One of the things I teach in our outstandingly badass 100-day membership program is that we — artists, creatives — are leaders.

Look. I know “leader” is a word that makes some people cringe. Especially creatives that specifically love escaping into other identities and worlds they’ve helped construct. That feels like disappearing, not leading.

Ah… but hon, you know it IS leadership, right?

First off, there’s just the plain and simple MATH of it all.

Specifically, there are approximately 500,000 actors on the planet.

That’s 160,000 members of SAG-AFTRA. That’s another 100,000 nonunion actors in the States. That’s 38,000 actors in the UK (both union and nonunion). Actors all over in the larger minor markets we often talk about around the world… and then there’s all the actors in the less-discussed massive entertainment hubs of China and India.

500,000 folks — and only 14,560 are considered “employed” as actors in Los Angeles (that number is 8270 for New York, 2020 for Chicago, BTW — so that covers the three largest markets on the planet, in case you were wondering). And of the approximately 40,000 “employed” actors worldwide, just over 1400 are considered “name actors.”

Name actors, of course, are folks whose “bankability” is unquestionable. Their attachment to projects alone (meaning, script may suck, director may not yet be settled upon, locations not locked, etc.) triggers up-front sales into worldwide distribution.

For series, these folks have development deals with networks years in advance. If you were to sit down and try to make a list of every “name actor,” you would get stuck before you got to all 1400, since many are Bollywood stars you’ve probably never heard of.

Small fraternity of folks. Yet most who grow up hoping to get into show business believe they’ll be among them. And we may be!

For those of us who have showrunner aspirations, we’re looking at fewer than 500 people stateside encompassing the folks who staff the writers rooms at all networks *and* new media (450 scripted series on the air in traditional television, another 50 on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon). Showrunners who also act? We’re still in single digits, there. *waves at Donald Glover*

By being in this world, lovelies, you’ve chosen a life as a leader.

And this is precisely why your path often feels unchartable.

Leaders create the paths. But when you don’t KNOW you’re a leader — when you don’t KNOW you’re creating the path others will someday follow — you run around looking for someone to draw you a map to your destination.

And unless you’re besties with J-Lo, you don’t get a lot of casual tips on how you really *can* build a career in which you have it all… after starting out as a featured dancer on a low-rated fourth-network variety sketch show (back when “fourth-network” was a huge insult).

So… what does it mean to be a leader?

As I tell my beautiful clients and members of this life-changing program — even in an environment where I’m helping you along your creative journey like a mo’ fo’ — leadership is lonely. You WILL encounter opportunities for which you have no one else to look to, in making your next move.

You’re gonna have to trust your gut.

How can you start doing that? I’d love to know what leadership means to you. Comments are open just below. Show some leadership action and share how you get comfy with the fact that JUST by choosing a creative career, you are a leader!

Three things before we wrap up today’s BonBlast:

~ I’m going live again on Monday and I’d love to know what topic you’d like me to cover! Share with me below and I’ll make it happen. πŸ™‚
~ Alumni! Your deadline for applying to my exclusive mind-body mastermind Expansive Capacity for July is Tuesday! Our topic is “Your Relationship with Time.” Ooh! Can’t wait!
~ Come participate in this superfun survey at our SMFA Ninjas Facebook group in which I ask you to share the tip I’ve given that you remember most (you can pop your answer in the comments below if you’re not a Facebooker).

Thank you so much, you beautiful people! πŸ™‚

’til the next BonBlast, stay fab!

Bonnie Gillespie autographed the internet

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

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  1. Mercedes Rose June 25, 2019 at 12:18 am

    I love this all so hard! Personally, I have always embraced the lable “leader” but what do you expect from an Aries? And a redhead! Forging my own path is like a big game to me. I love to try to figure out what might work. One way to look at it is : “Don’t reinvent the wheel, just put your own spin on it!” And with all that newness comes the occasional hard punch. As they say in Moneyball “The first guy through the wall β€” he always gets bloody.” Bring on the blood, I am ready!

    1. Ninja Erin June 25, 2019 at 3:28 pm

      YEAH you are!! ❀

  2. Sean Frost June 25, 2019 at 5:58 am

    Things go best for me when I rely on that voice in the back of my head, the Holy Spirit. And on my God-given instincts, which I have questioned so often that I have wondered whether they were simply dull. But the bottom line is to trust how you were made and go from there.

  3. Nazneen Akhtar Rahim June 25, 2019 at 7:36 am

    I realized that I am unique and it’s my uniqueness that is my advantage! I hope to find my place in the industry and will keep going and having fun! We are leaders, I never thought of it that way but it’s true, we pave our own paths to the careers we want.

    1. Ninja Erin June 25, 2019 at 3:29 pm

      Love it!


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