Top 5 Worst Reasons to Become an Actor


Gullick_Jennifer_HeadshotAlthough I got a late start, there are countless memories I have, beginning as early as I can recall, where I pretended to be in a movie. One in particular, was the overly dramatic, ‘lying in the hospital on my death bed scene’; doesn’t every little girl just love pretending to be gravely ill and dying? Oh, then there’s the ‘I just ate 5 apples and my stomach hurts so bad’ scene; I decided to imitate this commercial from tv during which the lead character bit into an apple several times as he spoke. I remember my dad coming into my room with a curious look, asking “who are you talking to, and why did you eat all the apples?” Unfortunately for me, I was just too shy to actually do this nonsense in front of people, but the desire was innate and unending.

I live in Atlanta which has quickly become a mecca for film and television production. And let me tell you – there is an ocean of talent. It’s no difficult task to spot the professional actors who take their job seriously. Undoubtedly, they have been through at least one, what I like to call, “career crisis” (picture someone in camera ready make-up, lying in a pool of tears and doubt, surrounded by audition sides, an energy drink, and bills) and yet, they’re willing to press-on.

So, for all the newbies who want to take this on as a career, all I ask of you is to make sure you’re in this for the right reasons. Otherwise, you’re just diluting the pool. I’ve come up with a list of the top 5 worst reasons to be an actor:

5) “I want to be famous!”

I love your spunk and tenacity. It’s cute. And, I hate to dash your dreams, but the odds of you becoming a household name are ridiculously slim. Even if you’re great. On a personal note, I would much rather be that actor who works consistently, makes a good living, but can go to the local grocery store without being mobbed. I just don’t relate to the quest for fame.

4) “Acting is super fun!”

Uh, yeah – it is. I love acting, I enjoy spending time with other focused and talented actors. But this biz is called The Biz because it is a business. It’s not a hobby. It’s not a never-ending social event. It’s not a joke. There is a tremendous amount of time and effort that must be put into your career if you are to be even remotely successful.

3) “I want to be rich!”

It happens, but, it’s unlikely. Just do your research. It’s tough to make a living by being an actor, without something to supplement your income.

2) “Actors just get to play make-believe and be pampered all day!”

Hold-on, I haven’t stopped laughing! Now, admittedly, actors usually have it much easier than the crew does when on set. However, the majority of your time is not spent on set, rather it is spent auditioning; training; rehearsing; updating headshots, resumes, and your casting websites; networking; researching; learning, learning, and more learning, etc.

1) “I’m so good-looking!”

Have you ever heard of the big fish/small pond expression? Every which way you turn in a casting room there are pretty people. While it can definitely open doors and may be a requirement for certain roles, pretty faces are a dime a dozen and even more so in this industry. You can be gorgeous, but you’d better have training, skill, and talent to back it up.
So, my point in all this is not to discourage anyone who truly wants to act, just know what you’re getting in to, it’s not something you do on a whim. You have to love it! If you have a passion for it, as I do, you will know that it’s right for you and you will find it very rewarding. I’ll soon write a blog about all the great things about being an actor, until then. Be well.