Most parents are very worried when their children come to them, and tell them that they want to be an actor or actress. Now there are certain fears that may be warranted when parents hear their children say this. Fear of their son or daughter not being able to support themselves. Fear that acting isn’t a good enough job, and a respectable one. Fear that their children will be crushed if their dreams don’t work out. These questions and many more may run through a parent’s head, but they shouldn’t.
Now let me begin by telling you a little about myself, and my experience with these situations. I am a working actor who is not only making a living and supporting myself, but living comfortably. I have achieved this through a lot of hard work, and many nights having ramen noodle for dinner after a day of auditions for student films, but it all paid off in time. I have had many friends and colleagues though, especially when I was younger, whose parents did not support their dreams. This held them back, and even inhibited them from being successful in their careers.
Our modern society does not look fondly on the idea of becoming an actor or really any kind of entertainer. We are taught that there is too much risk in these dreams, and that if we want to live comfortably we must have a backup plan in place. This is a lie. I am living proof that even with no backup plan you can live comfortably as an actor, and work constantly in the field you love.
In this article, I want to help relieve any fears and questions a parent may have about the field of work their child is considering going into. I will only be covering the most common questions, and the ones that get asked the most.
1.What does it take to even become an Actor/Actress
This is a very tough question with a lot of complicated answers, but I’ll do my best to sum it up in a sentence. Anyone who wants to become an Actor/Actress must believe that at the end of the day there is nothing else in this world that will make them as happy as being in this business. This industry is a very competitive one, and the main reason many people become successful is because they know nothing else will make them as happy as being a performer. Now I know that doesn’t sound like a very simple answer, and raises more questions than it answers, but trust me it is the best answer.
Considering the logistics of a person’s path to being a working actor is the second step. There is no set path for anyone wanting to work in this industry. Nobody can tell you the step by step way to become successful. They can only give you advice on what steps you should take to help improve your ability and craft.
The first of these is that an Actor/Actress should always be learning about their craft. Whether this be taking acting classes, improv workshops, or being in community theater shows. These all are ways to continue learning and improving your craft. Many people lose momentum in their acting careers due to their mistake of thinking they know it all. This cannot be further from the truth. Actors should always be learning, and improving. This keeps them in the running for any part they may audition for, and gives them the upper hand against anyone who believes they already know it all. Many famous tv and film stars all still attend classes and workshops to keep themselves sharp.
Another thing young actors should learn is that they should never be afraid to meet new people. This industry runs off who you know, and who you have worked with before. There are many stories of people getting cast in movies because they had worked previously with the same casting director. This is a very common occurrence in our line of work, and you should always be making new contacts at any opportunity.
One last thing emerging actors should know is to always be creating opportunity, and taking opportunity given to them. You are never going to be too good to work on a new student film or a community theater play. Thinking that such things are beneath you will land you in a restraint as a waiter for the rest of your life. Now if you aren’t being cast, and have the ability create opportunity for yourself. Modern technology has just made this easier for people to create and share things. Write short films, and put them on YouTube. Put on a show at a local community theater. Sing in a concert, or create your improv group. There are so many ways you can create opportunities for yourself, and it may get you a job in the future.
Now there is a lot more to become a working actor then these few tips, but these are the main tips people will give you. In the end though anyone who may want to be an actor needs to have an undying passion for it, and be willing to work hard for it.
- Can you really make a comfortable living from acting?
The short answer is yes you can. The long answer is that you will have to work your way up to a comfortable living. Actors do not get paid a lot in the very beginning of their careers in most cases. Many take months and months until their first paycheck from an acting gig. This is what scares many parents, but it shouldn’t.
Acting takes time, and effort. While working to become a paid actor your child may have to be working a part time job to support themselves, and living with roommates. This is just the reality of the life they are choosing, but it doesn’t have to be their whole life. If they work hard and are always chasing opportunities they will eventually find success.
This success can lead to a very healthy income that can support a person comfortably. A single commercial shoot can pay upwards to $7,000. That is a very nice paycheck for a three-day shoot. Booking multiple commercials or voice acting gigs can very easily pay a person’s expenses for months at a time. Eventually you can build a steady income through these opportunities to the point of quitting that side job.
- Will my child fail
Again, the short answer is yes, but there can be success as well. We all fail when we begin, and many of us will fall multiple times. This is just the way of life, and how the world works. That doesn’t mean you will fail forever. If your child continues to work towards their goals, and learn from their own failures they will eventually thrive. They must be willing to always work though, and not let their failures affect the way they work.
Now I want to say to any parent who is afraid for their child, and their child’s future in acting. That supporting them, and helping them through the beginning of their career will lead to their success much easier. The world is already hard enough for the best performers out there, and no new actor/actress needs the extra stress of a family that does not support their dreams.