When I stopped measuring my progress and success by what I booked, and measured it by the quantity and quality of relationships I was making, everything changed. — Ben Whitehair
I’m thrilled to welcome Ben to the show! As you’ve already guessed, he is a younger actor and has been pursuing acting professionally for about 10 years in Los Angeles. We first connected through The Actors’ Network, where I pretty immediately recognized this guy was smart and sharp, and you could tell he was different about how he approached this career. We’ve remained friends over the years, and I’m thrilled he could join us!
Just a bit of what we cover:
- being a homeschooled cowboy
- putting himself through what he calls “grad school for the working actor”
- his reluctance to join social media and ultimately how he leverages it for his career
- why many actors aren’t in touch with reality for their career expectations
- his work with the next generation of performers in SAG-AFTRA, and a whole lot more.
There are two reasons Ben is joining us today: first, is that when I was developing this show, I interviewed Ben as a way to figure out equipment to use, to test drive my interviewing skills, get some nerves out of the way, and figure out what’s working and what isn’t. He was a great sport, and I think that even though it’s the first interview I did, it’s still a fantastic and very open chat. The second reason I’m excited Ben’s here is that I fully believe that he has the potential to be just like all the other working actors I’ve talked to: he’s dedicated, works super hard, is passionate about it, and has a great mindset. There’s no reason he couldn’t be an actor with a 40+ year career!
About the guest
Ben Whitehair has already racked up over 50 credits on IMDb, including opposite Matthew McConaughey in the film Gold, and appearances on the shows Better Call Saul, Grimm, and Nashville.
Ben started in Colorado, was Valedictorian of his high school, and graduated summa cum laude from University of Colorado at Boulder with degrees in Theatre, Political Science, and Leadership.
He co-founded the company Tuition Specialists, which saved college students $30 million, and also co-founded the LA Actors Tweetup, a networking event for actors and industry professionals in Los Angeles. Ben was one of the main contributors to the very successful blog Playbills vs. Paying Bills, and he co-taught a graduate class at UCLA on social media and the business of acting. Ben is a certified business and mindset coach, he is on the Los Angeles Local Board of SAG-AFTRA, and is the chair of its NextGen Performers committee.
Please enjoy my chat with Ben Whitehair!
Total Running Time: 1:34:23
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QUESTION OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let us know in the comments.
Scroll below for links and show notes…
This episode is brought to you Audible.
As a listener of The Working Actor’s Journey podcast, Audible is offering you a free audiobook download with a free 30-day trial to check them out. You can get a book that’s one hour long or 15 hours long—doesn’t matter. Whatever you pick, it’s free.
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Ray is one of the greats, and has been named Audible’s Narrator of the Year. Don’t get thrown by the cover, it’s not a typical zombie book, which is not my kind of genre—the reviews sold me: people really enjoyed the story, but thought Ray was the true hero of this one. They loved him so much, they wished they could give him more than 5 stars. I honestly had to remind myself several times that it’s just him reading the books, and not a dozen different actors. I’ve also been lucky to work with Ray onstage and know what a great talent he is.
Here’s a clip from this book:
So you can choose the above book—which clocks in at 14+ hrs, and for me, flew by—or choose any of the endless options they offer. That could be a book, a newspaper, a magazine, or even a class. It’s that easy.
To download your free audiobook today go to workingactorsjourney.com/audible.
Ben Whitehair around the web
- Growing up in a politically and socially engaged family
- What he took with him from roping and showing sheep and goats at rodeos
- The deep work ethic he learned from living on a ranch
- How he knew he wasn’t living the right life
- Where Ben’s confidence comes from and how he handles fear
- Working his ass off and seeing the results, which is why he keeps working hard
- How he decided between a political career in DC or an acting career in LA
- How he figured out what to do when he arrived in LA
- Ben’s first rule for success with social media (and how to avoid the overwhelm)
- What you would actually make as a guest star on network tv (it’s not as much as you think)
- How Ben got involved with SAG-AFTRA committees and politics
- Why the NextGen Performers committee was created
- The real reason it’s more challenging to make a living as an actor
“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” ~Marianne Williamson
“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” ~ Mark Twain (unverified)
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ~ Howard Thurman
Selected People and Items Mentioned
- Congresswoman Diana DeGette
- 4-H organization
- Littleton High School
- President’s Leadership Class at CU Boulder
- Boettcher Scholarship, a full-ride to schools in Colorado
- Colorado Creed
- The Actors’ Network
- AJ Meijer, co-teacher with Ben for their UCLA class
- Kevin E West, actor
- Paulo Andres, manager
- Bonnie Gillespie, creative coach
- Brian Vermeire, of Performer Track
- Evernote, note-taking software
- Woody Schultz, actor
- Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuck
- Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi
- I Will Teach You to be Rich by Ramit Sethi
- The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
- MITT: Mastery in Transformational Training
Copy and share: bit.ly/waj-benw