One of the recent letters from the Mailbox on the subject of how old is it too old to start an acting career inspired to expand on the subject. I personally know quite a few actors who either received their drama school degree in early 50s or began attending acting classes and looking for acting jobs in their early 60s. So if this applies to you, here is the case.
How Old is Too Old to Start an Acting Career
The amazing thing about the acting profession is that it’s so versatile and unpredictable. You can start an acting career in your 20s and only get recognition in your 50s, or you can start in your 60s and get a major role in 5 years.
It’s just impossible to say what can happen to one’s career at any time, which makes the question of “how old is too old to start an acting career” a redundant one — it’s never too late.
If you’re currently debating with yourself whether you should start taking acting classes and looking for projects to work on; if acting is your passions and there’s nothing else you’d rather do with your time at this point in life, the best way to find out is to go out and try.
Give acting a shot: see if you like it, see if you can keep up with it. Maybe you’ll do it as a hobby on weekends without spending a dime, or maybe you’ll go professional at some point. You will never know what opportunities are out there waiting for you if you never try it out.
It’s also about the competition
50s, 60s and above is an interesting time to start acting. While generally there might be less roles for such age, the curious case is that while you’re starting out in your 60s, other actors are already leaving the industry at this time in their life. Balance does the magic here, which means there will definitely be less competition for you than there is for actors in the 20s-30s age group. Significantly less.
Having said that, if one would be willing to start an acting career from the very beginning in the older age, it’s vital to learn about how the industry works and what is out there.
There are many reasons for this, but the most important one is to known how to go around the entertainment industry scams or avoid parting with your money when you don’t necessarily have to. There’s more than plenty of advice on the industry available online.
Be brave with your choices
Another advice for actors worried about being too old to start an acting career would be to go boldly for any role that is offered: student projects, indies and small plays in your city. Anything goes at this point to get you into the scene.
Don’t rush into moving to a bigger city if you’re not in one; spend a year learning about the craft. You might love it or hate it — it’s better to be certain before committing to anything.
When it comes to funding your career, it’s perfectly fine to pay for a headshot and join an acting class but that is where you should draw a line at the beginning. Unless, of course, your previous occupation made you a very wealthy person; in that case this will probably not apply to you. If, however, you would prefer to be conservative with your cash, then investing just a little bit in acting training is more than enough for starters.
The bottom line is that if acting is something you’re passionate about and love doing, go and do it. Join your local community theatre, do some plays and student films. Get your feet wet and see how you like it.
By then, if you believe there’s nothing else you’d rather be doing for the rest of your life but just act, then commit to it and pursue your dream. Nobody’s ever going to tell you that you’re too old to start an acting career (except, maybe, for your family because that’s just how it works). There are parts waiting to be cast for all age groups. Go grab one for yourself!
Plenty of actors started acting late in their lives and many received recognition even later. Why can’t you be one of those success stories?