Lots of email coming my way asking if the writer has a feasible plan to become an actor. This is followed by a list of their second choice career and asking which should they major in and which should they minor in, The answer is simple.
If they are worried about the uncertainty of an acting career and want to have a 'back up," then they should major in the back up and forget about acting,. The people who succeed at acting are those who have to do so because they can't do anything else.
These emails are written,no doubt by young people whose parents insist they go to college and have a backup. The parents know full well that the backup will always succeed over acting because it takes too much sacrifice to be an actor. The parents are counting on the kid wanting a plush life that they are not going to have while struggling to become an actor.
The only feasible plan to become an actor is to act in everything possible that is legal. Actors act, and to be successful at acting, the aspiring actor must act as much as he or she can. This builds a terrific resume, shows devotion, and determination and talent. When someone says to me that they want to be an actor but don't know what to do, I am dumbfounded. Wouldn't it occur to them that what they must do is act. Here and now. It is what actors do.
And the aspiring actors do not need an agent to act. They can just go do it in amateur and semi=professional companies at once. It may take a while and they may have to work their way into the good graces of the companies by doing tech work or front of the house work. But if they are talented, they will get their chance and do some acting.
What young people are thinking, of course, is that there is some magical trick to becoming an actor and all they have to do is discover it. They think agents and colleges will give them that trick and they will become actors. Sadly, this is not true. The trick is to be an actor by acting. If it means moving to a city that has more opportunity that where one is currently living, then move.
Aspiring actors should not have to ask about back up careers or how to get started as an actor. They should just go out and act. If it means going to college to have the opportunity, then pick a college that does a lot of plays.