Charlie Chaplin rose from poverty to become the first international superstar. How did he do it? Here’s how I see it.
1. Extraordinary Talent. Duh.
2. Extraordinary Hard Work. Chaplin had to work very hard because he had extraordinarily high standards. While Mack Sennett would want most of the shots in his films done in 1 take, Charlie began asking for more tries. When he gained control of his own production, he would spend enormous time developing his ideas with an entire crew there shooting everything. The documentary “Unknown Chaplin” show some of these outtakes, which are quite rare.
Sometimes, he would shut down production at considerable cost, in order to rethink the entire film. No producer would allow this today. But Chaplin’s reputation was on the line. He owned the work.
3. Extraordinary luck. Yes, luck. It was luck that he happened to be seen on stage by Keystone Studio owner Mack Sennett, and was offered enough money to lure him away. The movies were a new technology, a risky venture. But when the right person finds the potential in a new technology, fantastic things can happen. While Chaplin had enormous confidence in himself, he could not have imagined what movies would do for him. As I wrote in yesterday’s post, he, like many stage actors, thought the movies would be a passing fad. He was wrong, but he was lucky.
The point is, new technologies are coming at us faster than ever. If you have talent, work really hard, and own what you do, the technology might be there waiting to take you someplace you never dreamed of.