Before you decide to make acting your primary career, there are some questions you should first ask yourself:
- Would I be happy in another career?
- Would I be more comfortable in a more financially stable career choice?
- Do I feel that I would be happy having theatre as a hobby rather than a main career choice?
Is it Right for You?
If you answered yes to any of the previous questions, acting may not be the career for you. There are many sacrifices and difficulties that come with having a career in theatre or film, just like any other profession. It is recommended that if you would be just as happy and fulfilled in another job, explore the other jobs first.
That being said, some of us answer no to those questions. If you cannot picture yourself in any other career, then the rest of this post is for you.
Theatre Needs You
Once you decide a career in theatre is for you, be prepared to be shot down by the whole world. People you have barely met will feel perfectly justified in telling you that you are a starry-eyed dreamer who will end up broke and in the gutter. It can be disheartening!
But don’t let them get you down.
There are many, many more actors than there are roles to fill in the world, so understandably theatre is a difficult and competitive field.
However, the world of theatre and film is very small in some ways. If you are respectful, hardworking, and good at networking, you will have an easier time finding success. If you find that you struggle working well with other people, or dislike being told what to do, you will have a harder time finding jobs.
There are really two types of “theatre people” who I have ever met. The first I will call the “entertainers”. They are the ones who are usually extroverts, who eat, drink, and sleep movies or plays, who are always hanging out with other entertainers, who live off the art itself, and love it. Their goal and dream is to entertain, and that is what they do because that’s who they are. Then there are the “truth seekers”, as I like to call them, who have discovered that theatre and film are arguably the greatest way to find truth and tell it to the world. I mean those filmmakers who capture their audience’s spirits with exciting new ideas. Those who have found, as Shakespeare would say, that “the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the first and now, was and is to hold, as ’twere, the mirror up to nature, to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure.”
If you fall under either of these categories or both, there is room for you in the world of theatre or film. You might just have to be creative in how you approach the field.
For example, I was a theatre performance major in college, but really, towards the end, I realized that while acting was fun, I really was more exited by the pre-production side of things. I shifted gears, and was able to find a lot more satisfaction from my work. However, what I DON’T recommend is “settling” in your career. If you are not passionate about the technical side of theatre or film, don’t do it just to be a part of things. If you have tried it and loved it, by all means, do it! But being a technician or part of a film crew is a real job, and it’s better done by people who love it.
Also remember, you don’t have to be one of the rich and famous to have a career in the field. There are plenty of actors whose names you might not recognize, but who find steady work and are, by most people’s standards, successful.
“If you see the wonder of a fairytale, you can take the future even if you fail.”
I chose to do theatre because I couldn’t get away from it. I loved literature and history, and I found myself analyzing story after story, finding connections, and wishing there was a way I could broadcast all these incredible connections to the world.
Theatre is my way of discovering truth and sharing it, of helping others see the good in the world and the good in themselves. Theatre and film can show humanity its faults, and help it rise above it. Literally the job of theatre is to make the world a better place. And if I can make money from it, so be it!
If you have chosen acting or theatre, why? What drove you to this field? And where do you plan to go with it? Feel free to comment below!
Break legs, everyone!