Pretend like it doesn’t phase you

Senior describes pressure of planning to be an actress

Pretend+like+it+doesn%27t+phase+you

Photo by Angela Valle

Story by Grace Hickey, viewpoint editor

“You want to do that?”

“Do you have a backup plan?”

“You do realize that is highly unrealistic, right?”

Yes. Yes to it all.  

But the thing is, I am so tired of having to say that word. I’m tired of having to defend the fact that I don’t want to be a doctor. Or a lawyer. Or have a “real” career.

Many of my fellow actors are subject to these interrogations and the judgemental stares or pity laughs that inevitably follow. They think that every signature under an audition call board is a nail in the coffin of monetary stability.

As much as I hate to say it, they aren’t wrong. At least not completely.

Except for the footsteps that leave indentions in red carpets–the footsteps that all little dramatic children want to follow in–most actors’ feet can be found running around, doing whatever menial job they can find. They are affectionately called the “starving artists.”

So here we have two extremes: those who caught their big break and are now known in households across the country and those who will never be asked for their autograph in a Walmart parking lot.

And it sucks. It terrifies me to think that I could work so hard and have it amount to nothing. It scares me to think that I could end up behind a desk at just another boring 9-5 job.

It scares a lot of other people too. No one wants to completely fail when it comes to following their dreams, but it happens. And success happens too. Anything can happen when it comes to the media industry, or any industry for that matter.

However, wannabe doctors and lawyers aren’t told to give up their ambitions in lieu of possibly not being accepted into post-collegiate schooling. They’re told to work harder. Nothing is impossible.

Actors, on the other hand, are advised to find a more “reasonable” career. It’s “just not likely” that they will actually succeed.

These ridicules are part of the reason why I’m planning to double-major in college with specializations in acting and accounting. I’ve got my back up plan, but so many others like me don’t.

And they shouldn’t be made to feel like they have to, but that’s the way it is. Only a few actually get to see the physical manifestation of their dream.

After all, it’s a cutthroat business–one that so many are willing to bus tables for the rest of their lives to get into. I’m one of them.