Don Draper Gives Instant Inspiration!
Written by Benny Hsu
This excerpt was originally published on The Get Busy Living Blog.
Jon Hamm – Before he was Don Draper in the hit series Mad Men, Jon was a struggling actor approaching his self imposed deadline on his dream.
In school he played sports as much as he acted, but he got drawn back into acting. In college, he did some theater. After graduating from college with an English degree, he taught eight grade acting.
In 1995, he decided to move out to Los Angeles with his car and $150. He didn’t want to have a “normal career”.
He had an agent with the famous William Morris Agency. Success right? Wrong. In three years, he didn’t get a single acting job. That time many 25 year olds were getting jobs playing high school students. He didn’t cause he looked too old.
So his agency dropped him.
He worked as a set dresser for soft core porn films. He became a waiter.
He had given himself five years to make it as a working actor. He was now 29. Time was running out. He could make a living as a waiter. But he knew a lot of 40-year-old waiters and he didn’t want to be one of those. He had taught school and he knew that he could always go back to teaching.
He gave himself a deadline of 30 years old to succeed and said:
“You either suck that up and find another agent, or you go home and say you gave it a shot, but that’s the end of that. The last thing I wanted to be out here was one of those actors who’s 45 years old, with a tenuous grasp of their own reality, and not really working much. So I gave myself five years. I said, if I can’t get it going by the time I’m 30, I’m in the wrong place. And as soon as I said that, it’s like I started working right away.”
At the age of 29, he got cast in a television show, Providence. That led him to quit waiting tables. When he turned 30, he was on the set of his first big movie, We Were Soldiers starring Mel Gibson.
After many small roles the next years, in 2007 at the age of 36, he beat out 80 actors for the role of Don Draper on Mad Men. Your life is just beginning in your 30′s. So if you’re about to approach your 30′s, don’t worry. You still have your best years ahead of you. If you’re in your 30′s like me, it can get better. It’s never too late to do what you love and have your big breakthrough success.
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