No Amount of Failure Can Dissuade a Determined Actor
Susan Saint James breaks down the difference between the determined actor and the actor who has talent but lacks determination
(by Tonya Tannenbaum)
Talent is the first quality that would most likely be cited, if you asked the average person on the street why one actor is more successful than another actor.
There’s good reason for this. Talent is the quality that is most manifest. We can see an actor’s talent, on-stage or on-screen.
We can see an actor like Joaquin Phoenix transform himself into the Joker and assume that his success his based solely on that ability.
What people can’t see, of course, are the years of struggle, perseverance and determination that went into, not only the development of that talent, but also the determination it took to stick with an acting career long enough to get the opportunity to put that talent on display.
Unlike most professions, the acting business is not a meritocracy. All the talent in the world does not a star make. Stars are made through sweat and hard work. Determination beats talented-but-lazy almost any day of the week.
Just ask Susan Saint James, the American actress best known for her role as Sally Hull McMillan on the detective show, McMillan & Wife (1971-1976) and as Kate on Kate & Allie (1984-1989). She broke down the difference between the talented, determined actor and the actor who possesses the talent, but lacks the hustle to beat the odds.
As James once said (as quoted in the book Winning Auditions, by Mark Brandon):
“Through my own experiences and achievements, I have found that no amount of encouragement, help, or advice can make an unmotivated person a star, while at the same time, no amount of failure, discouragement, or adversity can dissuade a determined actor.”
(Susan Saint James)
Her determination through the years led to her receiving a Primetime Emmy Award, four other Primetime Emmy Award nominations and a Golden Globe nomination. It also led to her receiving arguably the highest honor an actor can receive, short of winning an Oscar. In 2008, she got her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
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