All-Access Pass

Whenever I talk with creatives about dealing with friends and relatives whose opinions about this whole artistic pursuit are less than supportive, I come back around to the same thing: We don’t HAVE TO provide an all-access pass to everyone we know.

Think about it. Be a hot band on the big stage in a jam-packed arena. Go with me on this visual for a moment. You’ve got the folks at home who catch glimpses of the show on the local news or who hear about what went down thanks to social media. You’ve got scalpers up and down the street on the way into the parking lot, selling tickets (real or fake) for any dollar amount to those last-minute thrill-seekers willing to take a chance if it means they could possibly get inside on this big night.

You’ve got your fans in the cheap seats. All the way up there, hoping they can squint enough through high-powered binoculars that they’re able to see your magic on the stage. Then down from there we’ve got the balconies. The mezzanine. The loge. Eventually we work our way toward the floor seats which get folks ever-closer but maybe not with as spectacular views. Of course, there are box seats and VIP zones peppered throughout, but some people may still be taking the whole show in from the big screen because its POV is better than theirs, from where they sit.

Floor seats. Orchestra pit. And then OMG, the backstage pass. The all-access pass. The one that includes pre-show with the band (you), backstage before the show, and some after-party goodness that is legendary but rarely seen by the masses. Yay, yay, yay!

There are incremental stages of access at these shows, right? Welp, same for you. YOU, as an artist, are always in charge of granting passes to the masses. And the instant you determine that someone with all-access pass status should’ve instead been lucky to hit the nosebleed section, your job is to revoke tickets to the next show. Reassign the seats.

I talked about this in a Periscope broadcast a couple o’ months ago (you can watch the replay here). We are constantly granting permission (or restricting access) to the best seats in the house for the experience that is OUR show.

When you’re feeling less-than-supported by those who claim to be your biggest fans, find a way to let them have a wee bit less access. You don’t have to cut them out of your life entirely or restrict their access so much that they don’t get to enjoy the show, but with one simple shift in SECTION, you protect yourself against painful experiences like being asked when you’re going to give up this nonsense of an acting career. Because you can’t hear that being asked from anywhere beyond the front row.

Classify VIPs correctly. And reassign seats frequently if necessary. No one needs to hang out with you backstage when they’re not 100% supportive of what you’re doing ON that stage, every time.


Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!


Originally published by Actors Access. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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