So here’s the thing: if you want to be an actor, you better figure out a f#@k load more sh#!t that you like to do, things that make you want to get out of bed in the morning, because a career in acting doesn’t involve a ton of…acting. Now, let me just hop on into my time machine, dial it back to, oh! I don’t know, high school. Then hop out and pull aside that chubby girl that SERIOUSLY needed braces, with a head of hair that’s never seen a calming serum or a flat iron in its damn life, and tell her that.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d tell her to stick with acting. I’d tell her all the same things: if you love it then you have no choice but to pursue it. It’s going to be tough but I believe in you because you’ve got talent and passion. Blah blah blah… all that stuff. But maybe figure out some other stuff you like. You love anatomy and medicine and stuff! And swimming! You didn’t suck at that! What are some other things you’re into? While you’re at it, learn some life skills and money budgeting. That stuffs gonna really trip you up for a minute after college. I know EXACTLY what that little brat would say:
“No! Acting is my passion! It’s what I’m meant to do! If I pursue other things, it’s like saying I don’t believe in myself. And I do! I do! I’m gonna MAKE IT!”
Ok, ok… calm down, honey. No one is telling you not to dive in and DO THE DAMN THING! You should! You should put your whole heart into it. It’s just, if you really wanna do this, you’re gonna need some distractions to maintain your mental sanity. Because most of what you need to do to pursue this career has nothing to do with acting. It’s marketing. It’s building up a skin impervious to rejections. It’s networking with people you’d NEVER actually want to hang out with. It’s day jobs that drain you and pay you just enough to (sort of) pay the bills. (This is where some lucrative side hustles might come in handy – more on that later) It’s maintaining a flexible schedule to be available for auditions… and then getting no auditions. It’s a lot of NOT ACTING. So if you don’t have other stuff that makes you feel human, all that non-acting is gonna drain you real quick.
And believe me, there are acting teachers and professionals out here that are gonna tell you that you need to eat, sleep, and breath acting. And if you aren’t willing to sublet a bathtub in K-Town just to pay for their acting classes, THEN YOU AREN’T SERIOUS! (Yes, an acting teacher did tell me this.)
That is bulls#!t. And they are an a$$hole. That will make you insane. That will also make you an insufferable person that I don’t want to hang out with, but I digress. Look, if the only thing you’re getting up for in the morning is acting, then when you DO have to draw on the experiences of a human person to play a human person character, your well is gonna be dryyyyy. Because this whole acting career: it’s not what most humans experience.
So go out! Travel! Learn about strange medical practices of the 16th century! Don’t give up playing the cello after fifth grade! (You were first chair for, like, a week, dammit!) Whatever makes you not a crazy, one-dimensional, nut job. Anything to keep you busy and happy until you hit that big break, baby!* Don’t worry. It’s comin’…
*I’m considering buying a bow and arrow, btw.