I have showed you a video on how to find your Pride Words and Dark Word, and what I call your Level 2 Brand.
If you haven't watched it yet, check it out here.
we talked about the three levels of branding:
It's only when you find a deep purpose beyond yourself for acting (what I call your Acting Purpose) – that you begin to see changes.
When you find a purpose beyond yourself (one that others can get behind) is when you activate the other 90% of your brain – the unconscious part – to begin firing on all cylinders to get you to where you want to be.
The key for a great Acting Purpose is that you MUST find a purpose bigger than yourself – something other people will want to get behind.
This is why The Wright Brothers discovered flight before anyone else, including the well-funded scientists of the time.
The scientists wanted to discover flight because they wanted to become famous and rich (a self-centered reason).
The Wright Brothers had almost no money, but they wanted it because of what being able to fly meant to them, and how they knew it would change the world and help people.
Their passion was so inspiring that it encouraged tons of people to help them, and they wound up discovering flight first.
Watch this amazing TED-X talk by Simon Sinek about why discovering a deeper purpose for what you do is so powerful:
How to Find Your "Passion Brand"
Okay... Now, I'm assuming you've figured out your Level 2 Brand and you've already found your Pride Words and Dark Word (again, you can watch the video here if you haven't).
Now let's pretend your brand is "an intelligent, friendly, and honest gang member who can be selfish at times."
Now, ready to figure out your Level 3 Passion Brand?
Here's how to do it. We're first going to figure out your Acting Purpose, so just answer each of the following questions, one by one:
Now that you know your acting purpose, the final step is to combine it with your brand and remove your Type and Dark Word.
YOUR LEVEL 2 BRAND: I'm an intelligent, friendly, and honest gang member who can be selfish at times.
YOUR LEVEL 3 PASSION BRAND: I help the world become more open-minded through my intelligence, friendliness, and honesty.
Now that you've completed this process, I'd love to hear from you:
What is your Passion Brand?
Please reply in the comments to let me know.
we consciously only use 10% of our brain but imagine if there were a way to access all 100%? How much more effective would you be?
A BIG difference between majorly successful people and everyone else is that they've figured out how to put a much bigger portion of their brains towards accomplishing their goals.
They've learned to turn on their unconscious mind.
How I Found My Purpose
A few years ago, I was absolutely obsessed with Asian martial arts films. Donnie Yen was my hero.
One day, while scanning through Netflix, I happened to come across a Chinese television series called The Legend of Bruce Lee.
I turned on the first episode and guess what I found out? Bruce Lee was a cha-cha dancer before he did kung fu!
He was just like me, in the sense that he had no real idea of what he wanted to do with his life. He wasn't from a wealthy family and he had no connections.
One day however, he got really interested in kung fu because of a fight he was in with some bullies at school.
He then became obsessed with everything about kung fu, and after a number of years of studying he eventually found himself in the United States.
He learned that no one in the U.S. had ever heard of kung fu or had any idea that China was the original inventor of martial arts!
And that's when he became obsessed with showing the world that China deserved more respect and should not be called the "Sick Man of East Asia" (as people used to say).
As Bruce became obsessed with bringing respect back to China, he started to realize that that was his true life purpose – it was the only thing he really cared about.
He took crazy risks and continuously put himself on the line for what he believed in, because if he didn't achieve his life-goal, what would be the point of even existing?
As I watched the show and saw how incredible his achievements were, and how much he was willing to sacrifice for what he believed in, along with the level of success, fame, and fortune he achieved in the process, I couldn't help but think to myself, "this is all because he found his purpose - his reason for being."
As I realized that, I began to think about all the other majorly successful people in life... those who've become mega famous, wealthy and/or successful, or those whose names have been remembered throughout time.
Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Rosa Parks, Helen Keller, Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama, Steven Spielberg, Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, Jesus Christ, and many, many others.
What do they all have in common? They all found a life purpose they believed so strongly in that they sacrificed years of their lives and moved mountains to make it a reality because not only did they believe it was possible, but they believed they were the ones meant to achieve it, and that in the end, it would absolutely be worth the sacrifice.
After I realized this, I couldn't sleep at all that night.
Why? Because I had no idea what my own life purpose was!
