We hear the clichés so often they’re not even funny. Jobbing actors, struggling to get by while waiting for the perfect audition that never arrives. Successful performers telling us they would do anything to discourage their kids from entering the industry. Even well-meaning family members, with comments about getting a real job, or (our favourite) ‘Why aren’t you in Eastenders?’.

Whether or not you’ve graduated from a performing arts school, if you’re an aspiring performer, we feel sad but fairly certain that you’ll have started to find out for real how hard it is to succeed. However, with our company, Captain Fantastic, we have found genuinely straightforward ways to thrive, creating work for ourselves that we 100% enjoy and earning a great income.

Best of all, this hasn’t decreased the time we can spend focusing on our performing careers – quite the opposite – and our success has only increased our confidence and our visibility within the industry.

We’ve already helped hundreds of fellow performers to achieve the same. The feedback we’ve received, together with seeing the fantastic results that others have accomplished, has encouraged us to get all our advice into a book. This blog will give you an overview of the content, and you’ll find details on how to pre-order our new book, for a ridiculously low price, at the bottom.

Why we genuinely want to help others

Sure, we’ll be chuffed if we make any money from Pain in the Arts, but that’s honestly not the main reason we wrote it. It’s also unlikely we will – it costs a lot to get a book professionally edited and designed, and it would be a long time till we earned any money back.

We’re not pretending to be charitable martyrs, though! For us, helping others is a win-win. You get real pleasure from seeing other people do well, and those people will most likely help you back at some point in the future. We know how hard it can be to survive in the performing arts industry, so we’ve made it our mission to create a book that is easy for all performers and creatives to use, to build their ideas and earn money doing what they enjoy.

It’s taken us nearly ten years to get to the point where we’re amazed at how well we’ve done. If we’d had this book when we started, we could have got there in two or three years, and without wasting time on the things that didn’t work out. And it doesn’t need to take years to start earning a good income – you can do that within months or even weeks.

We are genuinely happy to share all this information with other performers, to help as many people as we can to avoid the pitfalls and enjoy everything they do.

How Pain in the Arts is (very) different from other business books

First of all, while we know that everyone’s different, we think it’s fairly safe to say that most performers are:

  1. Outgoing
  2. Short of time
  3. Not business experts

We’ve written and re-edited this book multiple times, to make sure that it is completely quick and easy to read. We’ve kept everything straightforward – simple advice on how to succeed in the same way we have.

Most importantly, we haven’t regurgitated standard business advice that you can easily get from other books or online. Pain in the Arts is specifically for performers, to tell you how you really can earn good money doing something you love, while raising your profile in our overcrowded industry.

We’ve included hundreds of short and snappy ideas, for example, a load of different business ideas related specifically to singers, dancers and actors. Or tips on how to build a BIG following on social media (and why you NEED to do that). We’ve also tell you about what we have done to get through all the challenges of the coronavirus lockdown and ongoing restrictions.

The whole book is laid out in easy-to-follow steps. It’s basically the only type of book that we would ever have enjoyed reading when we first started out.

Our family and friends are now amazed at what we’ve achieved, and we no longer get those well-meaning comments like ‘Quit – it’s never going to happen’. It already has.

If you don’t feel you can (or wouldn’t even want to) run a business…

Don’t worry – we cover all that in the book. When we first left performing arts school, neither of us would EVER have imagined ourselves as business owners.

We have absolutely no doubt, though, that you will feel completely different about the prospect of starting up and running a business by the time you have finished reading this book. We’ll tell you how to find a successful idea for a business doing something you love, and how this will mean MORE performing, not less. You’ll find out how our own businesses have given us more time to focus on our acting (Tommy) and dancing (Ricky) careers, and increased our self-confidence and visibility in the industry. We’ll also help you with any other concerns you’re likely to have. If there’s something we haven’t covered, we’ll happily talk to you on the phone for free, to help you with any other concerns.

One of the scariest things about the prospect of running a business is money – just about everyone assumes you need to have a big stash of cash to get a business off the ground. We’ll show you why that isn’t true. We were penniless when we started off, buying supermarket basic ranges, and often having to decide between a drink at the pub or dinner that evening! Even now, we never invest money in a new business idea before we are sure it will work and people have been ready to invest.

We give lots of examples in the book about how we developed our businesses, how the experience was for us and what we have achieved. We are sure that all this will help you to realise how easy and enjoyable the whole experience can be.

We’re not pretending this is all child’s play

In Pain in the Arts we talk about the mistakes we’ve made since first launching Captain Fantastic. However, we genuinely have to stress that those hiccups have only helped us in the long run, and we’ve given plenty of tips on how to avoid the same (or similar) mistakes.

We do still recognise the mental health challenges that can so often come with the pressures of our industry. We’ve included a small section in the book on how you can help yourself with any issues. We also have to emphasise that our own mental health has, in the long run, only been massively helped by the fact that we’re doing what we enjoy and we don’t have financial worries. (For anyone who – for all the right reasons – doesn’t place top priority on a big salary: we’ve included points on that too.)

It’s not all about us . . .

Personally, we find it hard to accept a load of advice without a proper idea of how it really works in practice, not just in theory. Because we know the most about how Captain Fantastic and all the other companies we’ve founded, and because our experiences are directly related to performing, you’ll find examples throughout the book on how what we’re telling you to do has worked for us.

In addition to that, we’ve included examples of how other successful companies have used the same tactics. For example, how and why Disneyland was created, or how McDonald’s uses simple scripts with their customers for better results. (‘Would you like fries with that?’ gains the restaurant chain millions more in income every year!)

We’ve also included super-helpful advice from other successful people in our industry – people we’ve learned from AND people we’ve helped. That includes:

  • An interview with actress Megan Prescott, including advice on raising your profile
  • Vital tips from acting agent Adam Mendlesohn
  • Feedback from Kris Saddler, who now runs a very successful Captain Fantastic franchise
  • Advice and feedback from Ricky’s business partner, Pedrinho Mattos

The easiest bit

We’ve got to mention first the bit that most people think will be the hardest: selling. We’ll get you over that fear, helping you to see how this is the OPPOSITE of being a pushy insurance salesperson. You really can (and will) enjoy telling other people about what you love doing. Then if they connect with you, you’ll have made a sale.

If reading this blog has connected with you – if you’re now realising there might be an easy way to thrive in performing arts, and you’re wondering if this really could work – well, that’s because you’ve just been sold to! All we’ve done is tell you about something we love doing – helping other people to thrive in our industry.

Now, if you want find out more, you only need to pre-order Pain in the Arts. And here’s the best news, for anyone reading this blog soon after we’re writing it: we’re launching the book for a ridiculously low price in the hope of getting some positive reviews before we sell it for its normal price.

Click on the red book cover below, or copy and paste this URL, to be one of the first people to receive it after it’s published on 15 September:


After that, we’ll just look forward to hearing from you whenever you have any questions. Oh, and we’d really appreciate it if you could add a review to Amazon after you’ve read the book – it will make a huge difference to us.

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