A comment left on one of my Youtube Videos.
"Appreciate and respect the knowledge and wisdom of Prof. Ken Rea. But 'living a life of mediocrity' may be a life choice for many actors out there and we shouldn't portray success as the only option. It comes as the industry is failing to support worthy candidates due to discrimination, misrepresentation and systemic corruption. So, a mediocre acting career may be more worthwhile than a successful career filled with selfishness and the wrong motives. Just felt this part should have been highlighted during the talk somehow. Lovely video and definitely learnt a lot, thank you for uploading! Its from a young girl."
Thank you for your comment. You raise an important issue, which I should clarify. For me this comes back to our values – what drives you, what do you bring to your work?
The opposite of mediocrity (‘average or ordinary in quality’) is not success but excellence (‘being outstandingly good’). It’s a bit like climbing a mountain. Interestingly, the origin of the word ‘mediocrity’ is ‘half-way up the mountain’.
You can choose to adopt the value of striving for excellence in everything you do. This means doing something, however small or large, as well as you can. So it’s also not about fame. For example, a potter may set out to create the most beautiful vase, a cabinet maker may strive to create a finely crafted chair.
For an actor, excellence is often about preparation: the actors who achieve excellence prepare meticulously because they want the performance to be the best it can be. Perfection is not possible in acting so you can only strive to get better and better. And if you feel you are starting to achieve a level of excellence in your work, then you may count that a success.
What I was trying to say was: aspire to excellence, rather than settle for mediocrity.
Of course, this is not always easy. You talk of the industry failing to support worthy candidates. How do you face that? You can either accept it and give up. Or you can strive to be the best you can, despite the discrimination, misrepresentation and corruption you talk of, in the hope that in the end, excellence will shine through and be recognised.
And finally, coming back to values – we do it not from selfishness, but from the desire to excite our audience. It’s not for us, it’s for them.