© 2015 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.


The Real Poop

Hanging out by the pool all day. Working eight weeks a year for $10 million. Hotties around you hanging on every word. "Doing lunch." "Doing Taylor." Homes with underground basketball courts/ballrooms. Really nice abs. A vague sense of higher purpose as an "artist." That's the dream anyway.

You say you want to be an actor. You sure you don't want some therapy with that instead? And then maybe get a real job? Even deeply insecure fame-seekers from the most remote parts of Kansas know that "making it" in Hollywood is an extreme long shot and they are willing to drop everything on the hopes of winning a highly elusive lottery ticket. That's the world you're committing to doing if you "act" this routeif you’re willing to dump everything for a chance at a lottery ticket, what does that say about your own sense of self-worth and esteem? Well…think about it, anyway. 

But let's take the benefit of the doubt as our friend hereand in this light, there are a few different reasons that you may want to pursue this particular career path:

1. You have an incorrigible, unstoppable ego. You live for attention. Your favorite person is yourself. Heck, you’d date yourself if it was possible (and medical science is getting us awfully close). You want a career where you live to see yourself on a 100-foot screen. Basically, you want to be an actor because of how wonderful it feels to get applause and accolades. You had that taste of someone showering you with compliments after your junior year production of Our Town and you never want that feeling to end. 

We've got bad news for you. For the vast majority (and when we say vast we mean about 99.9%) of actors, life won't work this way. You’re going to meet rejection upon rejection, and for a long time you'll either be getting only middling parts in small productions or nothing parts in bigger ones. If that ego of yours is labeled "FRAGILE," you’re going to be crushed. Consider reconsidering.

2. You want fame and fortune (and have really no other skills with which to get you there). You picked up the latest issue of People magazine and think it looks like Hugh Jackman and Angelina Jolie have pretty good lives. If you're after this kind of success, you're going to wish you had a 0.01% of getting it. (The real numbers are probably more like 0.000000001%how about buying 100 lottery tickets instead?) Angelina just hardly ever happens. (And oh, by the way, do you look anything remotely close to as smokin' hot as she does?) You may have all the raw talent in the world, but sadly that's only about a third of the battle. You have to have the right look. And you have to run into a tonne (metric) of luck. If the dollar is your driving force, you're probably not going to be able to hang in there: Even for the great successes, the early years are usually grim. There are 100 real stars today who "matter" economically to studios. If you have nothing else you CAN do, then go for it. That gig driving the city bus will always be there for you. But "real" careers have a ticking clockfor many of them, after age 25 or so, it's just too late to really do them at a high level.