Why You Should Never Become An Actor
Acting, in its true essence, isn’t merely about fame or fortune, but rather it’s an intricate blend of art and emotion. For many, it’s a calling, an unshakable drive to breathe life into characters, stories, and worlds yet unseen.
It’s the magic of standing on a stage, before an audience or in front of a camera, and transporting not just yourself but an entire crowd into a new reality. It’s a world where you can be anything – from a heroic prince to a conniving villain, from a charming rogue to an unassuming bystander.
Yet, there’s an undeniable allure of fame associated with the profession. The glimmering possibility of seeing your face plastered on billboards, of fans waiting for hours just for a glimpse of you, or that elusive golden statuette with your name engraved on it.
However, this seemingly tantalizing reality is often a bedazzling façade that overshadows a far less glossy side of the profession. A path filled with challenges, sacrifices, and uncertainties. And sometimes, the gravity of these hurdles can outweigh the perks.
“What are the hurdles?”, I hear you asking. Well, read on to find out.
17 reasons why you shouldn’t become an actor/actress
1. The unpredictable lifestyle
Acting is as far from a 9-to-5 desk job as you can get. Your life will rarely follow a predictable routine. One day you could be shooting a commercial in the heart of the city, and the next you might find yourself in an entirely different country for a film shoot.
Some may find this exciting, but it also means a lack of stability. You can’t guarantee when or where your next gig will be, which can lead to stress and uncertainty.
2. The pressure and scrutiny
Being in the public eye is a double-edged sword. Sure, it can be thrilling to see fans recognizing you and your work, but it also comes with a high level of scrutiny. From paparazzi to critics to online trolls, every aspect of your life and performance can be under a microscope.
This continuous pressure can take a significant toll on your mental health. An example is the unfortunate demise of famous celebrities like Robin Williams, who despite their stardom, suffered from depression.
3. The financial insecurity
The common perception is that actors live luxurious lives, their pockets brimming with cash. In reality, only a tiny fraction of actors earn substantial amounts of money.
Many aspiring actors have to work side jobs just to make ends meet. This can often mean long periods of financial insecurity and uncertainty.
4. The importance of connections
In the acting industry, often, it’s not about how talented you are, but about who you know. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but many roles are given based on connections rather than auditions. And if you don’t have a robust network, you might find it challenging to land roles, regardless of your talent.
5. The personal sacrifices
To succeed in acting, you’ll likely have to make considerable personal sacrifices. The irregular working hours, the need to constantly travel, and the extensive time spent on perfecting your craft can all eat into your social life and personal time. For many actors, it’s a choice between their career and maintaining healthy personal relationships.
6. The risk of typecasting
Typecasting is a common issue in the acting industry. Once an actor becomes known for a particular type of role, they may find it challenging to get cast in different roles.
For instance, consider Leonard Nimoy, who struggled to break free from his identity as “Spock” from Star Trek, despite being a versatile actor.
7. The intense competition
Competition in the acting industry is legendary. For any single role, casting directors might see hundreds or even thousands of auditions.
Everyone’s looking for their break, and everyone’s got something unique to offer. The sheer volume of talented individuals in the field can make getting noticed seem like finding a needle in a haystack.
For instance, consider Chris Pratt, who, before becoming a household name with “Guardians of the Galaxy”, spent years juggling minor roles and even experienced homelessness.
8. The Casting Couch – the ugly side of getting roles
The acting industry, despite its glitz and glam, has a darker underbelly. The so-called “casting couch” phenomenon is an unfortunate reality.
It’s the seedy practice of promising roles in exchange for sexual favors, and it’s an ugly side of the industry that can be incredibly difficult to navigate, especially if you’re a woman (as the #MeToo movement showed us).
This issue isn’t limited to newcomers but can affect anyone at any point in their career, as the infamous Harvey Weinstein scandal revealed.
While initiatives are being taken to uproot this practice, it still pervades many corners of the industry. It presents a serious moral and ethical conundrum for aspiring actors who may feel pressured to compromise their principles for the sake of career advancement.
9. The risk of blackballing and cancellation
The acting industry can be unforgiving. A single misstep, be it personal or professional, can lead to blackballing or ‘cancel culture’.
