PUT YOUR BLINDERS ON

By: Jess Canty


It has been great sitting down with many of you to talk about your 2019 goals, and I very much look forward to the meetings to come as well.


One thing that has come up in a lot of meetings - and frankly comes up in a lot of interviews we do with prospective clients - something that I hear at parties and dinners is some version of "well, I just don't understand how they [got on that show, got that role etc...] when I am [much better trained, more talented, handsomer, prettier, taller, thinner, funnier]"


Which may be true. But that person did get that role. They did get on that show.


You have to let go of this kind of thinking. You MUST. Because you are training yourself to lose.


Just like they did with Seabiscuit.



"When they finally did race him, he did just what they'd trained him to do, he lost."

Spending your time comparing and competing and contrasting yourself with people who have gotten what you want is a waste of time and energy. It will eventually make you bitter - about the business, about the casting process, about the fact that Hollywood is not a meritocracy.


Hollywood is not a meritocracy.


Sure, people are given a shot because they are talented. People are also given a shot because they were born in LA. Or come from wealth so can afford the years of anonymity without having to work a day job. Or because their last name is Gandolfini and someone thought "wouldn't it be a great way to sell this project if James Gandolfini's actual son played the son of Tony Soprano?" Is it fair? Nope.


Hollywood. Is Not. A meritocracy.

At least not when breaking in the door. Accept this as part of the business.


But you know where it becomes a meritocracy? The money. The fact that Hollywood cares about cold hard cash above all else ultimately levels the playing field. Because having a lasting career? Now we're getting a bit more "fair."


Because if Jeff Bridges wasn't as or more talented than his father, he would not have had a 50 year career. Did he get to skip the "breaking in" part because the door was wide open? Yes.


But you know what? If he was a terrible actor, he wouldn't still be here. He just happens to be a great actor who happened to have a father who was one as well. Will John David Washington be a great actor? Remains to be seen. Did he get an open door? Yes - but the spotlight is on him from the jump. Sure, he doesn't have to break in, but EVERYONE is comparing and judging him against his father.


This business is easy for nobody. Making a lasting career as an actor who puts food on the table year after year solely due to their acting is easy for NOBODY. So next time you find yourself wondering why or how he or she got that role? Stop. Please stop it.


They did SOMETHING right, because they got the role.


And it has nothing to do with you or your race.


Seabiscuit won his last race when he was 7 - more than twice the age of his rivals. In six years of racing, he had competed 89 times, winning 33 of these matches, finishing on the board 61 times, (more so in his later years), set 16 track records, and equaled another.


So how did a horse - who at 3 years old was bitter, frustrated, and trained to lose become a winner?


"The horse was 200 pounds underweight with a weary temperament. He raised hell at the starting gate, intimidated the grooms, nervously paced his stall, and refused to eat...

Tom Smith [his new trainer] babied his new colt in hopes of Seabiscuit one day living up to his potential as the grandson of the mighty Man O’ War. He put leg braces and bandages on Biscuit’s legs, and equipped him with blinkers for training and racing to keep his mind on business."


Put your blinders on.


"He also gave his colt a double sized stall complete with roommates. Seabiscuit’s new companions were a stray dog named Pocatell, a spider monkey known as Jo Jo, and his lifelong traveling mate, a calm horse named Pumpkin. Once Seabiscuit’s nerves had been calmed and his ailments had been treated, Smith decided it was time to return him to the races."


Gather people around you who build you up. Who believe in you - like we do.

Consider Cinterra your Pumpkin.


Now, focus on your race.


Put your blinders on.


Bandage what needs bandaging. Who is your Tom Smith? - that teacher or agent that will push you to do your best every time out of the gate. Find your Red Pollard - your jockey - who is the partner who will go on this ride with you? Who will tell you when you can do better and you'll listen. Who is your Jo Jo? Who is your Pocatell?


And then run your race.


Every audition, just like every time at that starting gate for a race horse, is an opportunity to win. No race before matters. No race before is predictive of this race. You are competing on a different day, a different track against different competitors every time. The weather is different. You may get lucky and one of your rivals gets spooked that day.


Put your blinders on.


Anyone can win. Everyone is starting at the same point on the track. Behind the same gate.


Put your blinders on.


Once he was healthy, and his mind was right, Seabiscuit put his blinders on and started running his race he started winning.


And it didn't matter he was older, or smaller than his competitors because he was smarter. It didn't matter he had ruptured a tendon when he was 6 and had to come back from injury. He had more heart and more grit and he wanted it more than they did.

They didn't have that. They were winners - big, fast, sleek. They had rarely lost. Because he had lost so much, he knew better than they what it meant to win.


His last race - the one that had eluded him his entire career at Santa Anita - his home track.


"'Biscuit broke well and and settled into striking position. He was shouldered into a pocket and Pollard momentarily panicked, thinking that once again the race would be lost. But then space opened up and Seabiscuit shot through.


The closer and defending champion Kayak II came up to challenge then, and ‘Biscuit looked him in the eye, teased him a bit, and then swept ahead to win the handicap while running the second fastest mile and a quarter in American racing history."



Put your blinders on.

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