A couple of days ago, I finished reading the biography of one of the most successful film actors in Hollywood, Harrison Ford. The book was written by Garry Jenkins, an entertainment journalist, who worked very hard to research everything about the actor. Garry Jenkins conducted hundreds of interviews with Harrison's colleagues, friends, and family. He went above and beyond in describing Harrison's tough road to success.
I believe that this is a must-read for anyone who would like to pursue acting because this book describes Harrison's reality as an actor before he was famous. He went from being rejected by his peers at school, to broke actor who couldn't get representation to one of Hollywood's biggest A-Lister's who ever lived.
His movies have sold more tickets and made more money than any other actor in movie history.
Harrison's road to success was the farthest thing from easy, and people would be foolish to believe that acting is an easy road to fame and money.
A few lessons that I would like to take away from reading this book that can benefit aspiring actors are:
~It takes years to prove to someone that you are worthy of being renowned for your acting. It takes VERY hard work and dedication to succeed in the movie/show business, including facing one rejection after another and still having the courage to continue to audition while perfecting your craft.
~You must want to act because you LOVE acting, and not because you want fame and money. VERY few actors, unless they are very lucky, ever get A-list status, or even make enough to live on. When Harrison first started pursuing acting, he was broke, rejected and struggled to find enough money to pay mortgage and feed his family.
~Sometimes you have to be picky with what projects you choose to take part in. For example, when Harrison was starting out, although broke and out of work, he did not take part in projects that could undermine his reputation as someone who is serious. He did not take part in commercial acting, although it paid good money, because he believed that doing so would prevent the serious movie people from taking him seriously.
~The completed project that you think will fail might end up being a hit with the public.
~Those who are worthy of fame are usually the ones who do not want the fame/media attention. In the book, he said that "being normal is kind of a victory". The only time he wanted to be covered by the press was when he had a movie to sell, but not any other time.
~You should only contribute to charities because you genuinely care and want to help. Although Harrison Ford donated millions of dollars to worthy causes, he did NOT use his philanthropy as a publicity stunt. In fact, he kept quiet about it.
If you would like your own copy of Harrison Ford: Imperfect Hero, you can purchase it HERE
Some quotes from the book that I liked:
"My job is not to show you that the character and I have something in common. My job is to show you that you and the character-even one who may seem a little crazy-have something in common"-Harrison Ford to American critic Gene Siskel (pg. 250).
"He is very strong; he has a lot of determination and doesn't quit"-Steinfeld said [about Harrison Ford] (pg. 264).
"The only reasonable place to be a movie star is on the set where you can use it to control your own destiny, and that's its only use"-Harrison Ford(pg. 316)
Of course, there are many, many more, but I won't completely ruin the book for you.