Disrespecting My Roots
About ten years ago, while I was on the road leading corporate diversity and inclusion training with my team of professional actors, I made a disrespectful comment in public about actors being all about emotions and not have much business sense. One member of my team, Andy Fox – one of the finest actors I’ve ever had the privilege to work with – had the courage to take me to task about it.
Andy reminded me, in no uncertain terms, how difficult it is to survive and thrive as a professional actor. “All everyone sees,” he said, “is the few Hollywood A-listers who have made it big. People think that all actors are living the good life. They don’t know that at any given time, 99% of all unionized actors are out of work, sometimes for years at a time. They don’t know that there are many talented actors out there who just never got a decent break.”
He’s right. A long time ago I worked as a professional actor myself in New York and the UK. I can’t tell you how many auditions I went on without even getting a thank you, let alone a callback. I eventually became so discouraged, I turned to writing, directing and producing, figuring that I’d just “do it myself” instead of relying on someone else to cast me. But not many actors have the desire or skills to write, direct and produce; they want to act, it’s what they live for.
After Andy set me straight, I apologized and he graciously accepted it. But, as someone who is trying to live up to my own standards as a Respectful Leader, I need to do better. So to all actors wherever you may be; I sincerely apologize for my disrespectful behavior. It won’t happen again. I honor your commitment and spirit, and I thank you for your talents and skills.