I’m sure a lot of us thought about the idea of what would happen if something doesn’t go the way we wanted it to. If that casting director that we were looking for our whole career won’t think that we fit best the part of the character for the next summer’s blockbuster movie. I beg your pardon in advance in case some of you haven’t had an opportunity to think of this yet — I have already, but that’s just because I sometimes have too much free time on my hands, that I should be using more productively than day dreaming all day. However, it’s not to say it discourages me or brings me to a state of great melancholy, because I always see my plan B in front of me, in everything I do; it just appears without me asking for it.
Secret Agent Man from Backstage quite recently posted another column titled “When Should You Give Up Acting?” While not giving any specific details on time for one calling in quits, he proposes there should be some indicators in the surrounding world of when an actor has reached the end of the line and should consider other ways to fulfill his or her creative needs. While I usually love everything SAM is composing behind his PC, I’m not sure I am with him on this one. To me, it seems that the case could not be more individual and personal, with times of quitting cold turkey depending on inner feelings rather than any indicators from the outside world.
Alan Ford wrote a small book titled “Thin Ice“, with a tagline: “A resting actor, a busy day.” It’s about an actor in his fifties in London, who — after a very long “career” — has nothing to his name except for an Armani coat and a small crappy apartment that he is renting: no money, no family, no estate or savings, just the grey hair and a career of an actor who gets to work once in a while. Yet, he is not even thinking about quitting – he keeps pushing, because that is the only thing for him, and he has been doing it since high school. When I’ve read it, I saw myself in it — I wouldn’t mind that kind of life, as long as I get to work a little. Maybe not in London though, definitely would prefer New York City instead.
The point is that if you feel that settling down, having a house and a family would make you happy, with acting career becoming a part-time thing or a hobby, then by all means that is what you should do. If, however, there is (will be) this aching feeling of something unaccomplished that haunts you every time you go see a play or watch a film, a TV show, then I don’t know how one can live with that. There are times when we are tired of those rejections pushing us off our horses over and over again, but eventually, after crying in a corner somewhere, we just get back up again. As I see it, one does not quit acting because one is fed up with trying and not succeeding – you quit it, because you either run out of creative steam inside of you or you find another place where to release it, and that is the only way for an artist’s soul to rest peacefully. Otherwise, we would have gone to a law school in the first place.
“Life is like an hourglass. Eventually, everything hits the bottom and all you have to do is wait it out until someone comes along and turns it around.”
Have you set yourself time limits for how long you are about to do this?