Do This One Thing To Accelerate Your Career
There is no progression, without vulnerability. Gee, Sean...Can you be a little more fucking vague?
Vulnerability...A tool for hope.
What, in the actual fuck?
If you want to accelerate your art, your career or your life, then you need to become more vulnerable. I’m not talking about taking more risks. You can have vulnerability without risk. I’m talking about putting yourself out there and becoming the man(or woman) in the arena. Theodore Roosevelt anyone?
If you’re looking for an in depth discussion or explanation on what the fuck vulnerability is, you’ve come to the wrong place. I’ll leave that for Brene Brown to explain, which I highly recommend as she’ll change your life(trust me, she changed mine). No, I’m not here to define the inner workings of the human psyche and how vulnerability plays into it. I’m here to tell my story and explain how I progressed my career, NOT by taking more risks, but by becoming more vulnerable. Let’s dive in.
Ah, yes...The early days. Where it all began for me. Stars in my eyes and the world in front of me. I was going to make it. I was going to be somebody. I was going to be a star!
I studied acting for 3 years after college. As an introvert, this was a difficult art form to explore. It’s more than just getting out of your head and into the scene. It’s more than just listening and responding, honestly. It’s about being vulnerable. Allowing yourself to become comfortable with the things that make you uncomfortable.
There was one type of scene that terrified me back in those days, a romance scene. Plain and simple, I was worried about kissing another actor. Yes, that’s right, I was scared to kiss a girl. My performances in these scenes suffered as I was crippled by fear. I wasn’t allowing myself to be vulnerable. I was too worried about what others thought. I was in my own head. I was a bad actor.
Shortly after my acting days had come to an end, I decided to take up writing. If I couldn’t be in the movies then by god I’ll write the fucking movies. Stars in my eyes and the world in front of me. I was going to make it. I was going to be somebody. I was going to be a star!
For me writing was that sweet spot. Put words on paper, write what you want and nobody sees it. Life was good. That is, until I decided to share my work. A funny thing happens when you share your work. You open yourself up to scrutiny and new thought’s race into your head. You start to think about scenes in a way you never saw them before. I wonder what they’re going to think about that sex scene I wrote? Are they going to think I’m weird? Maybe I shouldn’t have killed that man with a baby rattle on page 14? What have I done?
Well, what I did do is delete scenes or rewrite them. The more I wrote, the less that came out. I didn’t want to be that vulnerable. I didn’t want people to see that side of me. I have a wonderful imagination full of great ideas, I just didn’t want people to know that. I was restricting myself. I was writing terrible scenes. I was a bad writer.
What’s the point of putting words on a page, if you don’t bring them to life on the screen, am I right!? I wrote one script after another, until finally it was time. I was ready. I was going to make my first short film. I was going to be a director. Stars in my eyes and the world in front of me. I was going to make it. I was going to be somebody. I was going to be...ah fuck it.
With my short script in hand, I was ready to start filming. I gathered some gear, called in the troops and we were ready to shoot. The story we had was great. I was going to be the next goddamn Tarantino. Trust me, this thing was fucking genius.
After shooting over the weekend, I had my footage and I was ready to edit! That’s when the realization struck. Why does my film look like this? This doesn’t look like a Tarantino movie. What the fuck happened? Something must’ve gone wrong…
Unwilling to be vulnerable, I didn’t want to share the film. Unfortunately, I’m a man of my word and made a promise to the team. I told them we would make a film and have some work to show. Keeping with my promise to the team, I finished editing and posted THE MOVIE on YouTube for the world to see. My heart sank. I put my work out there. I put myself out there. I let the world know, I was a bad director. Hell, I was a bad filmmaker.
The stories above show a lack of confidence, an unwillingness to be vulnerable. I was afraid. What was the risk of being vulnerable? What was the risk of putting myself out there? Honestly, nothing. So what if someone laughs at me or thinks I’m stupid? I can wear a pair of shoes I enjoy and have somebody make fun of them. That shit happens all the time. There was literally no risk.
Eventually, I overcame my acting fears, it took 3 years. I still wasn’t great, but I certainly wasn’t bad. My writing has since flourished. It only took 4 years to get to a point where I don’t care about the opinion of others. I write what I think is good. I write for me. As for my directing and skills as a filmmaker, I continue to progress. In total, I’ve worked at this for the better part of a decade.
It’s hard to think about where I would be if I would’ve accelerated this process. What if 3 years would’ve been 1? What if 4 was taken down to 2? Don't waste the time you're given, make the most of it. Be confident, be proud, be you. Put yourself out there and take the risk...then take it again. Don't wait, accelerate the process, accelerate your career, be vulnerable.