I'm sorry you feel that way! I've had a sucky week, I would hate to have a sucky three years! You have a great attitude and you are right, you DO have more to say. There's alot of crappy roles and scripts floating around but movie roles are like a shorter version of life, it's what you make it them.
Honestly, you're blessed. Imagine all the 41 year olds who took the safe route and STILL ended up broke in this economy. Some of them are sitting on thier bed going, "Damn, I might as well have gone into acting!" Lol.
Regardless of my perspective on the matter, the dedication and perseverance you all have attested to is very inspiring.
I like that Will Smith quote: "Being realistic is the most commonly traveled road to mediocrity."
I hope I have it in me to continue. I feel like I'm going to move more towards directing, and production. And that might be even HARDER to break into! What an industry, 'eh?
That said, not having any health insurance doesn't feel very good...
This subject is touchy for me, because, I was a pre-med student in college. I was accepted into Columbia's medical program, and was going to enter before running into major financial issues. I was broke, stressed, and wasn't passionate about medicine. My parents almost disowned me for dropping it. I went back to college soon after that and went for something I LOVED.
My dad always said that being a doctor had a prestige to it; people respect you. While many others don't agree, I feel like being an actor also has a prestige to it. It says, "I'm brave enough to wander into the unknown, following my love into the darkness."
Hold your head high when you tell people you're an actor!
Good for you and good luck!
Your parents are right. In the eyes of mediocre people, being a doctor does have prestigue simply because of the money and "security". People aren't TRULY concerned with the fact that doctors help people. Nor do they realize all the scandalous pharmacutical persuasion and testing that doctors engage in that turn patients into genuie pigs! But, thats a whole other discussion. Is your father a doctor?
I hate it when parents push their children to do things with their life that they wouldn't do. They'll say that they are too busy or too old to go back to school but, thats BS. I saw sixty-year olds getting their B.A.'s!
The thing is that money has people running scared and doing stupid things like throwing most of their life away for a precious 9-5 that they loathe for the simple fact that it was the first thing that they could secure.
I'm sure your parents love you very much and were very scared and they thought that by disowning you that you would "come to your senses" and go back to med school. Also, as much as parents will deny it, they want the ability to be proud of their kids. I'll never forget the day my dad tried to scare me by telling me "You're being compared" (to a cousin who I had naturally always outshown). I was like, "And, you think I don't know?" It was hurting him more than me, his little rocket scientist was throwing away her good senses,lol. Ofcourse, when I started succeeding in finding my own auditions, over heard him bragging about it to coworkers because it sounds glamourous...
The truth is that your parents should have seen that decision coming all along and instead of fighting and supressing you, they should have supported you!
Unfortunately, being an entertainer is only admirable to the majority of people when you are wealthy and constantly working. But the majority can't and won't go as far as we will.
You can never let what other people think deter you. Stephen King used to be a Janitor and Berry White was broke as broke could be before success. Same for a lot of actors. They didn't strive for poverty but it happens. People forget that this happens to the majority of the population regardless of how safe they play it.
First time: I gave it up. I thought I was not good enough. Not Hollywood type. I was poor.
Second: I wanted to have revenge. Show I can do it and use anger. Strike TWO!
Third: God strapped me in acting Church. Kind of wanting, but one day I got to know the business. Now I all in! Struggling to stay in my every day life, but I am doing whatever trick I can get my name out there with little money I have.
Other words: MY PASSION for acting will never go away. <3
Hey, all ---
I'm planning on referencing this thread in an upcoming column. If any of you would prefer not to be quoted, let me know as soon as possible. (Our user agreement entitles Back Stage to use posted material as we see fit, but I'd prefer not to annoy anyone.) I won't be including the user names, just the quotes.
I don't mind, just let me know when the column i posted, please!
Thank you for the support. My story is not very uncommon, though. My parents are immigrants from Armenia. My father is a self-made man, he's a mechanic who made his own worth, and struggled to support three kids. My mother works at a bank.
No one in my entire family has ever gone to and graduated from college. They're all mechanics, maintenance workers, janitors, hair stylists, retail workers, etc. And there's nothing wrong with that at all.
But, ever since I was a kid, they've been pressuring me to "do something" with my life. Sort of how you say your father wants to be proud of their child's accomplishments. My parents don't understand my need to be in film and theater. They just want me to find a good job, meet a good girl, get married, and have kids. I don't want this stereotypical "American Dream".
I hope that's somewhat understandable. I probably sound whiny with all my first world problems, but I needed to vent!
I think this is a wonderful discussion here with a wide range of opinions - which only shows that there isn't one "right" answer at all. Everyone is different, and one's journey with this craft at the end of the day is a deeply personal one.