But I knew at least one thing: the only way for me to reach the biggest goals in my life would be to discover my life purpose and then work to achieve it.
So What Did I Discover?
Deep down I knew I could be doing more with my life and business.
If there's one lesson I've learned over the past decade of running my business, it's this: The only way to move beyond the realm of "good enough" is to ask yourself the following question:
"How can I go about helping and serving others at the deepest level and in a way that will truly change their lives?"
And that's when I realized exactly what needed to change:
I needed to begin working with actors to help them market themselves and find more work. I wanted to help actors become leaders in their careers (rather than simply taking headshots for them).
And so I began creating YouTube videos. I began writing in-depth articles, doing interviews with industry experts, and much more. And I've put all kinds of content out there for free.
Actors are seeing results. And many come back for my much more in-depth, paid content.
It took me ten years to figure it out. But I'm passionate about my work again. I'm waking up early in the morning excited to answer all kinds of emails from actors who read and engage with my content.
And best of all, I'm actually having a genuine impact on the lives of the thousands of actors who read my material:
The truth is, when you find your true passion and purpose, EVERYTHING will change.
And that's why I want to talk about two things: Your "Acting Purpose" and your "Passion Brand."
The Three Levels of Branding
There are three levels to branding, but unfortunately most actors never get past Level 1.
Here's a super quick outline:
This is how you'll take your brand to the next level – and it's perfect as we begin to go into the [hopefully better] new year of 2021.
watch this video to discover your Level 2 Brand.
Make sure to write down your Pride Words and Dark Word!
As a film director who studied at NYU and shot and directed two feature-length films (plus cast for a lot more, including Screener Shoots every week), I've seen TONS of audition mistakes.
The worst have included showing up late, telling me I'm wrong when I give notes to try it a different way (yes, this happens), and at the end of the audition, handing me a business card while asking me to keep them in mind for future productions (will any casting director really do that?).
But these mistakes, though obviously wrong, are not what I want to discuss today.
Instead, I'm going to outline five key issues in auditions that are a bit more subtle – things you might not even realize you're doing. If you can fix these things, I can almost guarantee you'll start booking more work.
Scroll down to read about each of these five mistakes.
Feel free to use these as a checklist for your own auditions and self-tape submissions:
If you think any of these mistakes applies to you, I encourage you to sign up for my Ace the Audition private coaching session.
I'll help you find the quickest and most actionable ways to improve your performance and fix some of these issues. I'll even show you an effective "outside the industry" strategy to prepare for auditions.
What is your typical audition preparation process, and what do you struggle with most around auditioning?
Comment and let me know, I look forward to seeing what you write!
I remember my first headshot session ever (back in March, 2009).
I honestly didn't even know what a headshot was at the time but a friend of mine asked me to help him out, so we went into the park to do some pictures.
I remember how difficult I found the process. He kept asking how he looked, and I honestly didn't know what to say besides things like, "Looking good! Tilt your chin down and give me a bigger smile."
Luckily we got a few nice shots, but many of them looked awkward and weird, and many of his smiles looked fake.
At the end of the shoot, I asked if he had ever taken headshots before.
He told me he had, and that it was a similarly awkward experience.
"Was that shoot free too?" I asked.
"No, I think I paid like $400 or something... but I guess you get what you pay for."
What? A photographer charged him $400 for headshots and he wasn't happy???
I couldn't believe it.
And how much did good headshots cost if he thought $400 was cheap?
Well, that's what got me hooked.
It was then that I decided I wanted to create a headshot company that would be focused primarily on expression.
I wanted to make sure every single person I worked with was comfortable and relaxed so they would have fantastic expressions in their shots.
And so it began (the tagline says it all):
Besides focusing strongly on expression, I also didn't want to just take nice pictures and then tell my clients, "Good luck!"
I actually wanted to help people use their headshots effectively to get more work.
I'd love to help you with some great headshots next, !
If you're still debating whether to invest in a headshot session with us, here's some great info on how we work.
Our number one priority is that everyone we shoot with absolutely loves their headshot, or we don't charge them.
Have you ever been to JFK? It's a mess - so crowded, no parking, and it seems like no one has any idea what they're doing. And on your way there, no matter where you're coming from, you're always going to be stuck in a ton of traffic.
