Talent Is Not Enough

Actor or Startup? - all the same game.

This is a guest post from a frequent collaborator, fellow performer and one of my few true friends TJ Dawe. If you haven’t seen his work you’re missing out.

His journey from refusing to own an iPhone and ‘not being good with computers’ to using these tools to his advantage is honest and revealing.

Nobody likes change, and so many will suffer if they don’t embrace it.

‘The illiterate of the future will not be the person who cannot read. It will be the person who does not know how to learn. - Alvin Toffler’

from TJ:

I used to be a technophobe. I hated computers because they hated me. Or so I thought. Besides, computers are for geeks. I’m an artist. 

I was wrong. 

Being able to use technology has nothing to do with being an artist. It has everything to do with versatility, employability and being able to stay afloat financially. 

I got away with being ignorant for years. My thing was writing and performing monologues. I’d stand on stage and talk. I’d keep my lighting and sound design simple enough that any venue tech could run my cues without a hitch. 

Then I had an idea for a podcast. I didn’t have any funding. So I had to learn sound editing, and how to put a podcast online. And I did. It wasn’t hard. I got lessons from the Apple Store, which were cheap and enjoyable. 

Later, I learned Keynote and QLab to create visuals for an ensemble show. Again - lessons at the Apple Store. Then there was QLab’s support staff, who were fast, free and never made me feel like a dumbass. And then there’s online tutorials. You can find people on YouTube showing you how to do whatever you want, from video editing to making croissants. 

So it turns out I hadn’t been learning that stuff before because I couldn’t. It’s because I didn’t want to. 

I’ve been on a similar journey with the business side of my career. I hated that stuff. I still don’t love it. But now I can update my website. I’m planning on revamping it. I want it to be a site I’d enjoy exploring if I stumbled on it. 

When I’m casting, I look at what someone’s got online. Does it give me a flavor of who they are and what they can do? Is it professional looking or sloppy? Is the most recent update from 2017?

Now I’ve got my ears pricked up for what other tools there are, as things keep developing. Any one of them could give me a new way to express myself, or a new way to get my stuff out there and make a living. 

Technology isn’t just for geeks anymore. When you know how to do more things, your ideas can run in more directions. You’ve got more to offer, so you’re more hirable. When you know the business side, you reach more people with a higher quality product. 

The more versatile you are, the more valuable you are. Your performance and your talent isn’t enough.

Learn more about TJ and his incredible projects at

https://www.tjdawe.ca/ or follow him on Twitter