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Success Is Measured By What You Do For Others | Brian Medavoy

Success Is Measured By What You Do For Others

Why I Share

The end of the year comes with certain rituals. Recounting the ups and downs of the previous year, thinking about how to improve in the next one. For me, it also includes looking over my blogs for the past year. While I scanned through the year’s blogs, I had something else on my mind: An exchange I’ve been having with an up-and-coming actor named Zachary Poole.

Zachary reached out to me a couple of months ago with an opening line that caught my attention:

“My name’s Zachary Poole. I’m a 25 year-old actor/writer on a mission to become the kindest, most dangerous man in Hollywood. The trouble is, I think that might be you.”

I get a lot of cold emails and as much as I try to respond to all of them, this one grabbed me. We sparked up an email correspondence that, over time, became predicated on simply sharing things that moved us or that we’re passionate about. The more I looked through my blogs, I realized that there’s a theme that endures through my blogs and manifests in my conversations with Zachary.

Sharing and giving is everything in this business.

I’ve been fortunate enough to lead an interesting life and to have had some success in Hollywood. My blogs and social media are a way for me to share some of the things I’ve learned and help people on their own journeys. I’ve been maybe excruciatingly clear about my desire to give to others. I find it incredibly rewarding. But before I come off sounding too preachy, let me be perfectly clear here:

I don’t give simply out of the goodness of my heart. Giving and sharing are simply good business practices.

Too often in entertainment, people keep everything close to the vest. Why? They don’t have the time to share. They don’t want to give away information. But more subtly, they don’t think long-term. To me, you can’t take shit to the grave so you might as well give. The more information you give out, the more opportunity you have to get more coming in.

When you share parts of yourself or give what knowledge or power you have, you can start to build relationships out of nothing.

As members of a social, fast-moving industry, it’s fair to wonder what is the most productive way to build a relationship that’s not too taxing on either party. I can’t call an agent who I don’t know and just say, “Give me a client.” We build foundations to get to that point. But how many times have you had a good lunch with somebody and nothing came of it because you couldn’t find the time or motivation to bring them into your world? How do you even know if there’s a relationship to build? You don’t have to overhaul your life to nurture a relationship — personal or professional.

Building a relationship can be as simple as sending a few things I’m passionate about, they can send a few things they’re passionate about, and we can grow the dialogue from there.

Simply sharing music, videos, shows, etc. that you love or that inspire you is a great way to learn about people and expand your horizons.

It’s a simple, low-touch way to grow a relationship through digital eye contact. You’re at A, you’d like to get to C, and there are many B’s of relationship building. To me, sharing is one of the most effective ones.

You see it from time to time. Michael Katcher is the former head of TV at CAA and now runs casting for Fox shows. Every three months, he puts together a playlist and distributes it to an email list. This email is the coolest thing to me, being able to get to know him a little better just through his interests. Jenna Doolittle puts together a newsletter every Monday of all the things going on in Hollywood for newcomers. These forms of mass sharing are an amazing way to reach untold amounts of people, with a wealth of opportunity passively created.

Zachary shared with me a piece by Lang Lang, two videos of Sammy Davis Jr. performing, a Mumford and Sons video I’d never seen, and so many more interesting, inspiring bits that he was passionate about. They were incredible. I feel like I gained as a human through this interaction and I firmly believe Zachary is going to do extraordinary things in this business. I might just benefit from that, too.

In the ’90s, sharing was a weakness.

It was something you did only if you absolutely had to to get ahead. I hated going to meetings and collecting impersonal business cards after. It reeked of desperation. If somebody was or is as good as they say they are, you’ll find them.

Today, sharing is a strength.

It makes me feel incredible to give, and I feel like I gain so much from it, that I often wonder why more people don’t do it.

I don’t give gifts that I wouldn’t want. My correspondence with Zachary inspired me to send Shia LaBeouf’s “Just Do It” video to clients, along with a personalized life journal to help them record the things that inspired them in 2021 to make them easier to share.

Because for actors, it’s all about relationship building, and sharing is an amazing way to do it. When you give, you gain, and I hope you gain as much as you give this year. Happy 2021.