“I have been an actor and independent film director for over twenty-five years. Most of those years, like so many artists, I pushed my financial matters to the back burner as I worked hard and harder on my creative ideas – always hoping my art would soon pay off and free me from my financial concerns. Many of my artist friends still live that same lifestyle, always struggling to scour up money for bills and rent payments.
The Responsible Artist book and website has great concepts and practical solutions for the artist. What I like most about The Responsible Artist book and website is that both authors have a great balance of practical financial advice. They never lose the reader. The Responsible Artist book and website also does a great by job not making the reader feel embarrassed or guilty for not being on top of things financially. The Responsible Artist book and website are both encouraging, uplifting and proactive. I kept thinking to myself as I read more and more, “I wish I had this information twenty years ago.”
James Adam Tucker
“I have been in this business called acting for over 3 decades now. I have experienced many of the things Kate Zenna and David Wolfe discuss in their book, The Responsible Artist.
As a long-established film, television and theater actor I am happy to share my thoughts on this book and program. Through my additional work as an acting teacher, I work with newcomers to the business who are full of hopes and dreams without any comprehension of the artistic and life challenges that lie ahead. In fact, I was Ms. Zenna’s first acting teacher many years ago and it’s wonderful to see how she has chosen to share her experiences with her fellow artists.
The authors have hit the nail right on the head with their viewpoints in the book. The main one being: I love being an artist – how do I stay in the creative/artistic game? It has been a long and interesting road for me and many of the things I read in the book I have experienced. But I had to navigate without guidance, mentoring, or a roadmap – which this book most certainly is. I found the two voices in the book to work – I like the point/counterpoint feeling of it. A parent/friend dynamic.
I feel this is an important book for anybody who makes their living providing creative expression to the world at large. It gives you emotional and financial tools to not make mistakes that many artists make in their professional and personal lives.”
Alan C. Peterson
Actor, Acting Coach
“I’ve enjoyed reading The Responsible Artist by Kate Zenna and David Wolfe. I was drawn in from the beginning by Mr. Wolfe’s recollection of filing for bankruptcy while a young man. I too have been around that block a few times and have almost faced what he had to face. Adversity builds character, and can be a cruel but useful teacher.
I’ve worked with many, many actors over the years in my role as a producer, writer and talent manager. I think there are many who would be well-served by heeding the lessons generously offered in the book. Being in this business is different than any other because of what the authors talk about from the very beginning – actors are artists and they have a creative soul. They look at their profession through a unique lens. And many times, their special view of the world puts them in financial peril. Mr. Wolfe lays down some lessons and rules for artists that are concise and, I think, eminently followable if they are willing to do the work. Ms. Zenna definitely walks the talk and offers quite a few real-life lessons of being close to financial devastation and the changes she made to self-rescue.
I applaud the authors’ efforts and highly recommend this book to anybody and everybody who makes their living as an artist. I wish this book had been available when I was beginning my career in show business.”
Producer, Writer, Agent
“The Responsible Artist is an important book for anyone who intends to earn a living as an artist or entertainer. As entrepreneurs and artists themselves, Kate and David bring a real empathy to their writing but do so with practical and actionable advice. Both authors generously teach from their experiences and offer themselves as great allies (especially to young artists just starting out). The book provides a solid foundation of strategy, discipline, and love for the artist’s journey.”
