I’m going to write my conclusion first. The odds of you “making it” as a “working actor” are all up to you. Most people quit.
I’ve been going through file boxes of old taxes working on last year’s taxes (yes, I filed an extension). In one of the boxes I came across a flyer from an acting showcase I did around 1999 with 19 other actors. I’ve been looking up each actor on IMDB and I’m not that surprised at what I found. Out of the twenty of us, only five of us remain. The most successful is a woman with 95 credits followed by another with 71. Both women look familiar enough to where I know I’ve seen them, but none of them are “stars”.
I recently went to a seminar that focussed on being mentally prepared for auditions. In one exercise we went around the room and said our big goal in regards to acting. Everyone wanted to be a star, or even “a brand” like “The Rock”….. Except for me. My goal of just being a working actor wasn’t good enough. My question is why? I believe “making it” is just not giving up. It is excruciatingly hard just to get an audition. A lot of times roles are cast based on a look and not even talent. Do they like you? Are you annoying? Does production want to be on set with you? Yes..yes… You should have talent and actually have training, but this is beyond that. Talent alone is not going to get you work.
Why do people give up on their acting dream? Maybe because they have put too much pressure on themselves that they HAVE to be a star and it HAS to happen with in 5 years? Do potential CEOs of companies give themselves the same time frame? I don’t think so. Sure you could start your own business and be an instant CEO, but it can take years of hard work to establish a business and make it successful. I also don’t believe anyone would walk into a huge corporation like Apple or Intel and say “I’m going to be CEO in 5 years”. It takes years and years of hard work and proving yourself, and maybe you will only get to Vice President at age 60.
In regards to acting a lot of excuses can be made, and I have made them too. “My agent isn’t getting me out”,…”I need a better agent.”…”I need new headshots”…..” Everyone in this town just hires family”…. Well let me tell you. THERE ARE NO EXCUSES ANYMORE. You can film stuff on your phone. A feature was filmed on an IPhone and won awards at festivals. Are you in an acting class every week? This business IS about working with people you know. Are you meeting people? Are you on Social media? There are tons of acting groups on Facebook. Are you going to people’s FREE improv and sketch shows? Support others and they will support you. Act , act, and act any chance you get. Work on your friends projects for free. Make stuff! Watch great films. Read great scripts. You can find EVERYTHING on line and it’s probably free. There are no excuses. If I’m not busy it’s because of myself. I got lazy. I stopped submitting myself to projects on LAcasting and Actors Access. Take your ego out of things. If you are not an established actor you are going to need to pay some dues, work for food or gas money, or just as a favor. If you do have some work under your belt and don’t want to work for free, don’t complain you are bored. Own your decisions. Find the right ladder to climb. No one is going to do it for you.