Living the life of an actor isn’t easy. Not only is it a physical test every day, but it is definitely a mental test as well. For those of you out there who are actors as well, you may be able to identify with the crossroad that I am currently standing in…
You see, here’s the deal … I love acting with all my heart. I have been in love with it ever since January of 2001 when I auditioned (and eventually got cast in) Big – The Musical at Reynolds Middle School in Hamilton, New Jersey. Since then, Broadway and Hollywood was my goal in life. Not necessarily for the fame (though that’d be nice), but because I knew that Broadway and Hollywood were the two places that would allow me to raise a family AND entertain millions of people across the globe.
Flash forward to 2014. I am 26, single, and struggling with where I am in my career. Sure, I have a full-time job that allows for me to perform (literally) every
friggin day, but this job does not pay NEARLY enough to allow me to comfortably date, get back on track with my independence, AND have fun with my friends and family.
You see, I want to be able to do all three of those things … comfortably. And unfortunately, being so focused on becoming a professional actor does not allow for such actions to take place.
Clarity, Courage, Confidence, and Competence
You need all four of those C’s in order to succeed in the acting business. I, unfortunately, only possess of three of them. I have the Courage that is needed to succeed, I definitely have the Confidence, and despite what some people may suggest when I’m not around, I’d like to think that I have the Competence needed (that was a joke btw … you know … haha and stuff). But I am definitely missing the Clarity aspect of things. In this entertainment business, you can’t go 3 for 4. You HAVE to have all four C’s … and I am definitely missing the clarity. You see, I hate not knowing what comes next. Once my George Street Playhouse gig is up on May 2 … then what? What’s after that? I am going to bust my ass and audition and audition and audition for another 9 month contract somewhere else? Sure. Sounds fun in the moment, but where will that get me in the future?
I can’t fall in love with the schedule I have right now. I can’t raise a family with the money I make right now. And I HATEEEEEE that. I hate it so much. I want a family. I want a daughter (my little princess) that I can be overprotective of … I want a son that I can play basketball with … I don’t want to be an old dad (I want to be able to hold my grandchildren BEFORE I get put into a nursing home!) … I want to continue the Westcott blood line … I want my mom and dad to hold my son and/or daughter in their hands … I want that so bad. I want that more than I want to act professionally.
I Don’t Want to Be a Desperate Actor
It’s at a point now that I feel as though the amount of work that I am doing everyday is starting to outweigh the potential rewards. Look, I just don’t want to be a desperate actor anymore, you know? Every day I listen to stories and I am constantly reminded of how difficult an actor’s life is. Every day I am reminded that only 1% of the Actor’s Equity are actually WORKING actors. Every day I am reminded that actors make NO MONEY (even the ones currently on Broadway). Those things, along with many other factors lead to a world filled with “desperate actors”.
These “desperate actors” skate by every month serving tables and auditioning every single day and going some days without eating because they can’t afford it (I’ve done it). I think about all of the actors I personally know that are trying their hardest to “make it” in the industry … they are desperate and starving and craving for that ONE chance … a chance 99% of them will NEVER get… and a majority of the time, it’s not even about their talent! It’s about looks. It’s crazy the amount of insanely-talented people I’ve seen struggle in this business.
I don’t want that life. I don’t want to live a life of being desperate, not knowing what’s coming next or whether I am going to eat tomorrow or not having health insurance, ect. I don’t want that. I want a wife (well, a girlfriend would help for starters lol), I want kids, I want security. And if that means that I have to change careers… then so be it I guess…
And THAT is the crossroad that I’m now standing at…
Do I continue with my professional acting ambitions, not knowing what comes next? Or do I start to focus on my other strengths in communication and marketing and find something a lot more stable?
Don’t Get Me Wrong – I’m Not Going to Stop Performing…
A life without performing is simply unacceptable for me. So if I do decide to change my focus (and as of right now, that is looking like a strong possibility), I will still perform – I just will not be pursuing a professional acting career as hardcore as I am now. Once my contract with GSP is complete, I will get a full-time communications/marketing job (my two strengths outside of acting … I’ve even considered getting in the field of psychology), and gather my footing. I will continue to create my own opportunities with my production company, I will still do shows at Kelsey, The Ritz, BTOP, New Candlelight, ect. I will still direct shows locally and put together cool, fun events like The Kelsey Awards … I will still do ALL of that … but I will do it A LOT more comfortably and more happily. I will no longer be a desperate actor.
My Eventual Return
The great thing about pursuing a professional acting career is that you can always come back. Shit, I may try all this out and say to myself, “Ew… what the **** was I thinking?” and then get back on the grind in 2015. Or I may find my way back into the game when I am older. When I have a wife and kids and more comfortable financially. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? All I can do is stay realistic with myself and find that clarity I have been looking for in 2013.
My Eyes Are Wide Open
In the end, I will go about addressing my life and potential career change with my eyes wide open. I will approach this with seriousness, rigor, and full commitment. It’s what my future wife deserves. It’s what my future children deserve. It’s what I deserve.