It takes a special kind of person to be an actor. And I do mean “special.”
Some people don’t respect acting as a career choice. They think it’s all a crap shoot and you really have no control over your destiny. I’d argue every career involves luck and various other aspects you can’t control. But the thing about acting is the infrequency and random timing with which things happen.
Tomorrow morning I’ll wake up and I’ll hope I get a call for an audition where if I’m incredibly lucky I’ll be able to get a callback for the chance of a job. If I just get an audition, I’m a happy man. That means if tomorrow I get rejected for a part, I’m happy.
Something must be wrong with me.
But, careers do typically move forward. People do get bigger and better parts. People do make their living doing this. But along the way there’s much rejection, heartbreak and stunning silence on days you’re sure your phone should be ringing off the hook. Even worse, some peoples’ careers just don’t go anywhere. There are actors who spend half a decade and never get their SAG cards, an agent or a decent break. There are people who have careers move forward quickly and then stall. There are people who think they’ve “made it” and then a few months later can’t get a single meeting.
But there are the people who stick with it, keep plugging away and manage to constantly be taking steps forward and put together a decent career.
Do you know how difficult it is to face the very real possibility that you could invest years of your life and have nothing to show for it?
Being an actor takes courage. And I’m not even talking about the courage to get up in front of two, five or ten million people and perform. For most of us that’s the fun part. It’s truly hard to know that today could be the highlight of my acting career. It could never get better.
So what kind of person does this every day? One with real determination and a drive to succeed.
I meet plenty of actors who say they’re giving acting “a shot.” I meet many more who half-heatedly do a play once every few months. And that’s fine, acting can make a good hobby. But those of us who plug away every day truly have some guts and that has to be respected. To really succeed you have to be in this for the very long haul, you have to be consistent and you have to be dedicated.
I know I am. But I meet very few other actors who are the same way. But the ones I do know tend to have the most success.