Trust The Process

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“Trust The Process.”

These three words are linked to Sam Hinkie, former GM of the Philadelphia 76ers and highly controversial figure. His story is fascinating. You can read more about it here.

Let’s adopt this mantra/slogan for our own work.

“Trust The Process.”

Don’t trust external results–accolades, achievements, awards, etc…I mean, they might happen. But you certainly can’t count on them. And those externals should not be the reason why you’re doing a piece of art.

But you know what you can count on? What you can trust?

The process.

“Trust The Process.”

What is the process?

Basically, it’s any consistent effort and action that’s entirely within your control. Input equals output.

Some examples that might apply to actors, writers or producers include…

…learning your lines; really learning your lines; backwards and forwards so that they’re at your fingertips

…reading the script hundreds of times; breaking down the text; fully exploring every single character nuance and motivation

…daily observation of life and human interaction

…sitting your butt in the chair and writing something every single day; no matter what

…rewriting; not giving up on a paragraph until every single sentence is exactly the way you want it

…reading and studying other writers’ material; asking what worked and what didn’t; cultivating your own taste and style; finding a piece of art you’re passionate to manifest

…seeing plays, films, other art forms

…regularly meeting with artists

…putting yourself out there; sharing your work with others

Control what you can control.

Do the work.

“Trust The Process.”

It will never let you down.

You’re A Producer?

What do you guys do? MIKE I'm a comedian. More uncomfortable silence. LISA Do you ever perform out here? I'd love to see you. MIKE No... LISA You should. A lot of comics play Vegas. MIKE Well, I'm afraid it's not that easy... LISA Why not? MIKE There are different circuits... it's hard to explain... you wouldn't understand... LISA Who's your booking agent? MIKE (flustered) Oh? You know about booking agents... I don't, uh, actually have a west coast agent as of yet... LISA Well, who represents you back east? MIKE Actually, it's funny you... I'm actually, uh, between... LISA What do you do, Trent? TRENT I'm a producer. BOTH GIRLS Wow... Oooh... Ahhh...

This probably won’t happen to you when you decide to produce a piece of art.

But you should do it anyway.

(Bonus points for the first answer to what movie the above exchange is from.)

1,000 True Fans

Kevin Kelly, founder of Wired magazine and polymath, wrote this fantastic essay. It’s one of my all time favorites. An absolute must-read.

Talk about empowering!

If we can go make art, and get 1,000 people to love our art, so much so they’re willing to consistently engage with and pay for it…we can have a career. Doing the work we love.

Way easier said then done, I know. Especially when you drill down what a “true fan” really is. But it’s possible. It’s measurable. It’s actionable.

Find one true fan.

Then ten.

Then a hundred.

Then five hundred.

Then 1,000.

Then find…

…your lifelong career.

You Don’t Get To Stop Choosing

My old Chicago acting teacher and mentor, Kurt Naebig, warned us early on to never complain about the industry. Never, ever moan and groan about jobs or the lack thereof. His words, “The industry didn’t choose you. You chose it.”

He was right.

So why do we stop choosing?

If we chose to be artists, which is the biggest decision we could make, shouldn’t we expect to continue to make choices throughout our entire artistic lives? Choices about the material we’re passionate about. The material we stand behind. The material we absolutely have to manifest and share with others.

Or did we think that all our choices would be made for us?

Metaphor Alert!


I’m attempting an original metaphor. Wish me luck…

Picture yourself at a beach. You stand near the ocean, looking out. Tide rolls in. Tide rolls out. That ocean is the universe.

When the tide rolls out, bend down and quickly dig a hole in the wet sand. That hole is your life.

There are tons of different seashells nearby. They come in all shapes, colors and sizes. Those seashells are your art.

You have two options before the tide rolls back in.

ONE. Gather a bunch of seashells and fill up the hole with your choices. Your art.

TWO. Do nothing. Let the ocean fill it up for you.

Start With Why

In his best-seller Start With Why, author Simon Sinek argues that the best companies and organizations, the ones we remember, are those that have a clear sense of purpose. Their “Why” supersedes their “What.” Their products and services exist because of their “Why.” Mission before Action.

What if we did that for ourselves? As artists, what if we really honed in on our “Why” for creating. What if we had our own personal mission statement? Not just cool words on a page. But something we believed to our core.

I’m guessing that we would then get clarity on what projects we wanted to make. And with whom.

And our output, our choices, would reflect that clarity.

And then maybe, just maybe, we’d have a shot at being remembered. By the right people. For the right reasons.