Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The REALITY of your chances at stardom..

Hello and welcome again to the moviestar chronicle. I appreciate all the feedback. If you want to holla at me, leave a comment on this blog or hit me on twitter @MoviestarAhmad :)

Reality and the film business are connect but not. Some films are based on true stories or inspired by true events, sure. Of course there is a new "hot" reality television show being cast every day which I ALWAYS get emails for. I dont know what about me or my look says reality TV. If someone has the answer to this PLEASE let me know. Anyhow, the reality I am talking about is the reality of your chances of "success" in this business. For that matter, your chances of big success in any industry or business.

Here is where I mix art, science and mentality with the mentality being the operative factor. If you got into my business at all, you dont care much about the "odds". You can easily find stats and formulas that will tell you that your chances are slim and none of making it in the business. For those of you who want to make the "slim just left town" joke go ahead and insert it here :) I would argue that if you want to be a professional athlete, CEO of a Fortune 500 company, a Singer or Ballet Dancer, A best selling author or any one of various prestigious jobs, your chances (on the surface) are slim and none. Thats FINE. Im here to tell you how you can adjust your mind to understand why you WILL succeed.

The one thing I keep telling myself is that EVERYONE gets one chance. You dont deserve anything beyond that..however if you work hard and are doing it for the right reasons the gods of your endeavour will give you one opportunity. By right reasons I mean you are into it because you love it and you think you can contribute positively to the advancement of your industry. If, as an actor for example, you come to town just because you want to be famous and have people take pics of you at restaurants, you might get some fame but that fame will destroy you as quickly as it came. That being said, if you are doing anything and you feel that it is what you are meant to do with your life, you WILL get a shot. You have to train in whatever you do to get your skill up to par, develop your confidence and poise as you will need it to fight through the rejection. Work on your fitness (another column to come :)) as you have to have the physical power to keep it moving forward. Feed your intelligence to be able to solve problems and relate to the people you interact with in your business. Getting that shot comes as a gift from the fates..after that its TOTALLY on you.

When I was much younger, we visited my sister in LA and her boyfriend at the time. He was an actor (that shall remain nameless) and a pretty successful one at the time. Not a houseld name or a full movie star but a successful tv actor. How successful? He started as a standup comic and has played at all the major comedy clubs in LA and around the country when he was on the grind as an artist. He had a solo comedy monologe on the tonight show, which was a huge deal at the time for a comic. To top it all off, he had a full season on ABC of a sit-com that he was the star of. Not bad right? Today he isnt nearly the star that he was at that time. That is completely immaterial. Why? Because no matter where he is today, and he is still acting, he CANNOT say that he didnt have a shot in town. I remember him being nice and down to earth. He showed us some of his indie film projects and some video of his standup routines without a hint of arrogance. It was really cool to me as a kid and this is when I had no idea I wanted to be an actor. When we talked about why he was an actor he said that it was the most fun thing he ever did. Sounds to me like the definition of the right reason, right? All he did was keep refining his craft, keep going forward and eventually he got a shot! He got a full season as the lead of a sitcom to show the whole country and world his talent. After that its on YOU! You have to be ready to unleash your charisma, talent, charm, desire and TALENT on the world. So long as you are ready to commit to that, YOU CAN SUCCEED AT ANYTHING.

Everyone deserves a shot guys. I do, you do..the person next to you does. You have to be prepared when your moment comes because if you are not ready, its YOUR fault. Not anyone elses. So as for me, i keep working on my acting, working on my voice lessons, keeping myself and shape and staying focused on my art as opposed to fame. Ups and downs happend and im not worried...because I will GET my shot and I promise you all I will take that opportunity and run with it. If you are reading this, PREPARE for your opportunity and when it comes you wont be overwhelmed, you will be READY. Good luck and go be a STAR in whatever you want to do. Mediocrity stay away from it.

No quote of the week this time...just read this post and internalize that you will get a chance


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Your legacy...or R.I.P. Whitney

Thanks for reading guys and girls! It always surprises who checks out this blog. So thank you all, again :)

By now we have all heard the news that Whitney Houston has passed away in Beverly Hills, CA. For those who are unaware she was unquestionably one of the greatest artists of her generation and is an American singing icon. Her vocal power will sing on in eternity in the minds of her millions of fans world wide. You would think that this is her legacy, but by watching media reports you would "discover" that her legacy is her admitted drug use and public issues related to her ex husband.

Ahh, the joy of the sexier Hollywood story. Its true, the drug use is just a much a part of her story as the 6 Grammy awards. Her marriage to Bobby Brown, and all the issues associated with it, stands side by side with the 4 number 1 albums she created in her career. If you really break down her ENTIRE career and life, you will find that Whitney Houston spent a greater percentage of her time creating legendary music and being a star than she did being a train-wreck. Why is it that we hear so much about her negative years? Because that's what sells papers and tabloids. That's more of what people want to hear. Is it fair. HELL NO...and that's exactly why we should discuss it.

