Everyone here loves acting, and everyone here wants to make a living off acting. However, realistically speaking, this is not possible for everyone. Do any of you have a certain 'age' in mind, in which you would quit if you didn't hit it big before then?
Have any of you given yourself a set amount of time to start earning decent money off acting? There's only so long you can go doing extra work. You don't want to be 65, still working a part-time job at Starbucks, while looking for auditions on the side. Or, maybe you do. To each their own.
I am 25, and I feel that, if by 35, if I have not made ANY headway, then I will need to retire from pursuing the craft professionally. I will still act, but for recreation. I am struggling now, and paying my dues. I do not want to pay my dues for the rest of my life.
How about you guys?
I'm fortunate in that I make a pretty good living while pursuing acting. So financially, it wouldn't benefit me much if I dropped acting and went after something else.
In terms of when I'll give it up? When I wake up one morning and find I don't have a passion for it. That's when I'll move on.
Theres not really a set age, its more of how much rejection and getting beat up can you take with little results to show for it. Not to mention how you sustain urself financially outside of acting
Honestly to me, the barometer and threshold shouldnt start being measured until you're in LA which although some still dont want to admit it,it is the major leauges if u truly want to attempt to earn a living.
If u been out here say 5 years, and you're having trouble securing good representation, booking any Studio funded projects, and just basically can't get arrested, you might and probably will hit a mental wall where you just dont want to be bothered by the industry anymore. At that point, many return home or just walk away cursing the industry
You say you're 25 and 35 is the end, but you honestly dont even know how you will feel in the next few years. If ur having success, u may crave more. If youve had 50 audtions and booked 1 or 2 jobs, all the running around may burn u out. And to add, getting 50 theatrical audtions as a nobody is not easy in its own right
Well, I've been acting/directing for the better part of the past ten years. I went to Florida State for film, and I graduated a couple years ago. I moved to LA with five grand in my pocket, and struggled, struggled, struggled, until I was able to get a decent part-time job.
I think this is something every person seriously pursuing acting needs to think about. Unless you plan to live a bohemian lifestyle until you die, that is. Some people wants kids, or a house, or whatever. That is hard to balance with the acting lifestyle.
I might just work on a film crew, or something. No artistry in it, but it's still around something I love.
I'm a card carrying lifer and already make a pretty nice living from acting. But for me it's more matter of when the time will come that I go back to primarily acting in theatre and/or move into teaching and directing. Right now I'm taking the old school advice of "Film when you're young - Theatre when you're old." The possibility of having children will have a big influence, too, but that's not on the radar for at least another five years. And most women hit the wall with screen work by the time they're 45. I'm now 25, so that gives me another 15-20 years on this side of the business plus or minus 5 depending on myriad variables before I move on to the next phase.
I decided to put acting on the back burner for a moment and develop my survival job of freelance writing. Not something I necessarily wanted to do, but I finally came to realize this was a marathon and not a sprint. I need to find some contentment with life while I pursue acting, and I just can't with a job I despise. A lot of people handle sucky jobs better than me, because a job is just money to them, they really get satisfaction from family/ kids/ social life/ material things. My biggest thrill has always come from creative work and I like having a free gypsy life.
I think you have to find some balance where pursuing acting doesn't feel like a burden, and you actually can enjoy the hunt of auditioning and networking. Otherwise you are bound to burn out.
I started acting older than at 25, however, I have the same well-paying corporate job I would have if I weren't acting (and my job lets me work from home at my own time to accommodate acting) so I'm very comfortable financially and don't have to struggle.
I don't know how long I could take it if I had to work at Starbucks or some other low paying job; I'm used to making decent money and living well. I've never had to struggle financially in order to pursue acting so it's easier for me; as long as I have a cushy job that pays me well I see no reason to quit.
I'm not really "giving anything up" in order to pursue acting. I have an unlimited amount of "free time" to pursue acting and more than enough money for classes. No family (don't want to get married ever, I'm not traditional) and NEVER want kids (kids are not my thing) so there's no "sacrifice". It's not like I have anything else to do with my time and money or any obligations... My only obligation in life is to make myself happy and to do what fulfills me.
I'm also lucky in the sense that I "look" a lot younger in real life... I've had managers and agents tell me that I can play early 20's (I'm barely 5 ft tall and 90 lbs) so I think my shelf life is good...
If You start pursuing it with a Time limit of sorts, You will lose. If You want to do it Professionally, You have to Commit to it, and never Look back. I have put in way too much Blood, Sweat, and Tears to ever give up. You are either in It (For Life) or you're not.
How long is a string?
Well all these never quitting, financially stable responses are nice but I'll give you a more accurate response in my opinion to what you're asking. I've been here about three years and I'm pretty burnt out. I'm in the more common situation of people who work a night job and pursue acting. I know the in's and out's of the industry, partly thanks to this website, and from my own experiences and I'm kind of over it. But it does not mean that I wouldn't love to star in my own sitcom/series (like everyone else here). And I don't count booking some nationals as doing quite well in "acting" lol. I know some will get mad here and I would love the money too but Killian agrees, take the money and pursue what you love: which is real acting in TV and movies. I know a guy that's booked about 8 nationals and is essentially depressed he hasn't even booked one co-star from it and he's a good looking guy - so even with all that cash he's still 'depressed' he's not making a living as a 'real' actor. As far as time - I'm not sure, I already went through the trouble of moving to LA so I'll probably give it at least a few more years but I'm planning on finishing real school (which I'm fairly close) and trying to find one of these cushy corporate jobs hopefully sooner rather than later.
just another actor..
I don't think I'll ever give up acting. If I can't do it for money, I'll do it for free. If the professional world doesn't want me, I'll work with the amateurs. I'll teach, or study, or volunteer, or do street theatre. But I'll never stop being an actor because, for me, it's a calling. It's part of my DNA.
I think it's healthy to occasionally recalibrate and rebalance our career ambitions. Because I think we get too focused on things like income and notoriety and can easily forget the joy of the work. It's easy to slip into a mindset of evaluating the size and visibility of your roles and forget how great it is to be acting professionally at all.
Most of us got into acting because we love it. We love creating characters, affecting audiences, telling stories. But this is, of course, also a business, and yes, we want to be successful. Still, there's a case to be made for balance.
If acting is your calling, the thing you have to do and were meant to do, there's no reason to quit ever. If your career doesn't pay your bills (as it usually doesn't), you'll need to pay them another way. But that doesn't mean you have to give up acting.
Acting Unplugged. Excellent post!! Some take aways. The degree made a difference, you have to be on the "inside" to get the opportunities. It's about connections and unusual pathways so get yourself out there in the real working world.
My son just got an excellent theater internship that he wouldn't have gotten if he wasn't in college (he's not a theater major) and if he hadn't performed unpaid acting work with people who worked there and made the hiring decisions. Hopefully this will lead to more opportunities.
I don't feel sorry for him. If you have cash you should be able to make even more opportunities for yourself. Get into a prestigious conservatory, hire your own film crew/writers and make a web series, put on a play etc. etc.
I have reached the "whats the point?" stage a couple of times during my brief career. I stop submitting to crappy projects, take a break from classes, workshops, and even Backstage. Invariably something GOOD comes along and sucks me back in. Sometimes you just have to ease off the gas pedal and allow the world to do its thing.
When I first came out to LA I gave myself 10 years to make somewhat of a "career" out of acting. After that I wouldn't give it up, I would do it for fun and not pursue it as much as a career.
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