The market for fame is saturated. You can all go home. Sorry for getting your hopes up like that. The truth is, you have a better chance of being hit by a satellite than by fame. And just so we're all on the same page, fame is exactly the point of all this. Any ambition to act for the sake of artistic satisfaction was run down and sucked into the wheel wells under the sports car of fame long ago, because fame makes more money and it's just cooler.
"We just wanted to stop for a minute and say, 'You're welcome.'"
Now most of you probably don't believe me, and that's fine. You've heard that the odds of success are slim, but you're different from all those other people, you have been singled out by providence for this. Parents, teachers and community theater directors have told you your entire life that you are gifted -- that you are born to make emotions with your face under camera and stage lights, a face that was too optimistic or too young to devastate with brutal honesty. Well, I can't see your faces, and I have some bad news.
Here are five good reasons your career path will make you absolutely miserable.
5 You Aren't Building a Real Skill Set
When your dream is to be an actor, you don't have the luxury of simultaneously perusing a fallback dream. That's why you'll never see a struggling actor holding down a full-time job as a marine biologist. Acting is a jealous and needy career that doesn't like the thought of you keeping your options open. You'll need a job that allows you to leave at a moment's notice for auditions, usually for two or three hours at a time. Or, assuming you are fortunate enough to be cast in anything, you need a job that allows you to miss work for a week at the very least. The logical solution is to work at night at a restaurant or bar. The trouble, however, is that most of these jobs were never intended to be careers. They have high turnover rates and offer little in terms of personal satisfaction.
And that will all seem fine at first -- great, even -- for building that romantic sense of humility you intend to wear once you're famous. Taking orders from customers and folding napkin fans in wine glasses is just part of the struggle that you will remember fondly while masturbating poolside to your own biography.
"Ooh yeah. Keep toiling, right there."
That is, until your friends outside of the entertainment industry start developing actual skill sets that lead to raises, promotions and the general advancement of their careers. Everyone who entered the work force along with you will gradually move into better jobs because they've built up experience and because that's how nearly every other profession is designed to function. Meanwhile, there's no guarantee that you will book a role, ever. All the experience you'll be racking up will just be preparing you for a life in the service industry. Sure, you will still be honing your skills as an actor through classes and auditions, but until your acting resume includes more than school plays and student films, it won't help you get a job, because ...
4 Most Roles Have Nothing to Do With Acting
Here is an innocuous commercial for Listerine:
There are three people featured for about four seconds apiece in that commercial. Each one of them is an actor who had to audition for that role. That may not sound like much, but take a minute to consider exactly what that entails:
All three of them, without a doubt, started with dreams of being respected actors. They likely struggled for weeks if not months to find an agent, and paid upwards of $500 to have headshots taken and printed. Then they drove to an audition in the middle of a workweek and waited in a waiting room for an hour with 20 to 30 other people who looked exactly like them before being wrangled into a small room four or five at a time to say their names and, finally, to swish. They stood there for a few seconds pretending to swish mouthwash around their mouths. That's it. That's 80 percent of all the auditions you will go to. Now consider the hundreds of people who also auditioned and didn't get that part. All of that energy, time and money amounted to 10 seconds of moving their cheeks around for a casting director who had already seen scores of other eager young actors do the exact same thing.
"Yeah, I get it. You're doing like a crazy thing. Really nice work, there."
Those three actors weren't hired for that commercial based on their acting ability or really anything that they could control. They were hired because they had a look that a Listerine ad sales department thought might sell more bottles, so the purpose of all those auditions was only to be sure that everyone actually looked like their headshots and that they were capable of ballooning their cheeks. But surely that's just a commercial, right? Actors also audition for meaty roles in movies and television, acting must be the deciding factor there. Well actually, no.