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If it was easy…everyone would do it!
Hmmm ….We have heard this many times, but when bringing this phrase into the world of acting, it sparks many thoughts and ideas. Here are some of my thoughts on the subject…
#1 – “If it was easy …”
When it comes to being an actor, people all around the world watch their tvs and go to the movies and they say “I could do that”, or perhaps they think “actors have it so easy”. When the actors on those screens are good at what they do, it can indeed …look easy. That is why so many people feel like actors have it easy. The job itself appears on the surface to be an easy one, and the rewards for this “easy work” appear to be phenomenal. There is also a belief that “all actors are rich” (I think the acting community at large would beg to differ). But you can understand why people that are not in the business, have no clue what it is that you do. When the average person thinks of the word “actor”, they think of Meryl Streep, or Brad Pitt, or some other star whose career path has been anything but average. Or they might even think of the actor they have a crush on that plays the love interest on their favorite TV show. They do not usually think of “Cop number 2” or the waitress that just brought them their lunch. This is also why your Aunt Edna keeps asking you “Why aren’t you famous yet?” at Christmas dinner.
Long story short? … It aint as easy as it looks!
#2 – “Everyone WOULD do it”
When you live in Hollywood or Manhattan and surround yourself with performers, it feels like the whole world is trying to be an actor. Of course this is not true, but it sure can feel that way at times. Thousands of artists flood into LA & NewYork every year trying their “luck” at fame and fortune. And every year almost as many go back home or stick around but change their career paths.
A real career as an actor is often 100x more complex and much more work than what actors believed it would be when they first started out. I have an amazing actor friend who has said that if he knew how hard it was going to be in the beginning, he wouldn’t have done it. But thank goodness…he did NOT know what he was getting himself into. Sometimes ignorance is bliss. But with his talent, skills, and extraordinary work ethic, he now has a great career and is finally seeing the fruits of his labor.
There are tons and tons of actors who stick it out and create a wonderful life doing what they love. Why not you?
#3 – “Could it be easier?”
Something to consider… Does it HAVE to be a struggle? Putting in lots of work does not have to be considered a negative. The work itself can be joyful if you choose it to be. If you are not making a living as an actor yet, (Which is MOST actors by the way), when we hear phrases like “starving artist” or “out-of-work-actor”, it can feel like it’s a punch line to some cosmic joke that we didn’t hear the set up to. It can get ya wondering if “struggle” is a rite of passage that every single actor is required to go through.
“Struggle?”….NO. “Consistent effort, taking action, & never-ending growth”…YES.
Although there might be other actors who are unsatisfied with their careers, that does not have to be YOUR story. You can actually enjoy each audition and look at it like a major victory to even be in the room. You can look forward to your training and learning new business skills. You can even find a survival job that HELPS your career beyond just paying the bills. You can make the active choice to stay positive and proactive and to enjoy the work. One of the great secrets to having a successful and HAPPY career is to actually enjoy the journey…Not “some day” but RIGHT NOW!
#4 – “If it were easy, everyone would do it”
My translation? Actors are a special breed.
It is quite a gift to be an actor. I like to think that when it comes to having a career as an actor, the heart-based feeling behind this phrase can mean that if you received the calling to make acting your life’s work, then you are is a select group. You owe it to yourself to move beyond your fears, listen to your inner voice, and go for it.
Being smart and strategic about it at the same time, know that there will be tons of work to do if you really want a real career. And by “work”, I do not just mean getting a headshot, taking acting classes, and getting an agent…. There is SOOOO much more.
Really understand that nobody will make your career happen for you… accept YOU.
* Get educated on the BUSINESS side of the biz.
* Create your own opportunities.
* Cultivate a rock solid work ethic.
* Don’t give up.
And if this career is the right place for you to be, always remember that even though it might not always be easy, you SHOULD do it!
© 2015 Kari Nissena