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Friday, January 10, 2014



Before being a famous singer and Neil Gaiman's main squeeze, Amanda Palmer was a professional living statue. She made enough money to support herself while doing gigs for even less money than you make for standing around covered in paint. She also learned how to ask people for money in a way that gave them something worth more than money.

As I'm fond of pointing out, quite a few enormously successful people went through periods of being huge flops. Stephen King wrote ten novels that didn't sell before he wrote CARRIE. Andie MacDowell, I seem to remember, lived in a car with her mom.

More interestingly is the lesson in asking. People have become very bad at asking. (Not you, dear blog readers. You are still very good at asking.) For one thing, the skill of calling someone on the phone, rather than texting them, has gone out the window.

But there is a weird human truth: if you can get people to do something for you, they often like you better. That's right. They become attached to you. (I believe it has something to do with cognitive dissonance.)

Also, if you get someone in showbiz to do something for you, then you can figure out a favor you can do for them, and now you can call them a friend.

Anyway, no one gets anywhere in showbiz without help. So you should start practicing asking for it.

That doesn't mean asking total strangers to work for you for nothing. It's the people you already know, a little. And you should not ask them, ever, to do anything you can do yourself. Only those things that only they can do for you. Like give you advice. Give you a contact. Teach you how to do something. Explain what you are doing wrong.

It's a lot of work being a good mentee. But most successful people are willing to mentor, if you learn how to ask.

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