I had a 3pm flight scheduled, and I'm generally someone who HATES feeling rushed, so I like to leave for airports at least three hours before the flight is scheduled to take off.
I was dragging my luggage along and saw a cab and hailed it.
I got in, and it turned out to be some weirdo guy who had no idea what was going on...
"Where are you going?" he asked.
"JFK," I replied.
"Oh, JFK! Okay. Can I turn the meter off?"
What? Why would he want to turn the meter off?
That made me feel a bit uncomfortable. Aren't cabs supposed to always have the meter on so you know you're not being overcharged?
"I'd prefer you keep the meter on," I said.
The cab driver then proceeded to explain to me that it's a flat $52 fare, and if I could pay him cash, it would be really helpful so that he could keep a larger share of it.
Well, I personally don't know the rules, and I really felt uncomfortable doing that, but instead of going with my gut and sticking to my first decision, I said okay.
We started driving, and then a couple minutes later he turned back to me and asked another question:
"Which way would you like me to go?"
Hmmm... I have no idea... Whichever way is fastest, no? Maybe the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel?
Instead, I opened my mouth and what came out was the following: "I trust you, just go whichever way you think is best."
The cab driver now looked as confused as I felt.
Dammit. Why did I just say that?
After about 25 minutes, I noticed we were somewhere in the middle of Chinatown near the Lower East Side.
What in the hell?
"Where are we?" I asked.
"I don't know," came the reply.
Oh my god.
Suddenly the cab driver randomly started cursing and yelling out the window at some pedestrian.
Another few minutes passed, and he looked back at me and said, "Don't worry, I will reach JFK for you."
This was NOT good.
Another hour passed, and we were still nowhere near the airport.
We were stuck in standstill traffic and the cab driver seemed to be mumbling to himself angrily about drivers who didn't know how to drive.
Oh, the irony.
Another thirty minutes passed, me feeling horribly worried the whole time (and experiencing the awful feeling of having drunk too much coffee).
FINALLY we got to the airport. Luckily I still had about 30 minutes until the flight took off, but the security lines were INSANE.
Well, long story short, I made it just in time to my plane and was one of the last people to board.
So why am I telling this ridiculous story?
Well, besides learning that I can't always trust cab drivers to know where they're going, I also learned another important lesson that day:
Being decisive and not letting people control what you say and do is crucial in life.
Throughout your time on this planet (and especially in your acting career), you're going to run into hundreds or even thousands of people who will try to tell you that what you're doing isn't the best decision, and that you should change your thinking or strategy.
Don't just follow someone's advice without first thinking hard!
You need to consciously choose who to listen to and why.
If a casting director says you need a new headshot because the background is too dark or a friend mentions you're not getting enough work because you don't have an agent, that does NOT mean you suddenly need to pay for new headshots or spend the next three months looking for an agent!
Think about what your goals are long term and when people give you their advice, write it down in a safe place to consider when the time is right. The more you just trust random people without truly asking yourself whether what they're suggesting is going to fit within your long term plans, the more you're bound to stay stuck.
And hold the same standards for me too! Just because I'm giving you tips doesn't mean you should take action on what I say immediately if it doesn't fit within your goals.
I think I'd like to sum up this email with a simple quote by Raymond Hull:
"He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away."
Earning money on the side is NOT about being scammy, but about providing real value.
You're not TAKING from people, but GIVING to them when you decide to start a freelance business.
You're helping people solve their problems, and they might pay you $100 – or 4 hours of their time if they make $25/hr – for something you've spent YEARS learning to do.
Good trade when you think of it that way, right?
Well, today I want to talk to you about how I started a photography business that serves THOUSANDS of clients each year... and I NEVER had any formalized photography training.
Yes, you heard that right.
I built the #1 rated headshot business in NYC (according to Google & Yelp), and never took a single photography class (except some super basic little Photography 101 class in my first year of college). I do not have a degree in photography.
My family was not in the photography business, nor did they have ANYTHING to do with the entertainment business. My mom raised my sister and me, and my dad worked in finance.
But from a young age, I enjoyed taking photos for fun, and I wanted to shoot weddings.
When I was in high school, a friend of mine mentioned his sister was getting married, and asked if I had ever shot an event before because they were looking for a videographer.