When I was in my 20s, I was far more idealistic (but I doubt that was because I was pursuing acting; it's simply being "in my 20s") - I really did believe in the whole "go big or go home" and that it had to be my life. Even now, I see some of the younger actors I know, some of them very smart with a good head on their shoulders, attack it with a hunger and voraciousness that I can admire.
And then life happens. Living the life of a starving artist is tolerable, maybe even romantic, when you're in your 20s. But it becomes harder to put up with for many people as we get into our 30s, 40s and beyond - so while I used to have contempt for people who never "pursued their dreams" or who gave up on their dreams, I don't anymore. Because I'm at that point in my life where I totally understand why it can be a wonderful thing to "give up on your dreams" - because your life TODAY can be far more important than your dreams. Not everyone wants a comfortable life, but it's okay to want that. It's okay to want a family, kids, to have a home, to have a nice life - not everyone wants that, but you shouldn't have to feel guilty about it if those aspects become more important priorities in your life (or if they are what you aspire to wanting more than an acting career).
Don't stick to something out of pride. If it's making you miserable, quit and move on, whether it's a relationship, a bad job, or even acting. Life is short - and as we all get older, we are reminded that ever more often as more people we know pass away.
It really comes down to being truly honest with yourself, which can be incredibly hard if you have a big ego to grapple with.
It's okay to quit. You shouldn't have to feel guilty about it if leaving it behind opens other doors that make you more happy. The longer you stick with acting, the more actors you'll meet over the years that step away from it, and they do so whole heartedly, and I'm sure quite a few do so with few regrets and are happier for having done so (but having no regrets for having pursued acting in the first place). Being prepared to close one chapter in your life to move onto another can be incredibly liberating.
You can always come back to it. Or not. That is, if your heart desires.
No matter where you are in your "career" as an actor, there are always going to be plenty of actors out there with way more credits than you who are even more miserable than you are in spite of their greater success. Whether you step away from it or not has nothing to do with your career, and more to do with what is going on inside of you - and what you value in your life beyond acting.
I guess I'm saying that a lot of people who started pursuing this early tended to leave it by their 30s or 40s - even if they achieved some modicum of success, because it's around that time when many of us are introduced to other aspects of life that we value, and where we don't get as much fulfillment from such as singular focus on just one thing (with the exception of a few - and those who attain external success from that singularity of purpose are heralded as geniuses; those who don't are considered delusional or even pathetic - that's the cruelty of it all).
Great post donquixote! I'm always amazed how many balanced, successful, and happy people I meet in LA who USED to be actors. Its nice to meet those people and have an exchange of respect; they respect me for sticking with it, I respect them for getting out.
I came into acting AFTER having success in other things. I had a great time building a company, raised a family, and already have the house and a few bucks put away. Even with those boxes checked I fantasize about leaving the acting world behind and doing something else. And then something good happens .. a booking, a compliment, or even a great class. And I keep going.
I love this thread. It's truly stimulating conversation. As far as the related column, my editor wanted me to give my advice, rather than extensively quoting from thread posts, which I can understand. Nevertheless, the thread is referenced. And that column comes out on November 8th.
Thats a great post by DOn quixote. When things arent really working out, there is actually something liberating about walking away and having nice steady income that lets you breathe
Yeah, you may come back , but its really easy to resent the business when you feel like you give so much and get rejected over and over.
Its got to the point where personally, I dont even like to talk to actors under the age of maybe 28-29, or who have been in LA less than 6-7 years because the minute you mention that there is the possibilty that things might not work out, they catch an attitude.
Its easiest for people to stay on board when they have a nice comfy income outside of acting, from a job that they enjoy, and have amazing flexibility to get out for Studio Projects. But unfortunately being in a situation with both of those elements is rare.
I was watching "The Words" recently, which chronicles Bradley Cooper as a struggling writer trying to make ends meet. There's a point when his father tells him - "Sometimes, being a 'man' means accepting your own limitations," in regard to Cooper not being able to make a living off of writing.
And, I think that applies to everyone. Be smart enough to accept your own limitations. Adjust your ambition so that it is equal to your skill. Having a huge head will lead you down a bad road.
When I see the chops displayed by Damien Lewis and Richard Haywood on "Homeland" it serves as a wakeup call for what it takes to "make it" in this business. Both of them are British, but playing American characters. They both studied classical theatre in London and have been working consistently for a couple of decades before making it "big".
How sad for him lol. If you're good looking I would think you'd want to be in front of the camera but I'm glad it worked out for the poor guy.
just another actor..
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