Finding, Acknowledging, and Keeping a Mentor

By Diane Christiansen

Nicole and Miranda visit Screen Teens

 
Having a mentor is vital to your acting career.

Why waste years making the same mistakes others have made? With a mentor, you can learn from their experiences and quite possibly move your career forward leaps and bounds in a much shorter amount of time than anticipated! Gleaning what you can from the dos and don’ts that they have learned firsthand, and having another connection to the industry that could prove invaluable, will get you on the fast track to success.

Diane & Miranda May with the cast of DOMA's Jesus Christ Superstar

A mentor is anyone who has had experience in a similar field as you and can advise you on how to proceed in your career. You can go to them with questions, concerns, or even just for anecdotal advice. You’ll be amazed at what you can learn from a mentor: they know all the best places to go for scripts, the best sites for actor info, and the top rated acting classes and private acting coaching.

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Diane with her “Reel Actors”

How do you find a mentor? Simply by networking, volunteering, or just hanging out where other creative people congregate. You might even find one on set or at an audition!

Once you’ve found someone with whom you have a good rapport, whom you can go to with all of your questions, you’ll need to acknowledge their status as a mentor in your life. The best way to do this is simply by saying, “Thank you.” A simple thanks for all they’re doing for you by being a guiding element in your career, a beacon of great things to come, and symbol of invaluable trust will solidify your professional and personal relationship.

This acknowledgement also goes a long way to keeping your mentor. Along with your sincerest, heartfelt gratitude, an open line of communication is key to sustaining a working relationship with your mentor. While it is more likely that you will be the one asking the questions and needing the support, always be open to offering that kind of support to your mentor as well. Friendship is a two-way street.

And the one thing that a mentor will always be is a friend.

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Diane with Elise Luthman