I told him I hadn't, and that I'd think about it and get back to them.
I was scared.
What if I messed up?? What if I missed the most important moments, like the kiss?
What if my camera battery died in the middle of it?
What if I screwed up and ruined their wedding??
What if, what if, what if....
Well, suddenly and somehow almost miraculously, my mind switched.
Instead of asking "What if I failed...." I asked myself, "What if I succeeded?"
And in that moment, everything changed.
What if it went well?
What if they referred me to all their friends?
What if instead of backing away, I went all in and figured out how to properly shoot a wedding?
What if I could build a successful business?
As they say, "No risk, no reward."
So I went for it.
I pushed through my fears and said yes, and I shot that wedding.
And sure, it wasn't perfect, but they got a HUGE discount ($400 for the whole video PLUS editing), and they loved it.
And they DID tell their friends.
And over the course of time, I slowly built my business into what it is today.
And no client EVER asks me about my photography credentials and certifications.
If you LOVE doing something – and it helps people in some way – you owe it to yourself AND the world to share it and turn it into a business.
Like my friend Mitch Barrett, an actor who created an amazing business coaching CEO's to reach higher success. Check out an interview I did with him here to learn how he built that business and how you can build your own.
The truth is, if you do what you love and help people in the process, not only will you earn more money, but you'll also enjoy life and feel fulfilled.
You'll be doing good in the world, earning money for it, and living a happier life.
Watch the video below (originally made for actors, but anyone can use it), where I outline the EXACT steps you can take to find your first paying client.
And next week, I'm going to be announcing an in-depth workshop I'll be running in November on creating a freelance business, so be on the lookout for my email Monday morning!
Imagine living in a world where money was non-existent and everyone could just do what they loved no matter what. What would you do?
I know what I'd do - I'd probably spend a few months traveling the world and seeing all kinds of cool places, enjoying great food, and meeting cool people.
I'd then turn my attention to film directing and possibly look into shooting an awesome horror film I wrote years ago called Footsteps.
What would you do? Take a moment and think, and write your answer down.
Keep your answer in mind for when your acting career really starts taking off!
Now unfortunately, the nature of the world would make it completely impossible for money not to exist.
Why? Because most people wouldn't want to serve others for free.
For instance - me wanting to travel the world... what kind of pilot would fly back and forth every day without being paid?
And wanting to try all those delicious foods around the world? Who would be willing to make them if they're not being paid?
The truth of the matter is that most things would fall apart if money weren't involved!
So that's why I want to talk a bit about money management today. I'd like to introduce you to what I call The 20/30/50 Rule. Here's how it works:
First, I’m going to assume you already have some sort of part-time or full-time job that earns you a specific amount of income each month.
Now you need to figure out how much money you make each month on average. Even if it changes, find your baseline income. Let’s pretend you have a part-time job that earns about $1,500 a month and you also make at least $300 per month from acting.
This means you bring in $1,800 per month on average.
Now, take that $1,800 and subtract your monthly required living expenses. Let’s say you have $700 rent each month, and then another $700 in utilities, food, etc.
If we subtract your monthly costs, $1,800 minus $700 minus $700 equals $400 left over.
Take that $400 and divide it up into percentages, 20%, 30%, and 50%.
Take this money and put it into separate accounts or sub-accounts (or just keep track of the totals) so you know how much you can spend (you can use apps or bank account automations for this, just Google it).
Try not to spend it each month unless you absolutely have to - the goal is that you save it up over time so you eventually have plenty of money lying around when you need it.
If you strictly follow this for a year or two, not only will you have plenty of money to further your career, have fun, and have a safety net for slower times, but you’ll also have built a savings mindset that will help you greatly in the long run!
After just one year? You'd have $960 in Savings, $1,440 for Fun Money, and $2,400 for your Acting Career.
And if you kept going for 5 years? $4,800 in Savings, $7,200 in Fun Money, and $12,000 for your Acting Career.
Are you motivated to save yet? You should be. And those numbers could be way bigger if you continue working on increasing your income each month.
And even if you don't think you have enough to save, just start with $20 each month and split it up ($4 Savings, $6 Fun Money, and $10 Career). After a few months of doing this consistently you'll feel motivated to start saving more!