By Hans Obma
This article is by guest writer Hans Obma and is part of a series on marketing and networking in the entertainment industry.
January 2012 marks five years in Los Angeles for me as an actor. In looking back at all I’ve learned and accomplished over those years, I’ve found myself asking: If I could give my 2007 self some advice, what would it be?
First, I would tell myself to enroll at one of the best-known acting schools in Los Angeles. I do not say this because I was horrible at acting when I arrived, or even because agents will be impressed (although they will). I say it because when studying at schools like these, an actor begins to think about possibilities: when classmates book major roles in feature films and television shows, an actor realizes this is possible for himself, too.
Next, I would encourage myself to look at the many possible pursuits and choose the one that made the most sense. It is important that an actor realize there is no one way to succeed. Rather, there are many possible routes.
For example, if an actor passionately thinks commercials will be a step forward for him, then he should pursue them by all means. However, if online sketch comedy, or even legitimate stage roles really excite him, he should pursue one of those. My experience says that neither looking for a prescribed course for success nor pursuing all things at once is wise. However, when an actor is really excited about certain activities, he is more likely to shine and have endurance to continue in them.
I would also tell myself to combine my passion with good business sense. If an actor discovers in himself a vibrant and marketable talent, he should develop it and share it with industry professionals. He should think about possibilities rather than obstacles and choose the platform that makes the best sense.
Additionally, I would tell myself to carefully choose a few people to ask for advice. If a person is enjoying the sort of career I desire, it would be wise to ask for his input. However, it is unwise to ask someone’s advice simply because he has been in Los Angeles longer than I have. For example, actors who have had little success might be extraordinarily talented. However, if I want insight into success, I had better ask someone who has achieved it.
Finally, I would tell myself to cautiously share with others what I have learned. I have followed enough bad advice to know I do not want to give it. However, good advice opens an actor to greater possibilities.
Hans Obma is an actor who is originally from Wisconsin. He enjoys accents and languages, and he speaks English, Spanish, French, Russian and German to varying degrees. You can follow him on Twitter at @hansobma.