Ben Whitehair Summer Update

Aug 24, 2011 by     No Comments    Posted under: Attitude, Los Angeles, Thousands of Stories, Three Actors

Holy roller-blading Shakespeare! It’s almost the end of August. We’re about 66% of the way through 2011. That just blew my mind a little bit. How are those annual goals coming along? You still have 4 months to make them happen so let’s get crackin’!

So what the heck have I been up to that’s keeping so busy that I haven’t posted very frequently in the last couple months? Well thank you for asking, I’ll tell you. 🙂

Thrival Job
As you may or may not know, I started a company in college with some peers that helps out-of-state students get in-state tuition. The good news is that we’re doing incredibly well, are expanding to new states, hiring new employees, and significantly growing our company. All of this has taught me a tremendous amount about how you scale an idea/project/company and has proffered a lot of insight into my pursuit as an actor. I’m increasingly convinced that being an actor is exactly he same as being an entrepreneur. The only variation is that for actors their product is themselves. Everything else is exactly the same, and the lessons from the world of entrepreneurship can be directly applied to the entertainment business. I don’t think I’ve ever read a single article from the Harvard Business Review or Seth Godin’s Blog and not been able to find a correlation to my career as an actor.

The “bad news” in all of this is that I spend a considerable amount of hours in my week growing our company, getting new clients, etc. I am now at a point where this can be the only job I need to support myself which is incredible, although the time commitment can be a bit of a time-sucker. Fortunately I can effectively craft my own schedule, and when I have a same-day commercial audition I can just grab my laptop, make some phone calls on the road, and head out.

New Manager
I’m excited to do some more blog posts around this, but I recently signed with a new manager, David Kohl of Stein Entertainment Group. Well, I’ve never had a manager before so I suppose it’s A manager, not a NEW manager. I’m thrilled to have brought him on to my team, and think that he’s going to be a tremendous business partner over the next couple years. More on all this soon.

Acting Classes
For most of this year I ended up focusing quite a bit on my commercial career. I took Killian’s Workshop (AMAZING, by the way) as well as the first two levels at UCB (and am looking forward to more). I’ve also been going on quite a few commercial auditions, though they seem to come in waves. All this to say that I hadn’t really focused on the theatrical side of my career so I audited a bunch of acting classes (because everyone loves their acting class) and have been taking a scene study-esque class with Anthony Meindl and an audition technique class with Billy O’Leary. Both of which have been amazing and a great reminder of why I actually do all of the hard work. Performance is such a rush. Oh! And I re-took Mary Lou Belli’s Advanced 3-Camera Sitcom Class which was a stitch. Louder, faster, funnier!

Shots of My Head
I fairly recently did a wonderful (and wonderfully affordable) headshot session with Cathryn Farnsworth and was thrilled with the results (see: new manager). The top row of pictures on the actor page of my website are from that shoot.

Get the Uhaul…
For various (good) reasons that would bore you I’m moving in with AJ Meijer of Inside Acting Podcast fame over in Santa Monica. I’m really excited to mix things up after being in the same place for a while, and to continue to be surrounded by amazing people. If you really like packing and lifting boxes hit me up on September 1st. 😉

Most fortunately I’ve been able to work on a couple really cool projects recently, and also see them in their finished form. I was in Episode 4, Part 1 of Brandi Ford’s delightful web series, Diary of a Wedding Planner (I start at minute 2:25). I also starred in a short film called Boss’ Weekend that my friend David who I went to college with wrote, directed, and produced in conjunction with John Myers and Wood Pictures. I’ve also had a number of projects I did in the past show up on my IMDb page which for some reason brings me great joy. Perhaps because it will forever be a reminder of the amazing projects I’ve been a part of and the crazy-talented people I’ve had the fortune of working with.

Final Thoughts
The longer you’re in LA the easier it is for time to run together. As a result I find it increasingly important to step back and appreciate how far I’ve come. It can be easy to forget the elation I felt when I got my very first audition in LA (a crappy music video spoof for which I lip-synched a rap, in case you were wondering). As I enter a bit of a transition period I’m committing myself to focusing on being present, in the moment, and smelling those fu&k!ng roses. =D

Ben Whitehair is the Los Angeles contingent of this blog. Find out more information and view his materials on his website, or read the rest of his blog posts.