I watch interviews with great actors all the time. I do it to try and get inside their heads, so I can think what they think and try to approach the craft from their point of view. Many times it's as fascinating as it is valuable. But one thing has always rankled me. It was the idea that: "If you're doing it for the money, you're doing it for the wrong reasons." The reason it rankled me was that they were completely right, but they were leaving something out.
They left me confused and disempowered. Am i supposed to pretend that the money isn't part of the end goal? Am I supposed to pretend that it doesn't exist or that I don't want it? Is the only way to honourably make it, to first suffer and be a starving artist. No, no and no. What they left out is that this should be true in nearly any industry and I'll tell you why: as I pointed out in my last post "CRAP JOBS CREATE CRAP ACTORS: WHY YOUR SECOND JOB IS KILLING YOU." Poor people work for money, whereas rich people make money work for them and when they do work, rich people work to learn.
Quite simply for actors; our reason to work shouldn't be motivated by money, that would just make acting another depressing, meaningless job, we should rise to a greater purpose, or develop a greater "why". We should do something because our emotional connection to it is strong, or because the idea of doing it makes us feel like a kid in a candy store, because the story is so important we feel it HAS to be told, that people NEED to hear it because it has the potential to make a positive impact on society.
With a strong non monetary purpose for why you act, as you work and garner more success along your journey, the money generated from your acting will inevitably take care of itself. But at that point it will simply be in addition to the high you already get from fulfilling your purpose! In the meantime you should absolutely be focused on earning money in other areas and making that money work for you, by building up your asset base. The idea that actors have to be poor before they make it is false advertising. There may be plenty of success stories that popularise this myth but really, you've got a much better chance of making it, if you have the leverage to make your career choices from an empowered point of view. A money conscious point of view.
In "Think and Grow Rich" Napoleon Hill preaches that the desire for riches and being money conscious is the corner stone of attaining great wealth.
In "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" Robert T. Kiyosaki says that a little greed is the perfect cure for laziness. That we should switch from saying "I can't afford it" to "How can I afford it?" to force us to think and search for answers.
More recently in "The Four Hour Work Week" Timothy Ferris describes using the adrenalin rush of setting unrealistic goals to make things happen: "I'll run through walls to get a catamaran trip through the greek islands, but I might not change my brand of cereal for a weekend trip through Columbus, Ohio."
Even Eleanor Roosevelt said; "Do what you feel in your heart to be right - for you'll be criticised anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't."
So when successful actors tell us not to act for money, they do us a disservice by not saying do something else for money and act as well. Because to act solely for money is to devalue it as a passion and instead turn it into a job. But to be wealthy as you pursue your acting career means you have options, opportunities and the ability to make choices that other people simply can't make.
Fly to LA, get a world class showreel, pay professionals to do all of your marketing, do a once in a lifetime workshop with a brilliant teacher, travel the world, live overseas, gain priceless life experiences while your there, let those experiences inform your work, produce your own film or play, learn from the act of doing it and pay for it all through assets that make money work for you.
This way, by defining what we do for money and acting as two separate things we actually become empowered. We'll make money from acting anyway, but it wont be why we do it! Many people set themselves the goal of achieving all of their income, solely through acting and maybe that works for them. But for me it limits you and makes you a slave to your pay cheque. If you set up income streams outside of your acting and still pursue your acting with all the vigour you can muster, the money will come, but you wont need it and it wont be the reason why you act.
Wishing you love and inspiration!
Film and Theatre Actor Based in Sydney. Creator of Script Gym. Lover of Stories.