As your friend of four years, I think it's time we had a little talk.

This month, I head into my fifth year of writing this column. I know, I know, hard to believe, how time flies. But check the archives. Then scrooooooooll down. See? It's true: four years, and this sucker kicks off the fifth.

Or not.

Here's the thing: I have loved writing this column. (I've also hated it now and then, but as a writer, that goes with the territory.) I've loved sharing all this crazy stuff I've managed to learn along the way, synthesizing what I've learned from (mumble-mumble, okay...TWENTY-FIVE) years of marketing and acting and consulting, and sharing it with people who are plugging away at a heart's desire that just happens to be one of the toughest pursuits around. It makes me feel useful! This makes me feel good!

At the same time, it has grown harder and harder to remain chipper and non-cynical in the face of repeated NOT-listening.

What, you may ask, is NOT-listening?

NOT-listening is sending me questions about how you can get an agent, or how you can break into the business, or whether I can introduce/recommend/promote you to the current object of your professional desire.

NOT-listening is including attachments with your email, even though I have never met anyone in my entire emailing lifetime who has liked emails with attachments.

NOT-listening is adding me to your mailing list, and NOT-listening is definitely emailing me a series of angry replies when I (politely) ask to be removed from an email list you have added me to without my permission.

In other words, NOT-listening is flagrantly disregarding anything I share about asking for help or contacting people, especially in response to an actual column on the topic.

Sadly, this type of NOT-listening seems to be so firmly entrenched, I can do nothing more than shake my head and wonder how people expect to make it across the street without getting mowed down by a bus, much less have an acting career. So I'm not going to say anything more about NOT-listening, mostly because the people who aren't, aren't! Soon, I'll put up a list of FAQs I can link to, and either direct people there, or just delete. For now, if you've been directed here in response to your email to me, you know why. (And if you have a friend who engages in the kind of behavior that's going to put him or her further behind, be a friend, and tell them why they should stop it.)

Now, since you're still here, and you are listening, you get a treat. Because good behavior should be rewarded as often as humanly possible (although yeah, virtue is its own reward, too).

I want to hear from you. That's right, on this, the occasion of our fourth anniversary, I am soliciting input from you. (I think that's right: first anniversary, paper; third, video game consoles; fourth, input.) Because I want to keep making this column as useful as possible. Because I want YOU to have a voice. Because I have always wanted to make one of those surveys with SurveyMonkey, mostly because it is so much fun to say "SurveyMonkey!" (Try it; see what I mean?)

If you would, please click on this link and answer these four short questions. They will all help make this a better source of information for you, and hey, the fourth question is even optional! How can you beat that?

Thanks, and I look forward to making this column better/stronger/faster in the year(s) to come.


30-minute-or-less tip of the month: Drop whatever you're doing right now and sign up for the Lefsetz Letter, a daily (sometimes more!) email about the changing face of the music industry, written by a really smart, long-time insider. Because if you think what's happened to music and publishing isn't going to already happening to the performing arm of entertainment, you're kookoo. You'll learn a ton from Bob, in just a few short minutes every day. And have a good time doing it!  For more 30-minute tips, click here.


Want more ideas? Sign up for my (free) newsletter! Every month I send out a free missive about how to promote yourself without being a tool, and connect with people in a way that makes them love you. It's not about acting explicitly, but since you're a smart actor, that shouldn't scare you. Check it out, then sign up.

Email me your questions: If you've got stuff you'd like to see addressed in a future column, do email me. But please, check the archives, first!

Colleen Wainwright is a writer-speaker-layabout who started calling herself "the communicatrix" when she hit three hyphens. She spent a decade writing commercials and another decade acting in them for cash money. Now she uses her powers for good and not evil by helping people learn how to get there faster by getting out of their own way.