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Six Lessons Steve Jobs Can Teach Actors

I love my MacBook.
I can do almost anything on it — binge-watch Breaking Bad, stare at too many cat videos on YouTube, run up my credit card bill on Amazon, write this article…
Believe it or not though, back in the 70s, NO ONE had or wanted a computer because they were the most boring things ever.
Huge mainframes and complex systems designed to help big companies do things more efficiently.
Who would want something like that?
No one would ever have imagined anything like what we have today.
Well… except maybe one person.
Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs (and Steve Wozniak) built the first ever personal computer, called the Macintosh.
They took something that seemed insanely complex and simplified it down into something that just about everybody could understand and use.
Steve Jobs thought about technology differently and made computers FUN!
And that “outside the industry” thinking is what made him so successful. It’s what helped him build Apple, one of the most successful companies in the world.
So why does this matter?
Well, you can use the Apple slogan of “Think Different” to create new opportunities in your acting career!
So without further ado, here are the six ways Steve Jobs can help you start booking more work:
1. Think Big
Steve Jobs always thought about the bigger picture. What would he leave behind after he was gone?
If you change your thinking from just focusing on the next audition to what you want to create long term (what I call your Acting Purpose), not only will you be much more focused, but you’ll also start building a following.
Your Acting Purpose must be something beyond yourself — a purpose that other people can get behind.
How can you use your acting to help others and make your community (and even the world) a better place?
Really think hard about it and come up with something that inspires you — it will be the basis for everything you do throughout the rest of your acting career.
2. Follow Your Instincts
Steve Jobs was never afraid to trust what he believed was right, even if it flew in the face of what everyone else said he should be doing.
In fact, trusting one’s instincts (while still being willing to listen to other’s perspectives) is one of the most important parts of great leadership.
Don’t let the industry tell you how to be or what to do. Actors who break the rules and follow their instincts — taking on a leadership role in their careers — are the ones who get (and stay) ahead.
3. Adopt Unconventional and Impractical Perspectives to Problems
What’s your biggest challenge right now? What’s a completely different way you can solve it that no one else is trying?
For example, if you struggle with auditioning, taking another “audition technique” class could help, but if everyone else is doing the same thing and they’re all stuck, why should you expect a different result?
What if you thought differently and tried taking a public speaking class that focused on overcoming nervousness? Or what if you tried becoming close friends with directors so you could just bypass the audition process altogether?
Remember, some say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
Unconventional solutions will get you unconventional results.
4. Don’t Fear Failure
Did you know that Steve Jobs was FIRED from Apple in the ’80’s? Most people would look at that as a failure, but Jobs actually used it as an opportunity to create another company called Next, which eventually SAVED Apple during one of their biggest crises.
You should look at every failure you have as a success.
Why? Because failing at something PROVES that you truly succeeded in stepping out of your comfort zone, and that’s the biggest and most important success of all — especially in the long run.
Would you rather have a short term quick win and stay within your comfort zone? Or a long term successful career built on solid experience (both good and bad)? Failure is the best way to expand your comfort zone and gain new experience.
5. Be Optimistic About the Future
Pessimists and realists rarely take risks (and are often the first to quit) because they don’t think they’ll succeed.
Ten years from now you could have an entirely different life and be performing in amazing projects… or you could be in exactly the same place as you are now.
The difference is in whether you’re optimistic enough to put forth the effort.
6. Keep It Personal
Jobs was passionate about his work because he kept it personal. He felt personally responsible for his success, and took responsibility when things went his way AND when they didn’t.
You MUST be passionate about what you do and take personal responsibility for where your career goes. You must LOVE your work — not just the acting in general, but also the specific characters you play.
Some actors find this hard because the industry boxes them into characters they don’t like. But when you find a brand you’re proud of — one that resonates with your deepest and best personality traits — everything changes. You’ll start booking bigger roles than you ever thought possible, and they’ll be roles you LOVE.
That’s why I encourage every actor to find their three Pride Words — three simple words that resonate with you and make you feel proud.
Being clear on your Pride Words can help you audition better, capture better headshots, and generally feel much more passionate about your work (no matter what character you’re playing), which will make a HUGE difference in the long run.
Take some time right now to think about who you are. What are you most proud of about yourself? I promise that if you come up with three solid words you LOVE (and you keep them at the forefront of your mind), you’ll feel much more grounded and confident in every aspect of your career —– and that’s what true success is built on.


Martin Bentsen has helped over 6,000 actors with their careers and headshots since 2009. His photography studio City Headshots is ranked #1 on Yelp, and he’s taught marketing to actors at NYU, The New England Theater Conference, and numerous other major venues. Want to start booking more work by thinking strategically? Check out his completely free mini-course called The Practical Performer.
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Martin Bentsen has used “outside the industry” hacks to help actors book more work since 2009. He’s helped over 6,000 actors grow their careers through his 1-1 consulting, digital courses, demo reel production and actor headshots.   His photography studio City Headshots is ranked #1 on Yelp and Google and he’s spoken at NYU, The New England Theater Conference, The Actor’s Green Room, and other venues.   Want to book more work by thinking “Outside the Industry?” Download his free Actor’s Toolkit and start creating new opportunities for yourself.