Actors: Share Your Toys

Nearly eleven years ago, I launched my column here at Actors Access with a request that you share your toys. Not only does it help us create the Hollywood we want to be a part of (wherever we live) but it’s good to be of service. It’s healthy to set good information free. This is the generation of open source, and when there’s a better way to get to a goal, the sharing of that info between creatives is what builds a healthier industry.

But this isn’t another article about how good it is for this business as a whole for us to be a bunch o’ jolly toy-sharers. Nope. This week’s piece addresses what you’re saying about yourself to the buyers (and, by extension, to the universe) when you hoard your goodies.

Here’s how this usually goes down. An actor will share in a small group some little something that’s pretty dang ninja. Some useful tip that changes how the others in the collective approach a similar problem. Some bit of information that makes things a wee bit easier for everyone.

I’ll say, “Oh, man! That’s awesome! Would you consider writing a POV for me? I would love to hire you to share that amazing story with other actors around the world.”


Ah. I see. The toy-share is okay if it’s in a semi-private environment. A sacred circle. A trusted collective. But to put it out into the world? Where competitors might have at it? Risk losing THE EDGE by sharing it? Heavens, no!

Think about what you’ve done when this is your approach: You’ve just said that your talent is not enough. You’ve just said that a level playing field is too risky. You’ve just said that this *thing* (whatever it may be) is going to be the difference between whether you get the agent, book the role in the indie, land the series, whatever. Not your talent. In fact, that your talent cannot overcome any edge that someone *else* may have, so you have to hoard information.

*blink* *blink* *blink*

Interesting choice.

Me? I wanna go toe-to-toe with the best, every time. Because I’m the best. And I don’t doubt that. No one does what I do as well as I do it. And that’s something you should be able to say too. When you doubt that you are THE BEST, you introduce doubt into our perception of you as well, whether you intend to do so or not.

Let’s take this beyond the toy-share and put it into one of the biggest roadblocks that I see creatives throw down for themselves: They fail to get their shit together, so they can never really know how well they’d do if everything were all lined up.

Somehow, it’s easier to fail and blame the reel you never finished editing, the headshots that never really worked, or the ho-hum agent you were able to land with such crappy tools than it is to have the best freakin’ footage ever crafted, headshots that nail your bullseye with precision, hell-yes rep who gets out of bed PUMPED to pitch you… and still not make it.

Yeah, that would suck. I get it.

But if I’m gonna fail at anything, I’m gonna do it with everything in my favor. I’m gonna fail with everything going for me. I’m gonna put everything that’s within my control IN CHECK, I’m gonna share every resource I have with the whole world, and I’m gonna go toe-to-toe with Mr. or Ms. Second Best (because I already know who’s first) every time.

Don’t play small because you’re afraid of second place. Take the risk and sometimes take second place against the most badass first-place person ever, on those few occasions you don’t beat that person out. That way you can say, “Hey, if I were gonna have to concede this win, there’s no one I’d rather have take it home than this champ right here.”

Be brave enough to fail with everything going for you. Because the other option is failing because you never got your goods together. Because you never really went all-in. Because you hoarded your resources. Because you couldn’t see that we’re all in this together making each other — and the industry as a whole — better with our every choice to do so.

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

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