Sunday, August 23, 2009
Why Is It So Hard to Become and Actor?
The question of difficulty in achieving success in the profession of acting is only sometimes addressed by those who write me seeking information about becoming an actor. Too often very young, very inexperienced people seem to believe that all they have to do is either find an audition or get an agent. They don't realize that doing either of those things is extremely difficult and that is part of the problem. The real reason why it is difficult for those under 18 is that they often do not have the active support of their parents. By active support I do not mean lip service, "Oh, that's nice, dear." Rather, I mean that one or both of their parents are actively doing the work of making their offspring an actor or actress. This the kid cannot do on his or her own. Labor laws require that one be 18 or older to sign a contract, and that a parent must attend auditions and work with the child until the child becomes 18. That makes it pretty tough on all those teeny boppers who want to be Disney stars and who haven't even told their parents about it. But it is equally difficult for an adult to become an actor. First of all anyone of any age that wants to be an actor needs a resume of acting experience in plays which demonstrates that they have talent. It takes years to develop such a resume and those who have begun in high school are ahead of the game. Second, the aspiring actor needs to approach his goal in a business like fashion. Acting is first and foremost a business. Like all businesses it takes monetary investment to get it started and cash flow to keep it going. There are some pretty good books on the subject including "Acting as a Business" by Brian O'Neil and "The Tao of Acting" by yours truly. To succeed one needs to learn how the business works.. And that leads us to the Third point. Misinformation about what it takes to succeed as an actor is widespread. An aspiring actor often latches on to this erroneous thinking and never makes it. Fourth, there just are not very many jobs in relationship to the number of people seeking to become actors. Every year, more than ten thousand graduates of colleges and conservatories pour into the throng of those seeking employment as actors. Thus there are hundreds and hundreds of thousands of aspiring actors who will never, ever get even extra work or a one-line role. Most of the newly created jobs go to experienced and well known actors,leaving very little for the horde of remaining would-be actors. And that leads me to the Fifth and final point, the few jobs that remain are going to go to the most talented, best prepared, most attractive (for whatever reason,not always good looks) and luckiest applicants,