The Teacher Will Appear

Oh if only there were someone to give me a sign!

Oh if I only had a sign!

If you were ever forced to read Homer’s Odyssey  then you know that Mentor was the name that Athena took when she disguised herself as an old man to help Odysseus regain his throne. So Mentor was literally a god in human clothing guiding a hero towards victory; who wouldn’t want that kind of advantage? I certainly want it,  and I’m not even trying to fight for a kingdom; I’m just trying to make a go of it in the movie biz. I long to find a Mentor who can tell me what I should be doing in order to be a success.

This sounds simple.

It’s not.

The problem isn’t finding someone willing me to tell me how to be a success: Los Angeles is lousy with career coaches. There are probably more career coaches than there are acting schools. In fact, I know that there are more career coaches than acting schools because acting schools have to carry a $50,000 bond with the city in order to call themselves an acting school. So far as I know the only thing preventing someone from hanging their shingle as a career coach is the price of shingles these days.

This is not to say that all career coaches in LA are mustache twirling snake-oil salesmen cackling with glee about all the money they can scam off of rubes. In fact of the ones that I have met have always been perfectly nice people who just want to make a living by having me pay for their counseling services. And that’s where I put the brakes on in a big way.

The thing is: Mentoring is supposed to be a wiser, more powerful person (or in Athena’s case, a god) imparting their wisdom and power upon a worthy learner. Worthy is the key word in that sentence: I personally believe that Mentorship must be earned, not bought. As soon as money becomes part of the equation it stops being about worthiness and wisdom and starts being about a paycheck. Suddenly Mentorship becomes a commodity that you can buy instead of a collaboration between a Veteran and a Novice.

So as much as I want a Mentor I am still looking for the right person to whom I can prove my worth. As the Buddhists say: when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on February 3, 2013.

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