I am Michelle Nicole Matlock. I was born in St. Louis, MO. and I was raised in University Place, WA. in the beautiful Pacific Northwest of the United States. I studied theater for three years at Western Washington University and then transferred to the National Shakespeare Conservatory (NSC) and graduated from its 2 year acting intensive program in New York City.
NSC was around for about 25 years and then closed it’s doors in 1998. To make a long story short the training was amazing and most of the teachers were faculty from NYU’s Stella Adler Program. They all simply walked across the street to teach a group of young hopefuls that were collected from all over the country to attend this certificated classical training program. That’s right I don’t have an MFA, MBA , PhD or even a BA.
After three years of university and two years of conservatory I was dumped into the streets of New York with a certificate and a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet with an agent named Brett at Abrams Artist Agency or maybe it was William Morris Agency. I can’t remember which one, either way it was a fucking disaster! The first thing that Brett asked me was,
“Why do you want to be an Actress”?
Five years of acting training and not one class prepared me for that question. All I had was a blank stare. That was my first lesson in business and I didn’t even know it! I finished my training at the conservatory with only 75% of what I needed to really make acting my business. Yeah, the business part was missing. In New York you need to know 200% of everything just to survive, never mind thrive. I spent the next 12 years in NY trying to learn the other 25% of what I needed to know to earn my rent as a working actor. What I needed was a damn degree in marketing! I spent many of those next 12 years sending out headshots, waiting in audition lines and working for free. That was my sorry ass business plan.
One day something deep down told me that I could make things happen in my career a lot faster than any agent or casting director. Something told me that I have more vision for myself than anyone else in the world and that I should use that vision! I felt that I could play any role so that’s what I wanted to do. I was going to write a show that was full of characters that I would never be cast as and blow the lid off the box of limited type casting that was keeping me poor!! And that’s what I did. I wrote a solo show, got it produce at Performance Space 122 in NY and then sold it to colleges, universities and festivals across North America.
As I look back, I realize I was a dreamer, which made me an Entrepreneur. That’s right I am an actor who is an Entrepreneur. I am an Entrepreneur because I built a system for selling my show and a platform that showcased my talent. At the time I didn’t even know that I was creating a business model, but that’s what I was doing. And I loved doing it! Like I mentioned earlier I don’t have a MFA or BFA just tons of BS so there is much that I didn’t know and that I still don’t know.I do know that as an Actor I went from making 3 figures to 4 and then 5 and then 6. All without William Morris or Brett from Abrams Agency. Not one Agent was involved with booking any of the gigs that I did with my solo show. In fact Agents have played a very small role in my journey to thriving as a performer. That is the definition of being independent. No Agent. As IPAs we build it, book it and bounce with it!
It is possible to thrive as a Creative and you don’t have to be famous or have an agent. It might not be how we thought it would be. It might be something we have to dream up and put into action ourselves. It might turn out to be the ride of your life! Actors, Performers, Artist and Creatives , we have to get our acts together and stop with this “struggling” mentality. We need to put some energy into getting that 25% of knowledge that’s missing from our education. The time is now.
I’m currently defining my process as a creator and entrepreneur and I’m going to “school”. I’m taking in all the information that I can about how to build a business. I’m searching for that balance. I’m going to be an Actor/Performer/Creative with a business plan or lifestyle plan! Whatever works!. What a concept! I am an Independent Performing Artist and a Creative Entrepreneur. If you have no idea what I’m talking about you should tune in because I’m going to share everything that I know, all that I learn and anything that I discover about not only surviving but thriving as an Independent Performing Artist and Creative Entrepreneur.
Let’s get to work!
If you would like to go to “school” with me and join me on my journey to finding a balance as a creative and entrepreneur please visit my bookstore the Creative Entrepreneur Survival Market. I’ve put all the books that I’ve read or am reading for this adventure right there. So, please join me! Start with Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki. This one’s a winner when it comes to thriving!
Hey, Leave a comment or send me an email Matlock@thrivingipa.com. Let me know what you think.
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