Wednesday, December 23, 2009

College and Acting

Most young people who want to become actors attend college because their parents insist on it. I am sure the parents are hoping they will find something else to be interested in besides the uncertain and unsavory field of acting. The young people go ahead and do this because they are too immature to strike out on their own and try to become actors. I wil always admire a former student of mine who, after a year and a half of college, dropped out and went to NYC where, for the past thirty five years or so he has pursued being an actor. That takes guts. Becoming an actor takes guts. I only recommend college for the aspiring actor who is weak on experience or maturity. If you are well experienced and mature enough to support yourself, why waste the best four years of your youth on college? College will always be there. You can go to college when you are sixty years old. There is no rush. But your youth fades quickly. It will not always be there. So the sooner you can get at acting, the better. That's why I generally do not recommend college for the aspiring actor. Of course someone can become an actor at any age as well, but most young people want to play leading roles which are often for their age group. Then there are the aspirants who have been brainwashed to believe that they need to have 'something to fall back on.' The problem is that if you have something to fall back on, that is exactly what you will do--fall back on it. And that is because acting is so terribly difficult to make a living at. My former student in his over thirty-five years of pursing acting in NYC has never earned a living at it. The aspiring actor always needs a 'day job.' But the day job doens't need to be a career. It needs to be something flexible that will allow the aspirant to go to audiions and take time off to go to filming for a couple of days as needed. That is why so many aspirants are waitstaff or bartenders, or do other things that have shift work that they can trade time slots with other employees. Also it is why many actors are also self employed in their own businesses. In my book, The Tao of Acting, I explain about going to college and acting.

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