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Highs And Lows Of Acting

Friday, 11 May 2012

I have been receiving quite a few emails recently from GoT fans and just wanted to publicly say thankyou to everyone who took the time to write.

The emails gave me the idea to write the following article....

This is an extension from my previous article "The Real Life Of An Actor" and covers the changes I have seen and am dealing with as I grow more experienced in this industry.

Being an actor is not as easy as many people think, and it certainly isn't the glitz and glamour that is often portrayed. A lot of actors struggle financially, really struggle with the hope that one day they can "make it" and all that time they are dealing with constant rejection and uncertainty, even when you've made it the uncertainty and constant search for the next job take their toll.

When you score a win in your life goals it is an exhilarating feeling. Being such a hard game this profession seems to turn you into a manic depressive swinging from extreme highs to ultra lows.

A small example:

At the Armageddon convention the other week I was a guest star, people lining up to get a photo with me or to get my autograph, some people really excited to meet me. I did a talk and a Q&A session with a room full of sci/fi and fantasy fans. I was not just somebody, I was a star of the show.

10 minutes later I walk outside the arena and not so magically I was just a tall guy walking the streets. I was again nobody.

So that your entire life consists of incredible highs to self questioning lows.

From the simple and easy to deal with convention example, to auditioning for a great job that you think you really suit and then it goes to someone else, to making the final call backs and at the last minute someone else (often the person who turned the job down before it was offered to you) steps in and signs the deal, to getting onto a job then having your character die early, to getting into a show/movie and funding falling through at the last moment, or worse yet it runs for one season or filming starts then something (anything) happens and the job is put on hold.... forever, you get the dream starring role in the dream big budget movie and some idiot smashes his car into you a week before, breaks your leg and you cannot do the movie, or any combination of the above and/or many career disasters not mentioned - like a one in a million (Doctors actual words) viral infection that ruins your Pro-wrestling career right at the cusp of something big.

Up and down, up and down, up and down. It's a rollercoaster. Financially, emotionally and socially.

It gets wearing after a time. Some people are able to deal with it, some find it more difficult, many can't do it and drop out of the film industry. Add in that Actors are often emotional types anyway (I believe) and the rollercoaster ride can get "interesting".

We've all seen some well know actor crack under the pressure in the gossip magazines - they are strong people to get where they are, it takes a lot to cause them to get to that embarrasing point.

Even when you are doing well and working often, you have the same effect but in a different capacity.

After a while an airport is an airport, a hotel room is just another 4 walls and it's like being the new kid at school every time you get a job. You leave your friends and/or family behind for months at a time and are out of touch, sometimes really out of touch. 

I highly recommend the movie Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse to get an idea of the things that can go wrong during a movie shoot and the strain that can be placed upon everyone involved, especially the Producer(s) and Director as they are the leader(s) of the endeavour. You can read a summary here.

In no way am I saying "poor me" or anything of the sort, I love my career choice. If I did not like it I would change it, but I really do enjoy acting.

Realisitically I have always been a 'fan' and now I get to work doing what I did for free or direct expenses covered, because when you look at it we've just replaced the Dungeon Master with the Director. Now if only I can get a part in book accurate movie of one of Isaac Asimov's stories....

I saw Henry Rollins  the other week and he said it was the fans that kept him going. Henry is a touring machine, doing ridiculous numbers of days on the road, a different venue every night, a different crowd to try to woo at every turn, for years and years and years. He attributes his strength to keep going to the fans who book tickets night after night to hear him speak.

Now I am no where near the road warrior that Henry is, nor as heavily travelled but sometimes some emails come in at a good time and really help to lift spirits. When a small flood of supportive emails come in it can pick you right back up if you are feeling down.

All in all as an Actor it is good to know that your work is appreciated and because you guys write to us without ulterior motives and without gain and that really means something.

So thanks to everyone who has written to me, not just recently, but to everyone who took the time out of their lives to spread some positive vibes. At the end of the day that is all it takes to make the world a better place to live.


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