Comparisons are odious, stay positive

Stuart Piper
Stuart Piper is managing director of Cole Kitchenn Personal Management Ltd
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The other day, one of my best friends who is an actor represented by a different agency, told me that their agent had given them a hard time for often being seen with me socially, and asked the actor to stop being friends with me.

The friend of course didn't listen to the agent, and will continue our friendship, with neither of us having any intention of working together. But, although it was a pretty outrageous request, it did make me think, how would I feel if the boot was on the other foot?

Well, the truth is that unless I had serious concerns that there was a problem in my relationship with the client, and therefore had risk of losing said client irrespective of whether she was see out and about with another agent, then I wouldn't care a jot. I'll use a post-Olympic analogy to explain why: when Usain Bolt is out front running the 100m about to win, does he look over his shoulder to see who's just behind him? If he did, he wouldn't win.

And I bring this up as a helpful piece of advice for actors. Often, my clients will report back after a casting, that another actor was in the waiting room, that they assume that other actor will get the role, allow their confidence to be knocked and let it affect their audition.

Or, an actor may well be close friends with another performer who suddenly has a stratospheric rise in their career after receiving a big break, and the friend can feel left behind and secretly depressed.

[pullquote]Negativity eats you up, and positivity, in my experience, leads to success[/pullquote]

The truth is, all human beings, let alone actors, are unique, and you can't afford to make comparisons with your peers. Instead, concentrate on yourself, and your own career and find an agent you have faith you put your trust in.

Although as an agent one is constantly striving to keep up and further build momentum for one's clients, the reality is that some of the biggest career breaks I have witnessed have come for clients not necessarily at the peak of their career before hand, and this is surely one of the joys of being an actor: your life can change in a phone call at any moment,

Of course, we are in a competitive business. But without getting all 'The Secret' about it, I think negativity eats you up, and positivity, in my experience, leads to success.