Do you have what it takes to make it in show business?
All of you who desire an acting career I wish you happiness and success.
Do you have what it takes?
The profession of acting is a full time job. If you treat it as a hobby, it will return an equal value. Someone once said that acting is an eight hour a day job just to survive, and then each additional hour is one step closer to guarantee success.
You love acting. You really love acting.
Is love enough?
The poet Khalil Gibran in The Prophet says, “Work is love made visible.” He goes on to say, “If you cannot work with love but only distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.” He describes what it is to work with love this way. “It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the harvest with joy…It is to charge all things you fashion with a breath of your own spirit.”
Poets may explain things with wonderful images, but their message is clearly perceived. Yes, you must love what you do. Spending your life doing something you dislike should be unacceptable. However, to enjoy the harvest of your work you must also love the “sowing of the seeds and reaping of the harvest.” Love all the work necessary to achieve success.
The mountain climber, in order to reach the summit, must do his research, get his physical, intellectual, psychological instrument ready, accumulate all the tools necessary, surround himself with supportive people, and focus his concentration. In other words, he must do the preparatory work that is necessary. Then all he needs to do is start climbing. Using all his tools as he moves forward. If he persists, no matter how difficult, he will reach the summit. If he gives up along the way, he has made a conscious decision that it just wasnʼt important enough. At least he knows he gave it 100%. There can be no regrets when you give your all.
You want to be an actor not a mountain climber.
Fair enough! Here is what you need to do to fulfill your dreams of becoming a working actor.
Every actor I know who is a successful working actor, is organized. They know what it is that they want. They set goals, they research information, and they write their required information down. The rest of their lives may be messy, but their business life is organized.
Working actors are well trained and keep their instruments limbered and stretched. They work out as an athlete would by attending workshops and studio/classes on a regular basis, thus becoming Master Craftsmen. Your competition consists of many people practicing their craft, but very few Masters of their craft.
A working actor needs to work on his/her careers every day, even those days when they donʼt feel like it. They keep up to date on what is happening in the business, e.g. reading the trades, the internet, etc. If they have managers and agents they keep daily contact. They combat the frustrations that most likely will occur with positive energy. They continually reinvigorate themselves.
Working actors surround themselves with positive people. They have support groups, actors/friends of like minds. They acquaint themselves with other actors who are willing to support each other in getting work. They avoid actors who are continually moaning about the business and themselves. Support others and they will support you.
5. Keep active.
Working actors are always working on something. Work begets work. Inactivity produces even more inactivity. It makes sense, doesnʼt it.
What if youʼre not sure you really want to be actor, but youʼre willing to give it a try because others think youʼve have what it takes?
The answer is simple – the likelihood of your succeeding is remote. That is, unless you do more than just try. You must join their beliefs and work 100% along with them.
I had a good friend whose family wanted him to be a doctor. To appease them he went to medical school and became a doctor. During his Internship he discovered he hated the site of blood. It made him physically sick. He also found he was too empathetic with the physical pain that surrounded him. He decided that maybe he was meant to be a psychiatrist. He continued his residency in psychiatry. It turned out he had little or no patience for the majority of his patients inability to deal with their daily problems. He also didnʼt relish having to deal with the truly troubled and doubted his ability to do so effectively. His heart just wasnʼt it. I asked him what he really wanted to do and he said his dream was to work with children. I suggested he do just that – work with children. He became a child psychoanalyst. He began doing something he wanted to do. He finally loved this job.
What if you donʼt know what it is you want to spend the rest of your life doing?
I really believe we all know what it is that we really want to do with our lives. Even if we think we donʼt know, we always recognize it when it reveals itself to us. The trick is to never give up looking.
Years ago, at the age of nineteen, I received a phone call from a friend. He needed to talk to someone and he chose me. Why he picked me, the kid of our group, I will never know. During that time all my friends were three to seven years older than I was. This particular friend informed me he was not going to celebrate his twenty-fifth birthday. The reason he gave for not celebrating his birthday? It reminded him that, at twenty-five, his life was over. Now, there is no doubt his words were over dramatic, indeed ridiculous. Yet, he was sincere. I was dumfounded. Why would anyone believe their life was over at twenty-five?
I had recently read that depression in young people was frequently the result of their inability to visualize a future. Whatever troubles were occurring in their lives signaled the end of the road instead of a road block. Was this my friends state-of-mind? I wondered whether he was comparing his life, which appeared directionless, to the accomplishments of our mutual friends. Those friends were active in their chosen professions. One friend at the age of twenty-one received his doctorate in Physics. At twenty-two he was a professor at Rutgers University. Another member of our group who, instead of college, chose to be a firefighter. Daily he gleefully shared with us his adventures. Another member was a working psychologist who recently had her first paper published in a national magazine. That evening I did my best to convince him his life wasnʼt over. That he had a great future ahead of him. He eventually conceded and reluctantly celebrated his birthday. I am happy to report that within a year he found his dream job – quite by accident. He answered an ad for a sales representative. This job led to design work. My friend recognize design immediately as the profession he wanted to spend the rest of his life doing. It is important to note he was very happy as well as becoming very successful.
What if youʼre not successful right away?
It takes, for the majority of actors, ten to fifteen years to make a living doing the thing they love. Are you willing to devote that much time to establishing a career? If you are then you really do have the love and devotion to be a working professional.
Another lesson my friend learned was once you recognize your dream job you will throw yourself into your work with great passion. Every other occupation will appear to you insignificant in comparison. If you find yourself making excuses to not do the work necessary to achieve your dreams itʼs probably because your dreams were nothing more than pipe dreams.
You still want to know if you have what it takes?
Well, only you will know for sure. You will see by your own actions. Your priorities more than anything will signal whether or not you have what it takes.
Remember! Be alert! Donʼt wake up at age seventy-five and say to yourself, “Why didnʼt I…”
There aren't any comments yet.