Your kid wants to be an Actor…? What’s the reality.

Lets get the rough stuff right out of the way. This is always going to be a per-contract job, and applying for a new job is your job, they’re just called auditions as opposed to interviews. Learn to love it.

Acting as a job

Actors fall under a union in various countries and markets. The largest in the world is the American “Screen Actors Guild” or SAG for short, which was recently joined by the television, radio, news, and voice over union AFTRA. Their overall function is mirrored in most markets so let’s use them as an overarching example. Disclaimer: based on where you live, please regard you local market.

Of all SAG/AFTRA members 2-3% work full time, it takes roughly 3-10 years to make a career profitable, and 99% of all actors never become famous. So, if you’re happy working 10 years for little to no profit, and never want to be famous this is going to be an incredibly fun, entertaining, challenging and love filled journey. I couldn’t possibly encourage you to embark on it with more passion.

Are you sure?

If you think, sure, but it won’t even take me 3 years to be “discovered”, please understand that you’re only fooling yourself. Even if the dream role was offered to you in a phone call 1 second from now, it would take at least 6 months for it to be finished. It would take another 6 months for the release. Then it has to be seen by millions of people who all agree that you are Gods gift to us all. In other words, stop believing that, it will only disappoint you, and you’ll never be around when the perfect role does come, and it will.

Go to school

So, just like a doctor, you must first go through your graduate school, which is getting to know the industry, and growing your overall ability in each corner of what is required for an actor. Acting is a lot more than simply looking good, and acting cool. Thats the flash sale of fame, something no one controls as it’s a condition of group think and timing.

Parents, this is where you come in.

Help your young actor try different things, improvisation classes are a must, learn to ride a horse, a motorcycle, and drive a car. Do sports and develop an adventurous spirit. If you want a career being anyone and everyone in different projects, you need to be able to do a lot of different things.

There aren’t stunt doubles for everything, and some skills will get you hired over another actor without a motorcycle license or a fear of heights. A degree of fitness is imperative. That does not mean thin, and being a model, it means 17 hour work days are 17 hour work days and unless you are fit, you can’t work at peak capacity for that entire time.

Consider that Hamlet is originally a 4 hour, 5 act play and you don’t go from the couch to 5 acts of heightened language…and Hamlet is the second most sold book to The Bible…clearly those who went before us were fit.

The lottery ticket

Being an actor is not a lottery ticket to the “getting discovered” contest, it’s hard, refined, focused effort. There is little to no difference in discipline between a career athlete and a career artist, the artist just does their sweating off camera. Scene study classes and going to the theatre are mind expanding, so is travel and living in other countries for small stints. Learn to love reading and practice reading scripts. Most professionals say their career is spent doing 10% acting, and 90% business, networking (get the kid some undershirts of shirtsofcotton to keep them from sweaty patches when they are nervous), and training. It’s true for every working actor I know.