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How to Handle the Ups and Downs of an Entertainment Industry Career – Brian Medavoy

How to Handle the Ups and Downs of an Entertainment Industry Career

Ups and Downs

Whether you’ve spent a day or a decade in Hollywood, you know life in La La Land is a series of ups and downs.

The peaks and valleys of the entertainment industry are as inevitable as the geography upon which this city was raised.

My life and career have been no exception; I’ve experienced unbelievable highs and devastating lows.

But those experiences have taught me an important lesson:

The lows are as important to your career as the highs.

That’s because while they’re certainly not as fun, it’s the lows that motivate you to work harder.

The lows force you to rededicate yourself to your craft.

The lows make you hungry.

In my own career, it’s the lows I’ve experienced that drive me to work harder, achieve more, and learn as much from others as I possibly can.

The lows enable the highs.

Success in the entertainment industry is a direct result of your ability to turn pitfalls into peaks. The danger comes from getting too comfortable at the top and forgetting to live your ups like you’re down.

How To Turn Your Downs Into Ups

Even when nothing feels like it’s going your way, there are things you can do to feel the little victories and appreciate them.

It can be as easy as just taking a deep breath.

Remember, everybody has struggles, be they your next-door neighbor, or some of history’s most successful people.

Bill Gates lived paycheck to paycheck. Spielberg made bad movies. Hell, go see DUNKIRK and you’ll see the entire United Kingdom had a pretty bad time in 1940.

The trick is turning those valleys into mountains.

Gates was driven by his failures; Spielberg learned from his mistakes; the UK’s very existence was on the line. Okay, that last one is a bit extreme, but even on a personal level, turning the dark times in your favor is crucial.

In the same way, celebrating your little successes can go a long way.

Go to a yoga class, start reading a good book, work on developing a new skill – every investment in yourself is worth a pat on the back.

Don’t get stuck in your routine.

Balancing your work and personal life is of vital importance.

If your boss calls you at all hours of the weekend asking for things, you probably don’t want to work there much longer. There’s more to life than what you do in the office.

I love what I do, but I know there’s only so much I can do on the work front before it starts to feel stale.

Ambition is valued, but so are well-rounded personalities and people with interests. In a world filled with highs and lows, there are so many different aspects of your life where you can find highs and be motivated by lows.

Life is more than work and money.

In that vein, let’s talk about success. How do you define it? Take a minute to think about that. It can be a multi-faceted definition, but money probably shouldn’t be your primary measure.

Money comes and goes, and if you’re too bound to it, you may just lose control of yourself.

Find what brings you happiness and chase it. Whether that is, like me, working hard to identify new skills and empowerment, or leading a life full of friends, don’t let a one-track mind bear you down.

After all, peaks and valleys come and go; it’s how you navigate them that matters.


    • brian medavoy

      Love hearing that – thank you !

  • Joe Nicolosi

    Great content on the truths of Hollywood. I was living there before I moved to Phoenix. Experienced more lows than highs and there is tremendous VALUE in those lows. They open you up for reflection and allow you to rework your footsteps!

    Nice work Brian!

  • Jack Stauffer

    As a forty five year professional in the BIZ, the one thing I know for certain is unless you are incredibly lucky, your career will feature many more lows than highs. I was considered a good working actor – a triple A player – never achieved the stardom of the big leagues. My success ratio was about 10%. That meant I failed 90%of the times I auditioned. I knew in my brain that rejection was “just business kid.” Unfortunately ,in my heart I took it very personally. SO – – yes I faced disappointment and depression. My solution was to look at myself in the mirror and if I saw somebody who wanted it enough, I dragged my butt off the floor and got better. If it is in your soul – if it is your passion – then never give up.

    • Brian Medavoy (author)

      Loved reading that – thank you !

  • Martin Gaiss

    Thanks for the great post. As a previous department head of a studio, and now exploring my own passions, I have seen the ups and downs myself. Great reminder!

  • Scott Mulvaney

    Bravo Brian, there’s nothing like hard earned lessons that lead to great advice! I used to tell my children that the ups & downs that our emotions create were like clothes, you can choose take them on or off, and wear them as long as you want, but you always have the power to change them (especially when they start getting ripe). It’s just a matter of perspective. I learned this lesson through volunteering to help severly disabled Vets, and they taught me by example how to face incredible challenges with grit, grace, and determination. For them, success & happiness are choices they make every day, and their courage inspires me to stay grateful for the many blessings I have, to be passionate about the creative work I do, and to appreciate wonderful people I collaborate with.

  • Erhan Erdogan

    Thank You, Sir! Everytime a great Motivation to read your valuable Advices.

    Best wishes from Germany
    Erhan Erdogan

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