It wasn’t like this never happened before, it’s just really happening a LOT since Sam Christensen died.
The email goes, “Dear Bonnie. I like your book and I think your advice is solid. I see you’re hosting an intensive and before I spend this $225, I want to be sure that when I leave, you will have given me my exact type and brand, my best casting targets, and my logline. I recently spent [insert anything from $800 to $2000 here — all amounts WAY higher than our one-day intensive] on [insert fancy guru-centric workshop here] and still don’t feel I have my brand figured out so I’m now cautious about throwing good money after bad. Thank you for all you do for actors!”
First off, can I just tell you how much it breaks my heart that someone didn’t FIRST explore my Self-Management for Actors work to learn the *methods* of discovering their own type and brand, most castable targets, logline and pitch, etc.? Because learning how to fish is SO much cooler than being given even a big-ass fish, no matter how fancy the person who gave it to you may be.
Second, when an actor learns that NO, I will not be anointing anyone a certain type or brand during our intensive. And NO, I will not be handing anyone a list of hot targets customized to this “thing” I’ve declared you to be. And NO, I will not be writing or rewriting your logline for you… often the follow-up question is whether I’ll do that in a private coaching session.
Of course, I only coach privately people who are actively enrolled in our life-changing 100-day program Get in Gear for the Next Tier. And if you book a private coaching session with me while in the membership and decide to use that time to ask my opinion about your SMFA homework on issues of discovering your most castable type and brand, your casting targets, and your bio/logline/pitch, I’ll share my opinion about the trends the DATA is showing you. I’ll help you see a thruline you may be missing. Sure thing!
But when an actor actually said, “Look! I spent $1600 with [insert guru here] and still need help with my type and brand! How much do I pay YOU to get YOU to tell me what it is!” my response was, “You paid [guru] $1600? Hmm. You’d have to pay me more like $16,000 to make it worth it to me.” And then I thought about it for a second longer and said, “Actually, no. I wouldn’t even do it for that.”
That is how much I detest the guru-hunter mentality.
On its surface, I dislike it because I want you to learn the WHY behind the WHAT. I want you to discover HOW to do your own surveying and data collection to let the power of pattern-tracking show you what your buyers are seeing so that you can choose to lean into that from a powerful position of never second-guessing the brand you’ve “chosen.” Because you didn’t choose it. You lived it. And then you asked people to tell you what they saw you living. You asked enough people to start seeing the patterns in the data. And then you worked to close any gap between what the data is saying and what you hoped it would say.
As I dug deeper, though, I realized I also dislike it because the guru-hunter doesn’t WANT to learn how to figure this stuff out. They want to pay someone to have it all figured out for them. The guru-hunter doesn’t want to build a muscle for doing something that will help inform brand decisions for decades to come. They want to pay someone to be the official “word” in what is right or wrong for them.
And OMG that is sooooooooo much power to give away. It also removes any risk that *you* may get the data-collection work wrong at some point. It makes that guru the bad guy if he anointed you “quirky” and then you couldn’t get anyone to cast you that way.
And what does stuff like THAT do to you?
It gives you a pit of bitterness about this business and how unfair it is and all you spent on it before you finally decided it’s all too hard and just, “fuck it. I’m done.”
Totally. Avoidable. Bitterness.
But I get it! Taking ownership for your own decisions about who you are and how to get that across to others is scary.
If you let someone else define you, then when their assessment fails, you can be mad at their method. Be mad at them. Be mad at the money you spent. All of it.
If you learn how to do the work yourself, then when the work you’ve done falls short, you can only examine whether something much scarier might be wrong.
So, let’s try this:
~ It’s safe to learn the WHY behind the WHAT. Yes, even in show business.
~ It’s safe to learn how to figure things out for yourself. Yes, even if someone out there will tell you that you can pay them a lot to do it for you.
~ It’s safe to put in the work, discover what the data is telling you, try out some things, and still end up deciding you’d like to go another way at some point.
And so that it starts showing up in Google searches, let me put this right here on my website to make it clear: Bonnie Gillespie will teach YOU how to use the Self-Management for Actors tools to discern your most castable type and brand. She will guide you through her targeting method for identifying the buyers most in need of exactly the storyteller you are. And she will help you refine your marketing materials, personal pitch, and overall mindset for the most joy-filled journey of your creative life.
Bonnie Gillespie will NOT tell you your type, your targets, or your logline. She will weigh in on what the data is already leading you toward. She will help you refine the work you’ve put in. She will participate in the data-collecting you do, but her opinion is no more weighted than anyone else’s. And if YOU choose to weigh it heavier? Check your guru-hunter meter. You may be searching for other people to whom you can tie your success or failure. Stop that. It’s no good for you.
You chose to be a storyteller because there are stories you were born to tell. You have valuable work to do in this world and you want to do it from as large a stage as possible.
Sure, get someone in your corner to help spot you when you have to do some heavy lifting. But be really certain you’re not inadvertently handing over the keys to your very identity just because there’s someone out there who WILL take your money for telling you who THEY THINK you are.
Psst! Did you know it’s almost agent drop season?!? Yup! Agents and managers are finishing up the work of pilot season contracts for their clients who booked and that means they’ll soon be looking at their rosters with an eye toward who needs to be set free. The good news is, this means agents and managers will soon be taking meetings with actors who fit NEW HOLES on those rosters! Woo hoo! Join me over here at 1pm PDT Tuesday for a Facebook Live broadcast about agent drop season and we’ll jam about how to make the most out of this very exciting time!
Oh, and if you want to snag a spot in our SMFA intensive next month? Do so soon. We’re filling up and you don’t want to miss your chance for me to NOT anoint you with your most castable brand. 😉
Looking forward to your thoughts on all of this! Comments are open just below. 🙂
Wanna be sure your tools *and* your mindset are in peak form? Start your 11-day FREE training today!
Rock on, rockstar!