blog often for many tips, hints, beneficial info and how to further your BUSINESS as an actor.

If you have questions, particularly about getting an agent or manager, I’d love to have you put them in the comments below.  I’ll do my best to answer as I’m always wondering if I’m covering the bases of what you want to learn most.  Thanks!