***This blog entry was written by Carr Hagerman, an exclusive NUTS VO talent, accomplished public speaker, author, and performer.***
Last night, I had an engaging conversation with the young daughter of some friends of mine. She’s an energetic, articulate 21 year old with stunning good looks and a sparkling jewel of a personality; and she wants to get into talent work. She definitely has the right physical and mental attributes, but lacks the requisite experience and confidence needed to pursue it much further. It is also apparent that her parents believe a college degree is critical, and pursuing a creative career is nothing short of a nice part-time fantasy.
Her parents may, of course, be correct. The work of the professional talent is not the wise career choice if you seek stability and predictability. As we age and the options narrow for working talent, we might regret that we didn’t follow a more traditional career path- particularly as we ponder the small black print of our savings account statement.
Regardless of its challenges, we’re happily here in this business, following the dance steps we know so well. The auditions, the callbacks, the gigs, the phone calls and more phone calls. Most of us can’t imagine a life doing anything else, and while we kind-of-sort-of remember the rough road we took to get started; we may feel this is all we’ve ever done.
So then, it is all the more remarkable when we have finally earned professional respect and we’ve paid our dues to become a talent, that we don’t do more to promote this agency and this industry to others, or to encourage the new comers who have arrived and are building their resume. We know how hard it was to get started in this work. Yet, there is a surprising lack of an apprentice system or a career development path to help new faces become successful. We may even view new talent as something of a compound threat: as they become more competitive they stand to take away the limited dollars that are floating around. But we shouldn’t covet our experience or hoard our insights. I believe we’re better off paying it forward and discovering the amazing benefits that arrive when we share of ourselves and our experiences in this industry.
It seems to me that we’d all benefit if part of our tacit contract for being in this industry was to help one another more, including guiding those new players who want to learn and become successful. Sure, they could hire a coach and attend classes, but they’d be shortchanged from the kind of insights that come from casual conversations with other members of this NUTS team. It’s like the old saying, “If you raise the water level in the lake, all the boats float higher.”
Let’s help others by engaging in encouraging conversations about how great this business is and what we’ve learned. It will strengthen not only this agency and this industry, but also ourselves. After all, it’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be. When we help perfect the growth of those around us, it’s the giveaway that gives back.