Sunday, February 12, 2012

Why We Want to Be Actors--Honestly

Hundreds of young people have contacted me wanting to be actors. They almost always include in their email that they are not interested in fame or money or that they want to influence the world for good.


With almost no exceptions, every actor I have known gives up on having a professional career because they have not achieved the success in fame and money that they had hoped they would. Acting is a very selfish undertaking. . You do it because YOU want to do it. You want to be known as an actor.. Yes, you want to entertain the public, but that is because you want them to adore

Acting, most people believe, will bring them fame, money and admiration. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to reach that high a point of success as a professional and for those things to happen. It does on rare occasion actually happen, and that is what continues to spark the wide-spread interest in becoming an actor.

Everyone wants to be admired. Humans have a need to be thought worthy. And many people choose acting as a means to attempt to meet those needs. Now, let's leave it at that. These are not
bad things. They are normal things. People do not have to apologize nor make up some altruistic motive for wanting to be an actor. Those of us who have been in the business for many years know that such motives are false. Though it is true than many actors do philanthropic work, we know that people want to be actors to meet their basic needs for acceptance and admiration -- for love in many cases.

It is more than tiresome to read how aspiring actors try to justify their acting on some sort of philanthropic base. That is just baloney. You love acting. Enough said. Who cares why
you want to act? What matters is how good you can act. I know that when talent agents get cover letters from young people that include altruistic reasons for wanting to become actors, they just laugh and through the letter in the trash.

So it is time to be honest about why we want to become actors. We want to do it to feed our egos and to make us feel important. That's fine. Leave it there. You really do not have to tell anyone why you want to become an actor. They actually know already. So stop covering up your selfishness. It is OK. But don't flaunt it either.

It is just as bad to say openly that you want to be an actor so you can be rich and famous. Since this is true of all actors, it becomes boring to hear it repeated and repeated. What you should always say is, "I want to become the best actor I can be." And let it go at that. No problem. Best wishes and God bless, Doc

PS. Don't talk too much about wanting to be an actor. Just be one.


  1. I like your no nonsense take on actors and their motivations. It's sad,but true-actors do not pay for acting school, a manager, and agent and everything in between for charity.

    1. Erm, true actors do PAY for drama school, an agent and a manager! Why, do you think that training, having an agent to get you work is free? Seriously? In the UK, no training is ever free. If you do not train as an actor, how can you ever learn and improve? Not sure you would be taken seriously as an actor without training!

  2. Thanks, but it is even sadder that true actors often do pay for all those things

  3. There's a lot of truth in your post and a lot of aspiring actors aren't even consciously aware of their need for approval and admiration. But those aren't the only reasons for wanting to be an actor. With some self-love and an understanding that fame and money don't amount to much, there are still other reasons for loving acting. It's an art. It allows people to share stories, experiences, pain, love, thoughts, confusions and wonder. It's not selfish if it's your calling, if you're a story-teller meant to connect people through your work and help people realize they are not alone in their feelings or this world. Acting serves such a great and beautiful purpose, it works with film and directors and writers to create a whole. Your piece was great but it was only one side of the story.