CAREER ADVANCEMENT / AUG. 24, 2015
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10 Things you Should Never Say to Actors

The first actor performed in 534 or 535 BC, in Athens, Greece, and his name was Thespis. Today actors are needed for commercials, music videos, films, TV, and theatre sets throughout the world. Although many of the most prestigious contemporary film festivals have an international reach, there are so many misconceptions about what it really means to be an actor, that are way too common. If anybody you care about is an actor, you should probably read this list, so that you have a solid understanding of the acting profession that goes beyond the deceptive glamour of movie stars, fame, and fortune.

See Also: Top 10 Reasons to Become an Actor

1. Why Aren’t You Working Right Now?

The one thing that all actors have in common is that one minute they’re busy filming, rehearsing, and performing something, while practically living in their film/theatre set or rehearsal space, and then, when it’s all over, they’re often sitting around waiting for something new to come along, for an unpredictable period of time. The acting life never moves in a straight line; sometimes there’s a day, week, month, or even year where one project just keeps leading to another project, and sometimes they’re coping with a lot of emptiness on their phones, and in their mailboxes and inboxes.

2. Have You Met Anybody Famous?

This question often comes from people who get their perception of the acting profession from tabloid magazines, and are slightly star-struck by the idea of fortune, fame, and overwhelming amounts of success. There’s a 50 percent chance that whatever actor you’re talking to might have met someone famous but they most likely didn’t say, “yes” to hours, and hours of filming and rehearsing to meet Brad Pitt. This statement implies you’re only interested in who they’re working with.

3. Why Do You Need A Day Job?

We can’t all be movie stars, making tons of money off Blockbuster movies. Actors need something stabile to hold on to when they’re getting nothing but the sound of crickets, or doing low or zero budget material, with a ton of heart, and a tiny budget. Actors also work in everywhere from coffee shops and restaurants, to junior schools and universities, in order to make ends meet.

4. I Was in a Play in Junior School, Maybe I Should Be an Actor Like you!

This doesn’t necessarily make you a legit actor. Back then you were just a kid, and all the adults watching you were straightforwardly proud that you were participating in anything at all. Unfortunately agents, your fellow actors, and directors probably don’t have the same attitude as your mom, dad, uncles, aunties, etc. that watched you perform, when you were a kid.

Acting takes training and practice like everything else. Think of it this way: you wouldn’t tell a doctor that you’d make an excellent doctor because you were really good at Operation, when you were a kid, and you wouldn’t tell a mechanic that you’d make a great mechanic because you used to have an incredible miniature, toy car collection; all it would probably inspire is laughter!

5. So you're an Entertainer?

The word “entertainer” brings to mind an image of a performer at a Las Vegas casino, and a clown that specializes in kids’ birthday parties. Some actors don’t like this label, and some don’t mind it, because it puts a very specific image in their mind in terms of the type of performing that you think they do. Because you never really know what the actor you’re dealing with will think of the “entertainer” label, it’s best to avoid it.

6. But It’s Not a “Real” Job

If you’ve ever done any kind of freelance work, where you’re doing something creative such as taking photographs, acting, modeling, directing, writing, making music, or painting a picture this statement is alarmingly common. Actors are the ones that hear this statement the most. Not everyone gets the chance to spend time on a theatre or film set but everyone sees the Oscar red carpet ceremonies and the finished product. Unfortunately the hard work required to make TV shows, plays, movies, commercials, and music videos rarely gets public exposure; far too many people think that actors do nothing but sit around, while looking pretty, and making money effortlessly. What is and isn’t a “real” job? Does it actually exist?

7. Are you Famous yet?

Not every actor is interested in being famous, and even people that actively try to achieve fame don’t always get there. Fame rarely happens, in fact some actors, after thirty plus years of work get respect, instead of superstardom, and that’s a goal worth working towards, in any profession! If they haven’t achieved fame it’s either not their priority, or they don’t have the right look/ personality to be a tabloid selling, attention grabbing superstar, or both.

8. Someone Pays You For That?

It’s a work a lot harder work than it looks. The average actor has to attend auditions, rehearsals, and several hours of filming, before their work is ready for an actual audience, and if they’re in a play there’s also tech runs, dress rehearsals, costume fittings, etc.

After it’s all over there’s also a waiting period, for the next thing to come along, which is not only frustrating, but also a stressful part of the average actors’ life. All of the above takes time, persistence, and hard work. Not everyone can memorize lines, and remember lines, and perform in front of hundreds, and hundreds of strangers, while dealing with directors, critics, and even strangers’ criticism/opinions.

9. I Have a Great Idea for a Movie. You Love Acting. Maybe you Could Be in it for “Fun”

Unless you’re an actual director or actor, with at least some experience under your belt, and you can either afford to pay them at least some money, or at least offer appealing perks for their time and hard work this probably isn’t a good idea. This is most likely a waste of time, unless you’re super tight buddies, because an actor that expects to make actual income off their work most likely won’t bother.

10. You Must Have a lot of Money

The answer is mostly likely no, because the acting life is highly unpredictable. There are high paying, big budget movies and commercial gigs out there and it’s actual quite common for a great, high paying opportunity to come along, but then when it’s all over nothing happens for a little while, which leads to a handful of full-time actors that have to live off their latest paycheque, until the next opportunity comes along. During the not so great times that sometimes takes weeks! Only a small percentage of actors live in mansions, and have enough money to burn for sports cars and expensive clothing.

See Also: Top 10 Dumbest Celebrity Quotes

Celebrity gossip-focused television and tabloids are okay in moderation, but they focus on a minority of professional actors. It’s okay to have a lack of understanding about the average actor’s lifestyle, as long as you ask questions, before making assumptions about a lifestyle you know nothing about. Always remember that people who act for all the right reasons do it for love and passion rather than fame and fortune. Keep in mind that acting is never “easy” it just looks that way, thanks to every single actor you’ve ever seen in a movie, TV show, play, or commercial, that’s really good at their job.

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