Guest: How Passion and Business Can Collide

Growing up, I had always secretly wanted to audition for the school play. But that, I was told was a wasted pursuit. Theater was a dream, not a practicality; better to study something useful.

Years later, I'm still not sure what to make of that.

I always had a passion for performing -- I would jump at the chance to address large crowds and could even be found break dancing in battles at the Deerfield Commons -- but I was going to make money in business, through balance sheets and accounting.

Through college at Notre Dame -- where I majored in Business and Finance -- the desire to perform remained strong. Friends would write me into their student films to play a guy named “Anthony,”

By the time I had graduated, most of my electives had somehow ended up in the theater department. Still, performing arts was not a sound career choice for a Domer with student loans and a proud family awaiting my ascension into the business Hall of Fame. Or so I thought.

“Maybe you should go out to Hollywood for a couple years and give the acting thing a try,” said my father, a golf professional in Highland Park, Illinois.

I decided to go for it. I quit my job selling mutual funds/group insurance, took an 80 percent pay cut to become the barista at the Artist's Cafe in the Fine Arts Building, signed up for an acting class at Act One Studios, and jumped in to acting, directing and producing.

That was 15 years ago, and what I've learned since then as the Artistic and Executive Director of Collaboraction, is how practical a degree in business would be in the arts.

After heading to Hollywood on my father's recommendation, I completed a 10-month intensive studio program with acting guru Steven Ivcich, and then got cast in Collaboraction's third show.

Since that day, I've produced 11 SKETCHBOOK festivals, and more than 100 events, directed and performed at the Goodman Theatre, guest starred on Prison Break and The Beast, and have had the great honor of working with hundreds of passionate artists and patrons of the arts.

Here are a few things I have learned along the way:

1. A business degree and basic understanding of accounting, budgets, marketing, and management is a great thing to have as an artist. The same applies for arts training for business people.

2. Each of us has one thing we can do better than anyone else in the world. Follow your passion, find your one thing, do it, and the world will take notice.

3. If you can think it, it can be.

4. Be open and pay attention. It is all right in front of you.

5. There is no such thing as an artist who is not good at business or vice versa; that's an excuse made by people who do not want to go out of their comfort zone.

6. If you love what you do, you'll never work another day in your life.

7. Don't try to stop the natural order of the universe. You will fail. Birds fly, dancers dance, and funny people make people laugh.

8. Through collaboration, anything is possible.

9. Any piece of art is only as effective as the artist's willingness and ability to truthfully reveal themselves.

10. No regrets. You only get one life.

This is my first blog on Inc. Well and I am delighted to be able to share some things I have learned as a businessman and artist with you. Stay tuned for blogs about collaboration, creativity, leveraging your assets in unexpected ways, the spirituality of break dancing, and passion, that internal compass inside each of us that will always guide us down the right path.

Anthony Moseley serves as the Executive and Artistic Director of COLLABORACTION, where he has been lauded for innovation and collaboration while overseeing 48 productions and over 250 events since 1999.  Mr. Moseley co-founded the annual SKETCHBOOK Festival of theatre, music and visual art (now in it’s 11th year) and he created Collaboraction’s Experience Design Department, a for-hire division of the company which offers event creative services to corporate, private and civic groups. He is also an actor and has been seen in Prison Break and numerous television and film appearances. He holds a BA in Finance from the University of Notre Dame.

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