“I am a young actress who only recently arrived in Hollywood from the UK. I had the good fortune of being a student with Kate Zenna in Sandy Marshall’s acting class. One day I heard Kate talking about a project she was working on – The Responsible Artist. Kate told me a few things about the program but essentially, she told me I needed to read her book – particularly since I was just getting started in the business. I just now finished the book and I want to write all of this while it is fresh in my head. First of all – Kate, thank you for your mentorship and for having such a pure heart and understanding of artists. I trust you from the top of my head down to the bottom of toes. You are such a role model to me and have given me such good advice – both in the book and in person. Your partnership with David is so inspirational. I love that, while obviously a businessman, he too is a creative and that he ‘gets’ us. Your book has given me a lot to think about. I anxiously await the companion book so I can dig in and begin making some of the lessons habits as both of you describe. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
“I will admit it. I am a shameless David Wolfe fan. I have been the lucky recipient of some of his business advice after spending a morning with him at his Los Angeles office. David has this rare combination of humor, deep business experience, and has the heart of an artist. He is also a master marketer. I couldn’t write fast enough while he was mentoring me. The caring, loving advice I received from him on that May morning is completely mirrored in The Responsible Artist. He means what he says and he says what he means. Artists – listen to him and just do what he says.
Kate Zenna has lived (and lives!) the life that many of us artists have chosen. She has the purest of hearts and intention. Her caring, while equal to David’s, comes from another place entirely as she has walked in the shoes of her artistic soul mates. All of this comes through so clearly in The Responsible Artist…as does the nature of their partnership. They are a bit of an Odd Couple. The Texan CPA paired with the Canadian film and TV actress. Their partnership is a case, as Aristotle said, where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
I think The Responsible Artist book and the accompanying coaching program is groundbreaking and is an effort whose time has come. Do yourself a favor – read this book.”
“Balance. It’s ‘the’ conversation. In life, this is something I seek every day. As an artist, it is a constant negotiation between the work and the life that supports it. Without a proper grasp of how to find this balance, neither life nor the art can flourish. What Kate and David have created with The Responsible Artist program, is a support system to find just that. Balance. “
“I had the opportunity to read an advanced copy of The Responsible Artist. I was immediately drawn in after reading the Prologue. The story told by Kate Zenna mirrors every single feeling I have around being an artist – she captures the joy, the anguish, the pride, the fear, and the resolve. This was immediately followed by David Wolfe’s story of being a single parent as a young man and the personal devastation he experienced. Immediately thereafter the book gets into some practical advice on how to stay in the artistic business. The book ping-pongs back and forth between Zenna and Wolfe as they share their different viewpoints. Wolfe’s voice coming as a businessman and CPA, with Zenna’s point of view as a seasoned actress.
Besides learning a few things, I feel buttressed in my ongoing daily decision and self-discussions to ‘earn my living’ as an actor. I am grateful to both authors. Thank you.”
“I am glad somebody has finally written this book. The suffering and torment by so many that could have been avoided if it only had come out sooner…
I am an actor and have had my own struggles around money. How much is enough? Am I selling out if I really ‘go for it’? Will I lose myself, and my friends, if I am successful? I feel like both authors were speaking directly to me. Mr. Wolfe with his uncommon wisdom around money and time and Ms. Zenna with her beautiful, aching heart of an artist. Together they equal hope, promise, and most importantly, plans. I feel like I have some tools to work with. They have both given me a lot to think about and consider. I hope they move forward with this program and make it available to every working artist. Thank you for the gifts you have shared.”
“Acting isn’t just a job, or a technique or a skillset, it’s a way of life. Despite studying it formally for three years at Trinity College Dublin this idea never really hit home with me until much later. Much of the actor’s life is taken up with taking care of yourself, physically and mentally in a very precarious world so that you are ready for the opportunity when the opportunity comes. There are all kinds of vague ideas that I mull over from time to time. The great thing about Kate and David’s book is that they are formally proposing a thesis of how to be a responsible and flourishing artist irrespective of where you are on the ladder. That to me is what an artist is – it’s holistic. You don’t just get to be an artist when you’re on the job, you’ve got to be one all the time. It’s the pursuit of your art that you must draw fulfillment from just as much, if not more, as from the validation of that pursuit by others or the “industry.” That’s what I take from this book on my first reading of it. I know that in the future I will take more from it, when I return for advice and counsel.
I have great admiration for David and Kate for putting this book together and formalizing thoughts and ideas in this bold and innovative way so that actors and artists now, and in the future, can galvanize themselves for magnificent journeys on stormy seas.”
