Think of every negative stereotype you have ever heard about show business. Did the one about the “airhead” or “vain” actor pop up? Or the one about acting being easy? Well, push those thoughts out of your lovely mind because Bonnie Gillespie, author of Self- Management for Actors: Getting Down to (Show) Business, proves that show business has a lot more heart and positivity than we all think.
Gillespie’s book accomplishes many things, one of them consisting of infusing fellow creatives with the tools to understand the business side of Hollywood. She reassures her audience with statements such as:
Always focus on what you are passionate about. Your acting, of course. That’s easy. Let’s also find qualities in your survival job-hopefully a combination of things you love doing, that challenge you, that offer you flexibility, and that keep you creatively fueled for your acting-about which you are passionate. Celebrate those qualities. You’re closer to financial freedom than ever; just keep building the muscle for success in this flow. This freedom will be rewarded.
With statements like these, Gillespie offers not only job advice, but a healthy worldview that can be applied to anyone within different professions. As a former actor and current casting director, Gillespie’s view is well rounded and articulate since she also sympathizes with how actors feel. Through her advice, she further manages to humanize the lives and careers of actors, who oddly enough are constantly dehumanized. This point of view serves as a breath of fresh air, because she acknowledges that actors and non-actors, have several passions besides their central job.
One of the aspects that shined through in the book was Gillespie’s writing voice. Having met her previously in a seminar at UC-Irvine, it was clear to me that she had no trouble translating her thoughts to the page. In several excerpts, it seems as if she is speaking directly with you, creating a safe space within the book.
Furthermore, Gillespie transforms the use of her voice and encourages readers to use their own. At one point in the book, she talks about “booking the room.” This term essentially refers to walking into an audition room and while one may not book the job, an individual can still book the room. In other words, by giving a powerful audition (or interview), one can let their personality shine through enough where they can make a (good) lasting impression. By recalling instances like this, Gillespie employs the “cup half-full” mindset and shares it with others. It is very easy to feel bad about not booking a show or a job, but if one walks into a room with confidence, that may possibly take an individual further personally and career-wise.
The fact that her voice is so vivid in her book emphasizes an ideal she brings up about being a hyphenate, which is an individual who does several things besides acting. Gillespie celebrates the ability of people to do several things, as it adds dimension and sophistication to their minds. With encouragement to try out different things, Gillespie offers the idea of constantly nurturing the individual mind and soul. With this said, it is very clear that Gillespie views the acting profession as more than simply a career. She paints with the idea of finding hobbies that will constantly encourage and nurture you further.
All in all, Gillespie fills her pages with great outlook and advice. While she remains positive, she is also realistic and sets up ways to reach individual goals. With this in mind, show business is more than merely putting on a show, but also finding a niche in the world where one can explore and grow creatively.
Bonnie facilitates seminars based on her top-selling book and travels internationally (to demystify the casting process and the business side of pursuing an artistic career) as a guest instructor at colleges, universities, actors’ unions, and private acting studios. Bonnie has been featured on Good Morning America, BBC Breakfast, Sunrise Australia, UTV-Ireland, ARD-1 Germany, CBC Radio One, BBC Radio 5, E! Online, Yahoo! Movies, and in the Wall Street Journal and the LA Times. She is a proud member of the Television Academy.
To get on Bonnie’s mailing list and work with her on the Self-Management for Actors principles, please visit BonnieGillespie.com