It's the 1960's and the biggest teen idol is doing what he loves: acting and singing in the famous beach party movies starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. Fifty years later, he's still singing, still has a full head of gorgeous hair and still doing what he loves -- with much success! So, what can you learn from Frankie?
1. Do what you do best
Find out what you do best and perfect it -- than let it expand.
Frankie is the original teen idol. The first. He started singing before tweendom and hasn't stopped.
Singing turned into acting and those famous beach movies. Frankie says about filming those 7 beach movies with Annette Funicello, "We had like a paid vacation!" "We made those pictures in 15 days and they were very successful," Frankie goes on to say, "They made a lot of money in those days -- 15-18 million dollars, when the price of a movie ticket was $1.00"
2. Pay your dues.
There wasn't youtube way back when so a wannabe star had to actually walk into a radio station and talk to people face to face. Imagine that! It took a lot of faces saying "no" before things happened for new talent in the old days. Be prepared for working for what you want.
3. Stay true to yourself.
You know yourself better than anyone else -- so listen to your own inner voice.
Back in 1963 when his career was just starting out, he married against the advice of an agent who was afraid he'd lose his teen idol image. Fifty two years of marriage later, when I asked him about special plans with his wife for Valentine's Day, Frankie said with a twinkle in his eye. "I'll take her to a wonderful restaurant and it'll be romantic."
4. Keep yourself fresh
People like different things about you and they'll remember you but tweak the "you" a little.
Yes, Frankie Avalon did 30 motion pictures and had lots of Gold Records, including that mega hit, "Venus" but new audiences may not remember that. So, what would any famous Italian do?
Write a cook book -- Duh! And if it's like any of his other successful ventures that hit the QVC airwaves, from sore muscle cream to sausages, his cookbook called (surprise) The Frankie Avalon Family Cookbook, which features recipes from his mom, will also be a success!
5. Laugh at life once in a while
Everyone says laughter is great medicine for your soul. It keeps you balanced. If you can't laugh at all the stupid things that happen in your life -- you're in for one tough and lonely road. Frankie, is really talented but he's smart enough to know to stand back and laugh at it all -- it keeps everyone happy.
Frankie Avalon isn't famous for being a stand up comedian but he's very funny! So if the Italian sausages stop selling, or if the singing gigs stop, his next career...
6. Politeness counts
I'm always impressed when I hear a kid say, "Yes ma'am" or "yes sir." I forget to do it but I'm still impressed! Another impressive thing is when someone wonders why you are there to interview them and you see the 'am I being punked?' in their expression but they never say it. So, a teenager approaches the biggest teen idol of the 1960's for an interview, and because he's a really nice person (and barely worked up a sweat even after a 2 hour performance), we do our interview. Always be polite because people remember good manners.
7. Be proud of your accomplishments
You've worked hard for them and deserve to have bragging rights! Frankie gets that -- not everyone knows his movies but they put him out there in addition to his top songs that hit the radio stations.
Beach Party movies did extremely well at the box offices. Now, that times have changed, they wouldn't work out in the movies but Frankie is proud of them as well as his hit songs and everything else. People who feel embarrassed about their work or want to be known for other things than that big moment that brought you to the public's opinion, just don't understand the public! People like to remember you in the early days -- it's cool. Frankie does this really well because he likes all of his work and he knows his fans do too.
After hanging out with Frankie (and his son Frank Jr. and Evan Everly who play on the tour with him) it's clear to see how 3 generations have been following him. This teen idol circa 1960's has something the new idols and their followers can admire -- success longer than a vine!
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