Why A Good Attitude In Business Is Worth Its Weight In Gold

September 22, 2013 7:13 pm

actorMy type of ‘business’ is sadly neglected in the wider sense of what is perceived to be business. Yet myself and a lot of other actors put in countless hours online, meeting people, shaking hands, impressing, giving ‘presentations’ etc. And get overlooked. It’s somewhat a harsh business; no one on in the inside will tell you different – but it is still a business. And as such, one’s way of dealing with people needs to be top notch in order to get anywhere.

Here’s the example I have to give you. I met a fellow actor at an agency meeting not long back. A talented guy, has been working in the business for years, has all the boxes ticked for how to show himself off and a VERY marketable look. You could literally put him into any lead or support male role, like a Marine, or a Tom Cruise role, Superman (for defs!), or a decent dad – you name it! And I couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t already making many more waves than he was.

But the truth came out over the meeting. He admitted that he didn’t think he got more work because, in his words, he’d “P****d too many people off” with his honesty, such as telling people he didn’t like their work if that was the truth, or the project they’d been involved with together should have done better, or been better shot / written / produced etc.  Over a lot of the meeting, which some of us had put our own stuff on hold to go to, he dominated a lot of the proceedings, taking us off on tangents with his own frustrations and personal problems, while the rest of us were eager to get back to the matter in hand. He had a very obvious feeling of entitlement, which made a lot of us feel uncomfortable. He dismissed a lot of the work he’d been involved with thus far as being ‘crap’ (who would invite anyone back to work with them once they’d gotten some proper funding together and didn’t want to work with someone whose attitude stunk?)  And, to cap it off, it was everybody else’s fault that he wasn’t more successful.  Why haven’t his agents got him this, that, or the other? Why isn’t he getting more work, bigger roles, better auditions, more regular call-backs? Why should he have to do that, in order to get this?  Why does he have to ‘think positive’, when nothing IS positive for him right now?

actingHe’s a classic example of someone who is in his own way in terms of getting on and the worst thing is, despite the efforts of those leading the meeting, he couldn’t see it.   And without realizing, he made a good few anti-fans while we were there, because we didn’t appreciate how he conducted himself with us in a group setting.  I’d happily act with him, but I don’t know, if I got to that level in the industry, whether I’d actually hire him…

This is because of the great unwritten rule – Don’t Rub People Up The Wrong Way in The Industry.  No matter if they’re douches themselves, no matter if you guys have never spoken a day in your lives or are best friends and are having a Whose Turn Is It To Do The Dishes problem.  Whether or not people like you is SO monumentally important.

This rule, of course, is not applicable just to the actors industry, to any stretch of the imagination. This is a wide-scale thing. People need to know that they’re going to have people on their side, doing what’s needed of them and generally making their working lives a little easier when they come in in the morning.  People who take the initiative now and again.  People who don’t always complain or blame other people when things inevitably slip up.

job interviewThere are, however, usually people known as the Office Grump. But do you realize how the Office Grump is so rarely in line for promotion? How they hang out with friends, but are never the life and soul of the proceedings, so may not be properly noticed by the people that matter, perhaps?  It is true that it SHOULDN’T be as based on personality as it is, and it should be more about your ability or your work ethic etc., but the fact is that with person-to-person interaction in the business world being so vital for smooth task-completion and a general boost in productivity due to a good overall mood, it actually counts for a LOT.

Look at it this way. If you’re interviewing people to be part of your team and you have two people, which one do you choose? The first, who is super qualified and can do the job with their eyes closed, but seems to have a chip on their shoulder and who may, in fact, make your own productivity slump a little bit with infectious bad mood? Or the second, who can still just about do the job, who will be able to pick up the couple of things they don’t know pretty quickly, because they’ve got that great Can-Do attitude and an awesome, winning personality? You may tell yourself that you’d try and pick the former, but remember, you’ve got to WORK with this person. For what may be years to come! Are you actually going to pick someone with a perceptibly bad attitude over someone who may just perk you up instead?

This is why it’s so important to keep positive, be nice and courteous to people (and yes, lots of them will be aware that at least some of it is a front) and don’t rub people up the wrong way.

Good luck with your business endeavors. Just remember that a few more nice people in the world makes everybody else feel better…

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