By Jess Canty
This week has of course had me in a more contemplative mood than most with the loss of Stan Kirsch. I had the privilege over the last couple of years of seeing first-hand just how fantastic he was as a teacher and coach.
Success here is all about finding people who you jive with creatively and on the business side and I can say wholeheartedly that Stan and I fundamentally saw the business - and what makes for success - in much the same way.
By all accounts, he was one of those rare birds who made people want to impress him with their performances - even if just in a weekly class or a coaching session. You simply didn't want to disappoint him.
I have had the privilege of crossing paths with a few of these kinds of people in my 40 turns around the sun so far - often in a sports setting. Coaches that don't rule by fear, but by simply not wanting to be let down. They can see when you aren't bringing your very best. It is almost unspoken - and you simply want to do better for them.
So many people in Hollywood attribute their success to a moment when someone told them they "can't." Perhaps it is a family that wanted them to go into a more "practical job." Perhaps it is more of the traditional "you'll never work again in this town" kind of story. And then the person sets out to prove that narrative wrong.
I think this can be a powerful motivator of course. And we love to hear the stories - on Late Night couches or in cover-story interviewers of people overcoming. But Stan's passing has me thinking - what about the people who you want to prove right?
Who are the people in your life that have believed in you since the beginning of your relationship with them? Who have recognized your talent, your spark, what you bring, and have been there to support that effort?
Who are the people who show up for you at your screenings, at your staged readings? Who are the people who are there when it is down to you and one other person for a role and you don't book it - and they still tell you to keep going?
Don't you think these people in your life are pretty smart? I mean they have to be - they believe in you and your talent.
PROVE US RIGHT
Forget about proving all of the haters wrong, and prove all of the lovers right. For those of you who were close with Stan - prove him RIGHT. What better way to solidify his legacy than to prove that he was right to have you at his studio? That he was right to invest his expertise and energy into making you a better actor? And of course this applies to all of you - if you are at UCB or Groundlings - prove them right on your next comedy audition. If you are at another respected studio in town, prove them right.
And I am going to throw my hat in this ring too. Prove me right. I FUCKING LOVE NOTHING MORE IN THE WORLD THAN BEING RIGHT ABOUT THIS BUSINESS.
Just ask Brian what happens anytime someone gets an audition for something we have submitted or pitched - it typically involves victory arms and me yelling at the computer screen.
You know what my dream is?
That each and every one of you achieves whatever your version of career success looks like. Because then I can say "YES! SEE! I was RIGHT. HA! I knew. I knew they were funny and talented and could make you laugh and cry. I knew they were great at what they do. I knew it and look at them now."
So there it is, you all now know my evil plan... Make me, and everyone who believes, or has ever believed in you, the rightest people in town.