Monday, August 15, 2011

It's Less Who You Are, and More Where You Are

Chef and I have talked quite a bit lately about opportunities. How someone gets them and then what to do with them. And there's on thing quite evident that came out of it. Opportunities on a large, celebrity scale are less about who you are, and more about where you are.

Remember that story you heard in high school about this person who was discovered by a talent scout at the mall to model or have a part in a movie. And then you started wearing nicer clothes to the mall for a while? That might as well be an urban legend, because it frankly doesn't really happen. At least not to big stars. Modelling agencies are always on the look out for talent, but unless there's an open call or a scout has family in Des Moines, it's just not likely.

When it comes to big breaks, proximity always matters. If you live near LA or New York, you're likelihood of being better connected and having those opportunities are clearly higher. It wasn't until I was older (and now living in one of those places), that I really see how much of a difference the change makes.

Case in point: Snoop Dogg and Cameron Diaz. Two pretty big celebrities. One is a good musician. Is he the best musician in the world? I think we can agree that he isn't. But has a good sound that caught someone's ear. Cameron Diaz is likewise cute, but I think we all went to high school with someone much prettier and probably with equal acting talent (let's just agree she's no Diane Lane--just saying). When you realize that they went to the same high school, and a high school that's in the metro LA area, it becomes clear the secret to their success. The right place at the right time.

This explains why there aren't a lot of Hoosier superstars or why people move their kids out to LA at an early age to get them connected. I always thought that if you were good enough, people will find you. And that's true to some extent, but only in like 2 percent of all cases. The other 98 percent came from the good fortune of a good zip code.

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