Thursday, October 4, 2018

Do you have what it takes to be a working actor in the entertainment industry?

Do you have what it takes to be a working actor in the entertainment industry?

The truth is you probably do- but things like fear, financial obligations and getting a “real" job prevent so many from pursuing dreams of becoming a model, an actor or a singer. I meet aspiring talent all the time that have potential, but will never reach their goal or follow what is beating in their heart. Sadly, they listen to the advice of friends, acquaintances and even family members who discourage them from pursuing a career in the entertainment industry.

Everyone loves a great movie, an exciting or funny TV show, an expressive concert or watching a great play on stage. Occasionally, like when it comes to the Super Bowl, for example, we love the commercials so much that we talk about the actors and the subjects long after the game is over. That's the magic of entertainment.  Even with all these examples of areas where an actor, model or singer can succeed we are made to believe that a career as a performing artist is not a good, “safe” choice. Aspiring artists are often questioned, "What about your financial obligations?" True artists are creative and cannot be put into a box. As a result, many of them are stuck in regular 9 to 5 jobs, with very few prospects of pulling out and becoming successful performers.  Is this you?

I consider it a blessing to help aspiring young talent discover their true purpose and passion. A very common story that I can relate to starts like this... A parent contacts us and says “My child wants to to be on a Disney show."  During the conversation I hear about how outgoing their child is and how they love the camera (and social media). It is also not unusual to hear that the youth finds it difficult to pay attention in school. Then they start to train, work very hard, get an agent and may even do some real work in entertainment. Everything is fine, right up until they reach their high school years. Some time around their junior year, almost like clockwork, Mom, Dad, or maybe both parents come to the youth and have what I call, “The Talk.” It goes something like this... "You have been doing some great things with your talent up to now, but it is time to start thinking about college and focus on what you want to be when you grow up." Ironically, what was once the trend for professions included being either a lawyer, doctor or an astronaut. It's funny, but in recent years the astronaut option is off the list. Why is that? Do we lack the whimsical aspirations of the past? It does seem we are almost too practical today.  And here's the thing- a diploma no longer guarantees work like it did years ago.

Once the young person has been through, "The Talk," then that is when I get the call. The talent will say “Greg, I really want to pursue my acting career, but my parents think it is just a hobby.” Even though it may have started out that way, young talent often discovers a real love of the camera and a passion for their art. They see themselves actually "making it" as a professional in the entertainment industry. My answer is always the same;  "What if you could study for a career your parents support and still pursue your entertainment goals?” Almost without exception their eyes light up and they answer, “YES!!”  Often, their answer comes before I even finish saying it. What field do you think that I mean when I talk to them about a career and following their hearts? A College Degree in Communications can do just that. In today’s world a Communications Degree can qualify a graduate for work in media arts, broadcast journalism, marketing and even social media. Their accredited classes include all the skills that an actor or performing artist needs in order to be a real success; skills that are valuable to any business professional in almost any field you can name. Parents and educators alike agree that a Degree in Communications can open doors to many different career fields even if you do not eventually become a “Hollywood” star.

I hear from talent that followed my advice and go on to have great success quite often. Some are now full-time professional actors living in New York, Los Angeles or Atlanta. Others travel the world as professional models. Recently, one of my students graduated with a 4-year Degree in Communications and was recently chosen as the morning anchor-person at WXXV 25. Even though she has to get up at 2:30am every morning to do her job, she loves it and couldn't be happier.

So, parents - we all want our kids to grow up with great paying jobs and a serious work ethic. While you may have a perception of entertainment as being contradictory to those goals, maybe think twice before having “The Talk.” If there is one thing I have seen so many times over the years from hundreds of very talented people, it is that even if your child earns the degree you wanted for them, they quite often contact us afterwards to fulfill the entertainment dreams that they had when they were a teenager, just the same. 

Norman Vincent Peale stated "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars." Dream on. Dream BIG. 

Do you have what it takes to be a working actor in the entertainment industry?

Do you have what it takes to be a working actor in the entertainment industry? The truth is you probably do- but things like fear...