Ok, the title is not really true, but I hope it got your attention.
So recently I happened to catch a piece of 60 Minutes about Mr. Arnold Schwarzenegger. It was actually my house mate watching it, but I could hear his thick accent come through. What a life this guy has lived. Love him or hate him he’s definately a larger than life individual (even without the huge muscles). One of the people to truly personify the American Dream (there’s a lot less of those around these days).
What I find interesting about Mr. Schwaznagger is how he was able to succeed despite breaking all the rules.
I mean let’s think about it. He became a multi million dollar movie star, on top of the game, all this despite:
- Having an accent you could barely understand
- A huge body that broke all Hollywood physique stereotypes (I mean… too big)
- A last name that I still can’t type correctly
- Coming from Germany, a country that the U.S. had a huge military confrontation with (did I mention his dad was a Nazi party member)
- Very few if any connections in America
So what the hell happened? How was Mr. Arnold able to flip the script as it were, and totally redefine Hollywood?
Here are a couple of thoughts that I can name:
- Don’t bother working to fit in
It seems these days, everyone wants to be somebody else rather than embracing what makes them unique. When Arnold went to his agent in Hollywood, the agent (and probably everyone close to him) recommended he change his last name to be more readily accepted by the movie going public. Arnold refused to compromise and interestingly enough, if you ask me, having a name like that is actually an advantage because I would say to my friend “Wow, did you hear about that film with the guy that has the long name?” “Yeh…” “We should go watch that”. Viral marketing :P
- Insane (work ethic)
Arnold’s work ethic was second to none. When he put his sights on becoming Mr. Olympia he went out and did it.
- Finding the right role
Sometimes we try to put a square through a round hole. Some might accuse Arnold Schwarzenegger of being less an actor and closer to a robot… so he played a robot lol.
- Keep your brand
Unlike actors like Johnny Depp who play a range of characters Arnold Schwarzenegger basically plays the same guy in every movie (don’t tell me, you know it’s true). This might seem like not the way to practice the acting craft and I’m sure some out of work actors may agree. However when you go to an Arnold film you know what to expect and so he builds a loyal following of fans.
- Try new things
So this might actually appear to contradict the previous point, but don’t be afraid of trying new things – keep it fresh. Arnold switched it up completely in Junior, a film about him getting pregnant. The film got lousy ratings but I think it speaks for Arnold’s outlook, he’s never afraid to try something completely different. I mean look at his career – body builder, action star and now politician. Pretty random if you ask me.
What do you think made Mr. Arnold so incredibly sucessful?
P.S. And yes I know he slept with his house maid, which is not cool, however I wanted to focus on this guy’s success rather than his failures.