Tom Hanks mentors war veteran, gives career advice - 5 highlights
Tom Hanks recently became a mentor for a U.S. war veteran as part of ABC News' "Standing Up For Heroes" project and gave the young man some career advice.
The Oscar-winning actor made his comments in an interview with the network's Bob Woodruff. At the time it was taped, he had not yet met the person he is mentoring, Gabriel Posey, a former staff sergeant in the Army Reserves military police who served his military duty in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay.
ABC News reports that Posey, 32, wants to work in the entertainment industry. While Hanks' advice to him focuses on show business, which the actor called a "battlefield" and "harsh mistress," readers may find his words apply to careers outside Hollywood.
Check out 5 pieces of career advice, with regard to working in the entertainment industry, from Tom Hanks:
1. Be a problem solver.
"This is the great thing about so many people in the military is, man they are really good at solving problems," Hanks told ABC News. "When you can find somebody who solves problems in the motion picture industry, those people are worth their weight in precious metals."
"Solving problems as opposed to causing them is the difference between people who can and cannot make it," he said. "Were just gonna match them up with the same skill set, maybe a little bit different than he had when he was in the military but let me tell ya, a lot of show business is a battlefield all on its own so we'll see what we can do."
2. Learn to field the 'phone call of bad news.'
"I would say that 90 percent of the real good jobs in show business are all about the phone call of bad news," Hanks said. "So and so is not happening and it has to happen within 45 minutes so you put that phone down and you fix whatever that problem is. Somebody who can turn the cards over when they need to be turned over is going to do well."
3. ... by exhibiting equipoise, or poise.
"The motion picture-TV industry requires this quality that I believe is known as equipoise. Equipoise means you have to have this perfect balance between relaxation and concentration. You've got to be able to move in whatever direction that is required at the moment," Hanks said.
"When that phone call comes in, and says 'We have a disaster on our hands,' you have to say, very calmly and quietly, 'Let me see what I can do. I'll take care of this. Don't worry.' Then you go off and take care of whatever it is."
Hanks said this probably applies to many people in the military who have to both take orders and give orders.
"You have to quickly and with lightning speed, go through a file in your head that says, 'Who's the best person to get this taken care of?' You've got to match up in your head skill sets with the task at hand and you've got to say, 'I'm going to give this to this young man because if I don't, I'm going to get singed by the guy that I just got the phone call from. That is surprisingly enough, a great amount of what goes on in my business."
4. Be prepared to be judged.
"Show business is a harsh mistress, let me put it that way," Hanks said. "Because here's why -- you are going to be judged not by the people you have given orders to, but by the people who have given you orders. If you are not proactive, essentially, if you don't deliver the goods, if you don't get it done, then that is going to be a hash mark against you."
5. Be prepared for failure, don't let it get you down, and try again.
"Don't take anything personally. It's going to take a while," Hanks said. "The thing that I think can drive an awful lot of people out of every aspect of the motion picture industry is feelings of failure and self-loathing when you don't get the job. That's a hard thing to get past. Ninety-nine percent of the time in this business, people say, 'No thank you.'"
"That means, if you've got a month and you've been out 120 times, that means 117 times, people have said, 'No thanks, you ain't got what we want.' That is a hard thing in order to say, 'Regardless of that failure, regardless of not getting that job, I'm going to go off and try to get one tomorrow.' You have got to say, 'I know who I am, I know what my skills are and I'm in this for the long haul. Perseverance. It all comes down to that."
Hanks has faced disappointment in his career as well, despite being one of the most famous and well-liked actors in Hollywood and having won two Oscars, for his roles in the films "Philadelphia" (watch his acceptance speech) and "Forrest Gump." His latest movie, "Cloud Atlas" was not as well-received by critics as many of his former projects, which include films such as "Big," "Splash," "A League of Their Own," "Cast Away," "Turner & Hooch," "You've Got Mail" and Disney-Pixar's "Toy Story" franchise.
About 10 years after he began his on-screen career, Hanks reportedly said: "I've made over 20 movies and five of them are good." He has since made more than 50 films. He was asked about the quote in the ABC News interview.
"Five of them are pretty good," he said. "The rest of them are ... let's just say this -- I always used the baseball analogy. The closer you are to batting .300, the closer you are to getting in the Hall of Fame. And if you're batting .197, .198, you'll do better in the spring. You'll work on mechanics, you'll come back, you'll be a little bit better."