Sunday, February 21, 2010
The daily grind
Probably the most difficult part of trying to become a professional actor is disciplining yourself to meed the daily grind. It is disheartening to start each day still without an agent, needing to get new head shots, looking in the trades for auditions, and going to your day job to keep a roof over your head. When I think of the dedication and drive needed by the aspiring actor to succeed, I think of the main character in the play Career by Lawrence and Lee (who also wrote Inherit the Wind). It takes him twenty years or more to go from young, eager aspirant, to the star in a Broadway hit. Just before he makes his entrance in the play, his agent, haveing stuck with him all those years, asks him "Was it worth it?" His reply is a firm, "Yes" and he turns and walks on stage to an ovation from the audience. One of my former students who had done quite well in LA and who has a pretty good iMDB page, recently quit and came home. He had been out there about 20 years or more. "Why did you quit"" I asked. He said that he had lost the ability to make contacts, that a fear of not succeeding overpowered him to the point that he just stopped trying. Another of my students, whom I have quoted in a couple of these posts, has been at the daily grind for thirty five years. He, too, has a pretty good iMDB page. And he is still trying, still facing the same daily grind that he has for thirty five years. Acting is his life and he has to do it. With that sort of drive, one hopes that some day he will succeed in a big way. These stories illustrate one of the main reasons why so few potential actors succeed. The daily grind that you face has to be met with an undaunted drive to make it. I truly hope that you all do.