Got an email this morning in which a young actor I know said that he had more and more recognized that acting is all about money. And of course it is in the business side of acting.
I am constantly amazed that youngsters think that without and experience and training they are going to get a major role in a major film. No way can that happen except for the super extraordinary person who leaps from being in a high school play to stardom as Ann Margaret did when she was cast in "Bye Bye Birdie." She was recognized as having all the unique qualities needed to be a bankable star.
Theatre and making movies is not about being a good actor. It is about making lots of money. Productions cost millions and millions of dollars and no one is going to gamble on an unproven person who does not have all the unique qualities needed. The reason so many actors never become professional in spite of having a great deal of talent is that they lack the charm, personality, and look that people want to pay money to see.
The look is not always beauty or handsome. Jack Nicholson is not a handsome man. But he has so much charm that we will pay to see him again and again. And his look is so unique that he always is distinctive in his portrayal.
The reality of becoming a professional actor is not that you need an agent or training or experience so much as it is that you need to be able to give a unique rendering of the character from your look to your charm to your talent.
Money talks. You have to be an actor that producers know will help bring money in at the box office. This is also true in the amateur theatre where the producers want to at least break even on their productions. So the actors cast in the leads and major roles are those that the audience will want to come an see because of the actors' reputations of being effective in previous plays. Yes, money is often the reason why someone else got the role you wanted. You have to be unique and pleasing to the audience--an asset at the box office to succeed.
The few actors who are unique and pleasing as those that make it.