As an Actor, the questions asked from strangers, friends, and relatives, occasionally are, what have I seen you in? What are you in now? When are you gonna be famous? Or, you get those individuals who feel the need to mention they also "acted" at some point; High School, Church, and/or "I could've been a star". I used to reply, "Why didn't you?" Completely on the defensive. However, somewhere down the road I realized these individuals have no idea what it takes to be an Actor, let alone a "star".
Acting for me has been the greatest and "worst" thing throughout my life. There's an immediate rush while being on set, or in a theater filled with patrons, fully invested in what you do, and say. There's no other feeling like it in the world. Being on stage or in front of a camera is euphoric. It is bliss! But, what happens in-between those moments of well-paying work are countless no's. A steady stream of rejection. Years worth of trying to understand you aren't completely in control of the work you book because there are so many different factors at play in addition to your audition. Working odd jobs or low-paying jobs that let you take off work, or disappear for a while so you can make it to an audition. Sometimes it requires going without health insurance because you make to much or you don't make enough to satisfy the quota of various HMO's, Medicaid, Affordable Care Act, etc. Then on top of those things you have to pay for access to several sites containing your headshot & resume to submit to projects or have your representation submit on your behalf. You have to pay for headshots, clips, reels, sometimes clothing for auditions, events, seminars, gym membership, classes, meet & greets, and more. Top it all off with no guarantee it'll all pay off. Keep in mind the above mentioned lists are for being an Actor. I haven't included essentials for life, such as food and housing.
So the real question should be, why acting? A generic, surface based response may come up. I love it, it's what I was born to do or some other random, cliché answer formulates. However, when I take a moment, reflect on God, my life, and what I envision my future to be in the future present, I answer, "passion." The word passion is the equivalent to the word drive. I am driven to not live the life I always had. I'm passionate about becoming a better person. I am driven to understand human nature, mostly my own. I'm passionate about me living what used to be dreams and having new dreams. I'm driven to follow the path God is directing me in. I am obsessed with creating characters that flow from my being. I am in love with this world, people, and being a part of something that gives them joy or a breather from the complexities, and challenges of life. An Actor's Passion!
The Actor's Passion is what fuels me through those days of knowing I only have money to pay rent and can only eat pasta for the week. It's what keeps me walking through those casting agents doors, proud, unafraid to fall on my ass while giving my take on a character, and then switching it up through an adjustment they give. That Actor's Passion is what keeps me up at night researching who's casting what shows, fixing/updating my website, resume or the various other sites that have my info. The Actor's Passion is why I read a play a week, try to read a screenplay once every two weeks, and work on a monologue. Those people I previously mentioned couldn't and can't be an actor because it's not a "comfortable" journey for 99% of us. It's not a set path. There isn't a time limit on when things will happen. It is filled with sacrifice and hardships. You have to work after finishing work. You have to hold yourself accountable for those wasted times where you vegged out watching TV, playing video games or procrastinating. Plus everyone's race is different. What works for him and her may not work for me. The Actor's Passion allows me to run my own race and live comfortably in my discomfort because it's my path. I embrace it and love it. The Actor's Passion is my purpose. It's why I live. I live in my purpose.
I would like to conclude with an line from Pastor Carl Lentz's book, "Own the Moment". "Live with purpose, on purpose. Every single day."
Love you all! Leave a comment if you got something out of this. But more importantly, do what moves your spirit, embrace it, and in the words of my former coach, Niko, God rest his soul. "Just be you".