“I directed Kate in the feature film Jack and Jill – her first movie role, 20 years ago for which she was astoundingly nominated for a Canadian Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She fought hard to be great and she was. I saw the seeds then of what she has become today – a tough-minded, tender-hearted individual who brings her well-earned wisdom, humility and insatiable passion for breaking new ground and achieving excellence to both her work as an actor and her growth as an inspirational leader.
What Kate and her CPA partner, Mr. Wolfe have created with their Responsible Artist program is nothing short of miraculous. The material has guts, integrity is vital to EVERYBODY in today’s modern entertainment and artistic landscape – regardless of stature. Their vision is a contemporary, living road map. Read their book, listen to their podcasts, and join their coaching program. Not only are you in for a treat – but it’s one that may change every facet of your life.”
Creative Executive and Director, Filmmaker, Artist
“As an actor myself, I know all too well the day-to-day struggle creatives face trying to find a balance between commerce and pursuing a career in the arts. Like the title suggests, “The Responsible Artist” explores this much-needed balance and integrates two concepts that seem at constant odds by aligning artists with their goals and the efficiency to reach them. With their practical and loving guidance, Kate and David provide a road map for artists to productively focus on matters like time management, money and self-promotion. The intent of this book is clear – to empower those who make art – and who want to make a living doing it.”
“I have always told my friends and family that I don’t really care about money – I just want to be an actor. Truth be told that mindset really hasn’t worked out that well for me. And to be even more truthful – I DO care about money in that I have gotten tired of not having any. And then out of the blue found my way to “The Responsible Artist” book.
From Zenna’s prologue to Wolfe’s opening paragraph about going broke as a young man I knew this was a book with HEART. I felt understood by Kate Zenna and firmly mentored by David Wolfe. I now know that (and I quote David Wolfe here), “Money does not corrupt a pure spirit and creative heart. It only corrupts if you lose your way.” I have been waiting so long for somebody to tell me that.
I fully endorse this book and recommend that anybody and everybody in the arts and entertainment business read it.”
“While this book has great tips on time and money the one chapter that got my attention started with a quote from Frank Zappa – “Art is making something out of nothing and selling it.” With that one quote and then David Wolfe’s chapter about being in sales, most of my objections and issues with the notion of sales evaporated. But then my guard shot back up again a few sentences later when I was informed that I am not artist but rather I am “in the business of marketing my artistry”. A lot of this has been jumping around in my brain in the last week since I finished the book. Maybe I CAN be an artist AND be aggressive in marketing myself. Maybe they aren’t mutually exclusive. Kate Zenna seems to think I can do it. Thank you to the authors for ripping me out of my comfort zone.”
“I just now finished reading The Responsible Artist and I feel compelled to write this review.
I was an actress for many years and now an international entrepreneur. My husband is still an actor and as I read the book I found myself nodding my head up and down. I felt each and every word that Kate Zenna wrote. Scott and I have lived this life. (And maybe in some ways we are still living this life…) Everything written is so on-point and so, so important to the people who have chosen to earn their living in The Creative Space. I think many of us feel like things are stacked against us at times, but what I love is that Mr. Wolfe literally offers us a prescription to not only help get us over the hump, but to make sure we don’t get in over our heads again. I love the fact (although I’m sure it wasn’t so great for him at the time) that he comes from a place of experience. He gets it!
This is not a dry, academic book but rather a book written from two lovely souls. They’ve made “being responsible” compelling and enjoyable. I will end with a standing ovation. Well done you two.”
Entrepreneur, Coach & Speaker
“You know what? If I could have had this advice 20 years ago, it would have changed my life. Of course, it still will – it’s the book I’ve always wished for. I’m in my forties now and would have been in a very different place by now both financially and in terms of self-respect if I had had this advice a long time ago. Now it’s time for me to put it all into practice – and if you, too, are one of those lucky, unlucky few who have chosen to live the artist’s life, it’s time for you to start taking their advice as well.”
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