Several years ago, during my time as an agent, I represented an amazing writer named Brian Nelson, who wrote a fabulous script, entitled Hard Candy.
When casting took place for the movie, a relatively unknown Canadian actor named Ellen Page was cast as the female lead. As a result of her decision to do the part, the buzz that was generated around the film, (including it being called “the scariest film at Sundance” in USA Today), as well as the buzz about her performance in the movie, put Ellen on the radar of US Casting Directors.
Several roles later she was cast as the lead in the newly Oscar-nominated film Juno. As a result of her decision to accept the role of Juno, Ellen was nominated for her own Oscar Award in the category of Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for 2008.
Hard Candy put Ellen Page on the map; Juno made her a star.
Other examples of other well-known actors taking advantage of the opportunities that were presented to them, during the course of their careers, include: Amy Adams, Tom Cruise and Julia Roberts, just to name a few.
Amy Adams had 6 years of acting credits on her resume before accepting the role of Ashley Johnsten in the wonderful, small, independent film, Junebug. As a result of that decision, Junebug put Amy on the map and also awarded her with an Oscar nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role. The recent Disney film, Enchanted, has now made Amy a star.
Tom Cruise only had four small credits on his resume, before accepting the lead role of Joel Goodsen in the movie Risky Business. Tom’s decision to that part put him on the map. Three years later, the movie Top Gun made Tom Cruise a star.
And, last, but not least is Julia Roberts, whose career I wanted when I was pursuing my own acting career. Julia’s first film credit was in the “uncredited role” of Babs in the movie Firehouse. One year later, she was cast as Daisy Arujo in the ensemble film, Mystic Pizza, which put her on everyone’s radar screen. After that, Julia’s role in Steel Magnolias awarded her with her first Oscar nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, but it was her role in Garry Marshall’s film, Pretty Woman, which turned Julia Roberts into a star.
Ellen Page, Amy Adams, Tom Cruise and Julia Roberts all took advantage of an opportunity that was presented to them, even if it wasn’t a big role in big budget movie.
So what does this have to do with your life, and/or your career? That depends upon who you are today, who you want to be tomorrow and what you want to accomplish during your time on this planet.
If you’re happy with your life exactly as it is right now, then kudos to you, because you are probably someone who has taken advantage of whatever opportunities have come your way, and as a result, you are living the life of your dreams.
However, if you’re not happy with the life you’re leading, then I would challenge you to start paying attention to every opportunity that lands in your lap, no matter how small it may seem.
Your life is your life and no one can live it but you.
However, the great thing about that statement is that we can create a better life for ourselves any time we want, simply by making better decisions or by taking advantage of opportunities that come our way.
So, if you’re ready to make some changes, then it’s up to you to analyze those opportunities that present themselves to you, and then make different decisions than the ones you usually make, because you just never know how even the smallest decision could change your life forever.
Copyright © 2008 Sharon Moist.
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