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#15 Bonnie Gillespie — Success Leaves Clues

My guest on this episode is Bonnie Gillespie. As author of the book Self Management for Actors, Bonnie has been writing about the nuts and bolts of being a professional actor for more than 15 years.

Bonnie built her business by demystifying the casting process and illuminating the business side of pursuing a creative career. Her most popular book is Self-Management for Actors, which has been named one of The Top Ten Best Books on Acting Ever Written.

In this conversation Bonnie describes the path that brought her LA (twice), and how her actor survival job grew into a career and business that has helped thousands of professional actors navigate their way through a notoriously competitive industry.

We unpack some of the key topics from Bonnie’s book Self-Management for Actors, including

  • Getting clear on your bullseye
  • Having a daily plan for how you’re going to run your business
  • Studying the success of those who’ve gone before you
  • Web presence
  • Launch at 85% 

While much of this advice is given with actors in mind, the concepts are transferable, no matter where your focus lies. This advice will help you develop a clear strategy to move towards your own goals.


As a gift to Studio Time listeners, Bonnie has offered this free resource 11 Days of Free Upgrades to Your Acting Career.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Getting clear on your bullseye
  • “You teach the industry who you are by everything you say yes, and more importantly everything you say NO to.”
  • “A lot of times at the beginning everybody thinks they have to say yes to everything. So they end up not to creating a brand because of saying yes to things all over the dartboard and then they wonder why buyers don’t understand how to cast them.”
  • Having a daily plan for how you’re going to run your business
  • Studying the success of those who’ve gone before you
  • “Success leaves clues.”
  • Paying attention to someone who you could call a pace car is a really great way to have someone who is role modeling for you that it can be done. Then at any intersection where you say “No-one has ever done it this way that I want to do it,” I go “Great, now that’s where you’re going to make your own road.”
  • Web presence
  • “You don’t have to have a website, but you have to be google-able.”
  • "Content is the one way you can make sure you will always be found. If you’re putting enough content out there...if you’re an actor that has a web show that you want to put together and you consistently post to youtube each week, that becomes a DOMINATION that you have on the web that’s actually really beautiful."
  • Rock your headshot. Your headshot is your business card and number one piece of marketing material.
  • Your Actor or Artist Survival Job
  • Launch at 85%
  • "You’re never going to get things out into the world to find what they could be if you keep waiting for them to be perfect."
  • Self taping: not just for actors anymore. 

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