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Your Chances of Becoming a Star

May 11, 2012

According to Screen Actors Guild, the unemployment rate for SAG members is about 85%. However, the 15% employed includes minor roles and even extra work. Indeed, many “working actors” collect unemployment a good chunk of their year.  Pursuing a career in the arts and cinema is a tenuous prospect at best. Film is a tremendously competitive medium. It’s been said the chances of becoming a Hollywood superstar are about the same as winning the lottery or being struck by lightning on the 17th of November while birthing a baby calf. All right, I just made that last part up, but suffice it to say, it’s a tough profession.

So, after this inspiring news, should you throw in the towel and save yourself a lifetime of grief? Well, this is where the rubber meets the road, isn’t it? When you’re faced with the above-mentioned odds, you have to ask yourself, “Do you feel lucky, Punk?” No, no, that’s not what you have to ask yourself–sorry, film saturates my brain. You have to ask yourself if you really love to act. Because if you don’t love it, it will be near impossible to get through all the work, the rejection, the heartache, the headache, the nausea, the bleeding, the tears, and the constant uncertainty.

When Brad Pitt dropped out of school, moved to North Hollywood, was living in an apartment with eight other guys, sleeping in a sleeping bag, taking acting classes and auditioning, he didn’t know Thelma and Louise was just up the road a ways. Richard Armitage almost gave up his dream of being an actor because he couldn’t seem to get anywhere in Hollywood. “There was a time when I thought, and my agent thought, it wasn’t going to happen for me. We both sat down and I actually said I don’t know if I can stay in this state. The interesting roles have only come since I got into my 30s. But I didn’t know that was going to happen.” 

Let’s face it, this is your life, and time is precious. You want to spend your time doing what makes you happy; what gives you a sense of fulfillment; what revs your engine! If acting ain’t it, I say find your true passion. And if it is, I say forget the 85% and go for it. Someone’s got to beat the odds–why not you? So do what you need to do. Each person’s to-do list is different. Take classes, hit the gym every day, network, live your own interesting life to fuel your characters. The world needs good actors. Think of how drab life would be without movies that touch your heart and rock your world. You want to be a part of that? Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya. Punk?! All right, all right, I’ll stop. Hey, sincerely, break a leg.