Way back in the day, when I had moved to Hollywood, I packed a small recorder. As I drove across the country from Atlanta…I spent a lot of time talking to myself. This is pretty common, on such a journey, for us all. Four years after arriving in L.A., I founded The Actors’ Network and many of the thoughts and feelings I recalled on my trip here…found their way into my Founder’s Note and then our 10 Commandments.
First of all, welcome. Welcome to my home, now your home. May you find the experience positive, fulfilling, and helpful. I conceived of The Actors’ Network out of a dream, literally. I sat straight up in bed at four o’ clock in the morning and could not sleep for the rest of the night. I quickly grabbed a tablet and started scribbling down ideas. Of course, as the old expression goes, “Hell is paved with good intentions.” In my four years then and many more now, I’ve seen a lot of talented people with a lot of good intentions. I’ve seen a lot of excited people with a lot of good ideas. The reality is, it takes more than good ideas, talent, energy, hard work, persistence and luck to be successful. It takes them all. As with my career, your career or The Actors’ Network, success cannot be achieved without consistent attention and focus.
Whether you’re sacrificing a tough relationship, a weekend trip or being popular amongst your pals, sacrifice is necessary to succeed in this business. You will not find one successful person in this world who hasn’t left at least a short trail of disappointed people in their wake. Your dream is only your dream, most others cannot conceive it or believe in it, it is yours. If it burns strong enough inside of you, you’ll have to follow it, no matter where it leads.
I have a dream.
In 1987 I drove across the state line full of vigor, spunk, fire and gumption in a beat up Chevy Citation. There wasn’t a place called, The Actors’ Network, to help me out. There were, and still are, a lot of books on the shelf that supposedly tell you what to do, but they really don’t. I learned about Hollywood through effort, mistakes and other actor experiences. One of the main reasons I have been driven to build The Actors’ Network is because of one very old cliché: “Learn from the mistakes of others, you don’t have time to make them all yourself.” If any of the mistakes I’ve made can help you, then I have succeeded in my dream. If the experience of a fellow actor can save you time and money, then The Actors’ Network has succeeded. Hollywood can be a terribly painful place. The product is a human being. It is you, me, your best friend, your spouse or even your parent. We constantly fight the insensitivity of those on the other side of the camera. For those who choose to pursue the dream we are here for you. It’s not about judging what someone else does or doesn’t do for a living. It is about loving who we are and what we strive to become. I hope The Actors’ Network helps each member steer clear of at least one bad experience, helps another member find the courage to take charge of their life, or yet another to realize that maybe this isn’t what they really want. We can assist in lifting each other above the Hollywood sign and proclaim, “Yes, yes I made it, I beat the odds!,” and still climb down from that sign as humble as we were before.
Patience, humility, mutual respect, a friendly ear and a sincere purpose will go far no matter what your life’s pursuit. I’ve come to realize the real challenge in Hollywood is to know that being a good person on the planet really does matter. Trust me, it does. After all, we’re human and no one gets out of here alive. It is the art that keeps most of us going. It’s that rare opportunity to go deep inside ourselves and touch a place so special that it touches others …and changes their lives. Remember successful people do all the things that unsuccessful people don’t want to do.
Cheers to You,
Kevin E. West – President/Founder
Composed by Kevin E. West, in 1991.
The Actors’ Network 10 Commandments
1. Be proud of who you are, and what you do.
2. Persistence, motivated by passion is omnipotent.
3. Those who bring sunshine to others cannot keep it from themselves.
4. Knowledge is POWER…period!
5. Concern yourself with the effort and the result will take care of itself.
6. You are responsible to YOU. Do not rely on others, for no one will ever care more about your career than YOU!
7. An organized and educated actor will create more opportunities and be more prepared for them.
8. You have the right to apply for any job directly to the potential employer.
9. The daily pursuit of your career is not a chore, but a chosen love. If it is not, please do something else.
10. Only one person gets hired, if it’s not you, it may as well be someone you know and respect.