It was a typical London evening. This was my fourth year living abroad to pursue my dream. I had just raced across London for an audition. I found myself amid two more attractive versions of myself, who must have known one another. I couldn’t help but overhear their conversations. They talked about how a mutual friend (we’ll call him Such and-such) had decided to leave the business. “No, not Such-and such!” exclaimed Better -Looking – Me-2 to Better – Looking-Me-1. “But he wasn’t so good!” Better-Looking Me-1 shrugged and gave a melancholy sigh. I met his girlfriend, and she said that Such-and-such had complained about the industry for many years. I have been contemplating giving up on the industry. It’s ridiculous to think that we can keep doing commercial auditions and one-liners for so long before it becomes too much.
My handsome doppelgangers, me, range from the early to mid-30s mark (though we are both 27 years old, the “everyman type”, if anyone is interested). It’s been nearly 15 years since I started, and it sounds like I’m not alone. They started their marathon for work straight out of high school as me. They absorbed every bit of their advanced performing arts training and fought through the tides and profit-share projects to finally surf some form of a professional career. After taking a lot of time to navigate these waters, the great question is looming like Captain Hook’s warning clicks… Is it my turn?
We all want to tell the story of the success story that we have heard about since we first got bitten by the acting bug. It’s the one about the famous actor who lived in their car eating tuna out of a can and then considering quitting when they found that role that truly changed their lives. Emma Stone played her role in “La La Lies”. It’s possible to believe that this story will come true for me if you are able. There are three crucial things we need to consider before reaching this point.
Three Crucial Factors to Consider…
The Social Factor.
Any creative endeavour is unpredictable and tumultuous, so it would be a mistake to ask others to join you in this gamble. It’s one thing to be willing to give up everything to pursue the dream, but it is another to ask someone else to cover a portion of the cost. Artists may choose to be completely isolated, keeping any brief relationships at a safe distance, in order not to make the inevitable sacrifices necessary for this greater goal. Others test their relationship strength bravely, holding on to the most important people they can and the few remaining morsels of commitment they haven’t exhausted while working.
The Financial Factor.
Many people reading this will be familiar with the terrifying lows of financial strain actors face. However, artists have taken ownership of that particular cliche. Actors are notorious for their inconsistent livelihoods. I was reminded of an incident 8 years ago. A customer recognized me from a TV ad. I took his dessert order and then cleaned his plates.
Peter Dinklage’s inspirational collegiate speech was captivating. You’ve heard it. He talks about how he quit his other jobs at 28 and vows to live solely off acting wages. This forced him to look for more work. This same experiment didn’t work out for Tyrion Lannister as it did for me, so I went back to part-time, flexible, casual salt mines. So we go to work bartending, teaching, pizza delivery, front of the housing and promoting. Call-centring, tour guiding, and table waiting are other tasks. Waiting for what? All of the above jobs are based on real life. I used to believe I was capable of enduring a job I didn’t enjoy because it was necessary to fulfil my dream. Now…