I’m out here in the desert attempting a whole bunch o’ new remedies (the wildest one is this thing called “totally disconnecting from real life for a good long stretch o’ time” — I mean, who DOES that?!?) and I realize we’re at a wee benchmark.
I just sent the 300th BonBlast.
On July 11, 2011, on Catalina Island with the hubs and his son, I was taking one of my “I’m seriously too pale to be in direct sunlight at high noon in the peak of summer on this tiny island” breaks in the hotel room to soak up the A/C and contemplate something I’d long been nudged to do: Start an email newsletter.
See, I had this weekly column for Backstage starting in 1999 and then in 2004 I hopped over to Actors Access and wrote weekly for more than a decade, and that meant I had this very strong muscle for turning in 1000 or so words every Sunday. (Okay, sometimes 5000 words. Whatever.)
I let those big corporations take care of letting folks know the columns were available. I mean, that’s something big corporations are good at, right? That marketing thing?
But every so often, someone would say, “You really should email us to remind us your column is available. And your classes. And your coaching. Y’know?” And I would recoil in disgust. “Ew. Marketing. No thank you!”
Then — on my 41st birthday, after reading a lot of Steven Pressfield and finally taking the advice I’d gotten from one of my Emmy-winning clients to take the Self-Management for Actors curriculum online so it’s available all over the world, day or night — I opened a little MailChimp account, posted on Twitter and Facebook that you could sign up to hear from me, say, every three weeks or so, and I sent the first BonBlast a few hours later to those few hundred early adopters.
Eventually, I upped the pace of the BonBlast to weekly… then twice weekly… and so technically we’re up to something like 517 emails carrying everything from brilliant tips on the nuts and bolts of the business side of your creative career to a bunch o’ mindset goodness to keep you joy-filled along the journey and every now and then some non-acting stuff or maybe even a list… like this!
These are my three TOP THREE lists from 300 BonBlasts, based on coming up on seven years of being welcomed into your inbox. (BTW, big thanks for that. I know there’s a lot of noise out there online. I so appreciate that you not only enjoy the BonBlast, but that you interact with me when I cross-post it on my blog, hit reply every now and then, and tell me you save these things to read later and somehow they always seem to “land” right on time. Thank you.)
Top Three BonBlogs
This is based on readership, plain and simple. I’m a little surprised that technically only one of these is specifically for actors. But hey, here’s what the Google tends to send folks to me about, based on the top hit counts at my ‘ol blog site.
Top Three YouTubes
This is based on viewership, plus engagement at non-YouTube places about the particular vids. I don’t leave comments open at the YouTubes (I can only be so many places, y’know) and while people who coach folks about how to get more traffic *at* YouTube and Google would say that’s the kiss of death, I can safely say, I’m just fine with what’s going on over here.
3. The 1 Most Uncastable Quality (2212 views; Can you guess the quality?)
2. How to Get an Agent (3044 views in less than a year)
1. Chris Clowers on Bonnie Gillespie (10,140 views — people like the beatboxing)
Top Three Hidden Treasures
These are the three things that I get the most email, tweets, Instagram DMs, etc., about, usually along the lines of, “How did I not know this is a thing?!?” So, I guess I need to do a better job of making sure these things are clearly available. See? Marketing… not my thing. I’d rather create more cool shit for you than figure out slick ways to tell you about the cool shit I’ve created for you.
3. SMFA Essentials: Bios & Cover Letters That Don’t Suck (that’s a mini-course on exactly that. Apparently it’s really good)
2. The Payment Plan for Get in Gear for the Next Tier (I feel like I mention this a lot; I guess I don’t — if you’ve wanted to jam in our life-changing [NO JOKE] 100-day challenge, you can do so without coming up with enrollment costs all at once, and you can start today)
1. The AUDIOBOOK for Self-Management for Actors (I seriously get pelted about not having an audiobook, which is weird, since we’ve had one since 2014 — I just don’t like giving all my money away, so it’s available through *us* and not through Audible or whatever. NBD)
Top Three Things I’ve Learned in 300 BonBlasts (and all the other non-Tuesday emails that make it to a much less-cool round number than 300, so shut up about what I’m focusing on, wouldja?)
3. The right people read
2. the right stuff
1. at the right moment.
Sometimes I worry my content is too long. Other times, I know it’s a filter for the right people. Sometimes I worry that I’m saying something I’ve said before (when I was a weekly columnist, I mapped out that I was basically writing the same 12 things from a bunch of different ways; that’s still mostly true). Other times, I’m reminded that someone NEW is discovering Self-Management for Actors and the Bonaverse every damn day. So, it’s not new to them.
And even for those who’ve read it before, the “coming at it from a different angle” thing sometimes really makes it all feel different. And appreciated for being right on time. Crazy how many times I’m asked if I’m spying on y’all. Or talking to your mother. Nope. I’ve just lived it. My life has always been just as crazy and creative and unpredictable and freelance and “where’s the next booking gonna come from” as yours has been. I started out as an actor and have always been a creative. Even the months out of my life here or there that I worked “a real job,” I was always coming at the norm from a very NOT-norm perspective.
I just can’t help it. I have the kind of brain that sees things creatively, even if they’re spreadsheets. And it’s exactly that merger of all the creative bits of a career in show business and the very real bunch o’ logistics that have to be dealt with for you to ever make it past Tier Zero that have me churning out more content since my weekly column gig came to a close. Who’dathunk I’d be more freakin’ prolific AFTER the every-Sunday-since-1999 deadline went away in 2015?
So, I want to thank you for being curious about what makes your creative career tick. For including me in your round-up of information about what might keep your journey a little more joy-filled. For inviting me into your inbox (even if you haven’t been here for all 517… or 300… or even 3 of ’em yet). And for engaging with me about what your creative journey tends to teach YOU!
Yep. Now you. What are three things YOU have learned from the BonBlasts?
Pop your three in the comments below! I really do see everything. Promise!
Oh, and because I just now received a THANK YOU for the FREE SMFA Top 20 recording (Do you remember that? You got it as a thank-you when you signed up for the BonBlasts if that happened in the past couple o’ years; if you’ve been around longer, oh man, you may not have heard this!!), let me share it with y’all once more. Bookmark this page. Come back to it and continue to soak in the goodness I share in this half-hour of totally free audio, laying out 20 things you can do to improve your career trajectory RIGHT NOW.
You’re welcome. 😉
Okay, back to experimenting with desert rituals. (Did you know mineral hot springs have healing properties? Eff western medicine. It’s not the only answer, y’know?) Thank you for enjoying my lists of three things and thank you again for sharing your own in the comments below.
Pretty sure I’m gonna take the rest of this week off from your inbox (welp, I may send an email about the next SMFA Retreat in LA or the official GO for enrolling in my Chicago, New York, and Toronto classes… but no promises), so be sure to do something special with the time you’d normally spend reading the Friday BonBlast. 😉
Take a walk. Blow bubbles. Make snow angels if you’re in a place with fresh snow. Go skinny dipping if you’re near a private lake. Write in your journal. Pet a puppy. Sit in gratitude for all that is good in the world (because there IS a lot, no matter what bad juts in from time to time). Thank you for your vibes and thank you for popping your eyeballs on my words.
Means more than you may ever know.