If you don’t adhere to certain norms or support certain causes, it can drastically affect your career. This is particularly evident in the case of actors who voiced differing political views and saw a decline in their career opportunities.
10. The risk of getting consumed by fame
The fame that accompanies successful acting can be intoxicating. It often distracts from the craft itself and becomes more about maintaining the image of a celebrity. This can shift your focus away from your passion, making the profession more about PR than performance.
11. The danger of becoming conceited
With fame comes the risk of developing an inflated ego. It’s easy to get caught up in the fanfare and lose sight of who you were before the fame. You could very well end up becoming a version of yourself you (and a lot of other “normies”) don’t like, alienating friends, family, and even fans in the process.
12. The relocation requirement
Many aspiring actors find themselves having to make a significant life change to pursue their dreams: relocation.
The acting industry thrives in specific places around the world. Cities like Los Angeles, New York, Mumbai, or London are hotbeds of opportunities for actors. But moving to these industry epicenters involves leaving behind your comfort zone, your family, and everything familiar.
These big cities also tend to be pretty expensive to live in, seeing as they’re overflowing with people, and landlords know they can charge a premium for even the smallest apartments.
13. The impact on your loved ones
If you achieve fame, the lives of your nearest and dearest may also be affected. They may have to deal with the loss of privacy, prying paparazzi, and even critics. It’s not just your life that changes with fame; it’s your loved ones’ lives too.
14. Compromising on scripts
In an ideal world, every script that lands on an actor’s desk would be a riveting masterpiece. In reality, however, many scripts are less than stellar.
Actors, especially those new to the industry, often have to accept roles in films or shows with poor scripts because they need the work. This could mean playing stereotyped characters, delivering cringe-worthy dialogues, or being part of a narrative that you don’t believe in.
In some cases, the script might even demand scenes that conflict with an actor’s personal beliefs or values. Imagine being a straight man asked to passionately kiss another guy. Yes, it’s acting, but you’ll still need to perform the physical act.
Despite personal discomfort, you might have to compromise for the sake of your role. This can lead to an internal tug-of-war between personal values and professional requirements, creating a challenging working environment.
15. Difficulty in returning post a break
Taking a break in any profession comes with risks, but in the acting industry, it can be particularly perilous.
Given the fast-paced, ever-evolving nature of the industry, stepping away for a while might cause you to lose your foothold. New faces emerge, trends change, and the industry moves on, sometimes leaving behind those who step away.
This isn’t just about people forgetting your face, it’s about the possibility of you having become “rusty” in your absence, a real concern for agents and casting directors alike.
16. The struggle to find an agent
Breaking into the acting industry often requires more than just raw talent. A good agent can be the gateway to substantial opportunities, but finding one is no easy feat. Agents are inundated with aspiring actors vying for their attention, making standing out from the crowd a challenge.
Moreover, securing an agent doesn’t guarantee instant success. The relationship involves navigating contracts, negotiations, and a profound trust that they will advocate for your best interests. Sometimes, it might take trial and error with several agents before finding the right professional fit.
17. Acting, good acting, is hard!
There’s a pervasive belief that acting is all about looking good on camera and reciting lines convincingly. But anyone who has tried to get into the skin of a character knows that acting, especially good acting, is incredibly hard. It’s not just about emoting; it’s about living as another person, understanding their motivations, their quirks, their history.
Developing a character requires deep insight, empathy, and the ability to surrender oneself completely to the role. Actors have to tap into emotions and experiences that might be alien to them and make it believable for the audience. The strain of delivering a compelling performance while staying true to the character’s essence can be mentally and emotionally draining.
Embarking on an acting career is a choice filled with uncertainty and challenges. It’s not all red carpet glamour and Oscar acceptance speeches. There’s an abundance of sweat, tears, and rejection behind the scenes that we don’t see. The hurdles are numerous, from intense competition, exploitation risks, and the need for constant self-promotion, to the possibility of relocating, dealing with less-than-stellar scripts, and the genuine difficulty of mastering the craft.
Nevertheless, it’s also important to remember that every profession comes with its challenges, and acting is no different. Despite all these obstacles, if the thought of living a life different than acting seems unthinkable to you, and you feel a burning passion and deep-seated determination to tell stories and evoke emotions through your performances, then perhaps these struggles will be worth enduring.
In that event, I wish you all the best!