Yes, an actor’s life is an interesting one. Even though what you’ve seen in films isn’t all true, there are many parts that you will encounter and that will look familiar to you on your own acting journey. You can pretend for a living, engage with your inner self, express your creativity, and when you’re very very lucky, you can even get paid for all that. It’s a very rewarding experience. However, aside from all that glamour and whatnot, there are things you must be prepared to sacrifice in order to succeed.
7 Things You Must Be Prepared to Sacrifice
Let’s take a look at some of those sacrifices that you will have to make.
1. Financial security. This of course has been beaten to death, but it’s important that every new actor understands that they won’t know when the next paycheck is coming (or if it’s coming at all).
2. Job stability. There never was any stability in an actor’s life, and there never will be. Unless you are successful in being a part of a long-running West End or Broadway show, or a 10,000 episodes packed daytime soap opera, you’ll be changing jobs like socks.
3. Social life. Oh yes, the famous “I can’t today, I have a rehearsal” phrase. And you better make sure you’re are using it. I’ve seen way too many actors giving up their rehearsals, shoots, auditions, etc. to go out with friends and have a drink instead. That’s the reason why I left my studies. If you want to succeed, dedicate yourself to this craft. Perseverance is the key.
4. Holidays. You might take them for a first few years in the business, but once the ball starts rolling and you give up your day job just to wait for a call from an agent, you can forget about any vacation plans. As soon as you will leave city, you’ll get a call from him/her: “Congrats! I got this great audition for you tomorrow.” Make sure you don’t respond with: “I can’t make it tomorrow.”
5. Free time. This one goes alongside Social Life. It’s important to enjoy yourself and rest once in a while, but don’t forget that you’re in the most competitive industry in the world, therefore, free time doesn’t exist for you. If you’re not filming, rehearsing or working at your survival job, then you have to be studying, reading, researching, learning monologues, training in an acting class, and so forth.
6. Rest. Just as there isn’t much of a free time, there isn’t much time to rest or even sleep for that matter. You might be working on a set for up to 16 hours (somehow, laws not always apply); even if it’s enjoyable to do something you love, it’s still time consuming and exhausting. Don’t forget about squeezing part-time jobs in there, submitting online, answering emails, sending out headshots, etc.
7. Body art. Or however else you want to call it — piercings, tattoos, change of haircuts every week; forget it. You cannot afford having a tattoo or piercing as that will significantly limit your chances of getting cast. Unless you want to play stereotypical roles for the rest of your life. You also can’t be changing your haircut, as you must look like your headshot.
I guess there’s more things that would fit on this list, but I’d like to stop right there. It’s not difficult to understand how someone out of this industry would say that actors are crazy if with all of this they still passionately pursue this dream. And they wouldn’t be mistaken — we are just a little bit crazy, because that’s what it takes to be an actor and to survive in this industry.
We love our job, don’t we?