To all my fellow artists who read this blog let's be clear, eventually bad news about you will be far more marketable than the good news. Actors, musicians, painters, writers will be far more "exciting" of a story for you to be caught for a DUI than it will be for you to be volunteering over the holidays. Its not fair, its not right, it doesn't make us feel good..Its just the way it goes. Unlike most professions, as an artist you have to consider your legacy from the early portion of your career. Doing great work in your craft is paramount! Growing as an artist and pushing the creative envelope will one of the things you want to be part of your legacy. Along with that, you want to be known for how much you give back to both your family, fans, and those in the world far less fortunate than ye. I know some of my readers are reminding me of my belief that "you shouldn't care what people say or think about you". That is true! You cant care if you are going to be a remarkable artist. At the same time, you don't want to leave people with negative things they can talk about instead of talking about your art. Again, YOUR ART is most important. You have to control your demons. One thing I plan on telling news outlets as I get more famous is that I am fortunate that I wasn't famous when I was stumbling out of nightclubs drunk and throwing up on the sidewalk.

So you don't believe me..and want to test my legacy theory? you go. I'm going to list some of Whitney Houston's accomplishments..

2 Emmy Awards
4 US Number 1 Albums
6 Grammy Awards
11 Number 1 Songs
22 American Music Awards
30 Billboard Music Awards
170 Million albums,singles, and videos sold worldwide

Now, next time you are in Starbucks or someplace random, ask a random person "what do you think of when I mention Whitney Houston?". See what they say..

Live your life for your art, gang. When you hit that vein artistic genius, like Whitney did, leap more into your art instead of going into your demons (which we all have). I pray that when I find my acting genius, that I stay on set and film film film to put that genius on the big screen

Quote of the week...
"A few people of integrity can go a long way"

Thanks for reading!!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Getting the most out of 2012..and beyond

I continue to be surprised by folks reading my blog. THANK YOU ALL! :) So I keep on writing...

I use this blog to do a number of things. One of them is share helpful things taught to me over the years. Its not all original knowledge but my goal is to share with you so that the information is fresh in my mind as well. In other words, teach once learn it twice. Today we are going to talk about how to get the most out of YOU and in turn the most out of your year. Its all about goal setting.

Like I said, not new information. What might be different for those of you who do set goals is the way that I have been taught to go about it. I first started setting formal goals at the end of my Sophomore year heading into my Junior year in high school. When I look back on that first year I did it, I accomplished more things in that year that I did in my previous years. Not that I didn't do anything positive, but I certainly lacked the focus that comes along with having a set of goals that you are shooting for. As for the format, I set S.M.A.R.T. goals for myself every year. For my goals to qualify as such, they have to fulfill the criteria taught to me and refined by other mentors over the years. The goals must be:

Specific: Your goals must be as specific as possible. This is the beginning of focusing your efforts towards what you really want. IE don't say "I want to get in better shape", say "I want to lose 20lbs"
Measurable: You must be able to measure your progress towards the goal and know when you have arrived there. It could be number of lbs lost of amount you want to put in savings.
Attainable: The goals must be something you can do. If you want to win a gold medal in the Olympics next year and its not an Olympic year, that's a pointless goal.
Related to your career: If you are an actor, and you have 10 goals and only 1 of them is related to acting either your career is going so well that you can focus on other things or you aren't serious about acting. Whatever your chosen life focus is, the majority (but not all) of your goals should take you in that direction
Time sensitive: Goals need deadlines. I usually work in month, 6 month and 1 year increments. Making it time sensitive gives you a sense of urgency while you are attacking your goals. That's right, I said attack your goals. I put them up with a date of 1 year for the master list

Think about what you want to accomplish this year and run your goals through these concepts. Do they fit? They might not fit at first but after some review and introspection, you may get more specific about some of your goals. You might re-examine and discover that your goals, collectively, are not taking you in the direction that you really want to go. That's ultimately the key to this format, you have to get really honest with yourself about what you REALLY WANT in life and put yourself on that path. Oh, and put it in writing!!

You heard me right folks. You MUST write your goals down and post them in a place that you will see them EVERY DAY. This will help keep the goals fresh in your mind. Your bathroom mirror, your closet door...anyplace that puts it right in your face!! Some of you are saying "I keep my goals in my mind" and to you I say BULLS**T. :) When you write it down you invest yourself in the process to accomplish these goals. Those goals will stare back at you daring you to be at your best and finish them. When you are truly working hard towards those goals and you look at them a month in as you are making good progress, you smile and keep working. When your aren't working hard and you look at those goals in bold ink, it holds you accountable and can give you the kick in the butt you need to get back on track. Always write your goals as "I WILL". If in your mind you believe you will, YOU WILL!

Set your goals BIG! You can do more than you think. Go after these goals and make sure to congratulate yourself when you accomplish them. What are my goals? I'll spare you the full list but for those who want to keep me accountable here are some of my big ones:

*I will get 4 new IMDB credits this year
*I will make 1 appearance on a network TV show
*I will complete writing 3 feature length scripts this year (including re-writes and notes from others)
*I will earn my blue belt in Brasilian Jiu Jitsu
*I will speak and read Brasilian Portuguese fluently
*I will maintain my weight at 225-230lbs

Yes, I look at these and my other goals every morning when I wake up. If you have some goals you want to share with me, please do. We can help keep each other accountable.

Thanks for reading. Here is our quote of the day...

"Some pursue happiness, others create it. Which are you?"