There are no small parts, only small actors

MV5BMTg2NDQyODAzNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTg5MDA3Nw@@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_I love the movie Rock of Ages. It’s an 80s film and I’m an 80s guy. The Broadway play of the same name was the first play on Broadway I’d ever seen. Although I played pee wee football and loved it, by the time high school came around I was too small for the team, so I got involved in the theater. It helped develop my love of plays and musicals, a love I still enjoy indulging into this day.

There is an old saying in the theater, “there are no small parts, only small actors.”

When I went to the AMC 24 Promenade theater to see the movie, I never expected to see a “Fred.” With a superstar cast featuring Tom Cruise, Julianne Hough, Russell Brand, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Malin Ackerman and Alec Baldwin, who can imagine that there is one short scene in the movie by a comparatively much lesser known actor, that is a scene stealer. The scene features actor T.J. Miller, who is more known for playing the character Stainer, in the Jay Baruchel vehicle, She’s Out of My League. In Rock of Ages, he is billed simply as “Rolling Stone Receptionist,” and his scene only lasts a couple of minutes. It is a phone conversation with Tom Cruise’s character Stacey Jax, but it is incredibly funny and shows that no matter how small your part may be, you can still be amazing.

In fact, the Broadway play is filled with actors and actresses who all play amazing parts. Having seen plenty of theater both in and out of New York I can always tell the difference when I am sitting in a Broadway theater. No actor “faxes” their performance in, on Broadway. It’s each actor performing their role to its highest level, that makes the musicals and plays amazing.

Such are the values of a Fred.

  • Fred’s create extra value by doing more than necessary and exceeding our expectations (Sanborn 51).
  • Fred’s meet needs in advance – they perceive what others need or what extra information or service will help them out, and they provide it (Sanborn 53).
  • Fred’s are often humorous, enthusiastic and enjoyable to be around (Sanborn 54-55).
  • Fred’s solve problems they didn’t create (Sanborn 57) and Fred’s simplify things (Sanborn 58).

Here’s what I find truly amazing. We are ALL making impressions on others, sometimes significant impressions and we don’t even know it (Sanborn 69). But how many of us are conscious of the type of effect we are having on others? Are we leaving them feeling happy, energetic and enthusiastic about life and the day, or are we sucking the life out of them, leaving them feel drained, sad and depressed.

Another important reason to be a Fred is you never know who is watching. There have been times I have offered people jobs or contracts or even offered to open my network to them simply because they impressed me with exceptional customer service. This is how Fred’s get rewarded and most of the time, they don’t even expect it.

Speaking of the 80s, not only did T.J. Miller steal a scene in a mega-superstar cast movie, if you go all the way back to 1983, when the Matthew Broderick movie Wargames came out, a relatively unknown actress was cast to play his friend. But, Ally Sheedy ended up playing the part so well, the directors created a much larger role for her as Broderick’s love interest – Sheedy ended up not only being a significant part of Wargames, but would go on to key roles in The Breakfast Club and St. Elmo’s Fire, two quintessential 80s movies that helped define and inspire a generation.

“Uninspired people rarely do inspired work,” Mark Sanborn (74).

Sanborn, Mark. The Fred Factor: How Passion in Your Work and Life Can Turn the Ordinary into the Extraordinary. New York: Currency/Doubleday, 2004. Print.

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