Above image: Igor Bulgarin / Shutterstock.com
Acting is like any other job or vocation. People who (should) do it should have a burning desire to do so or an unquestionable talent at it. People who just want to become famous are barking up the wrong tree.
Having said that, we also live in a world where every single movement and motion (pun intended) of someone who appears on TV or in film is documented, whether it be their choice or not.
Fame has become the new commodity.
Fame is the new rich. Fame is the new success.
Almost every newspaper, TV news or search engine we use has the latest gossipy comings and goings of a current “hot” actor, regardless of their level of work or how recent their last project was. Sure, I understand in many cases this is manipulated but the press, if I may defend it slightly for a moment, is only giving the public what they desire.
So what is the appeal of actors and movie stars?
Well, they do what some consider glamorous work… and are well paid for it; it seems they work little and party a lot, and they make the films that entertain us. Is this sometimes a case of actor/character confusion? Often, yes, I think this is the case but I also think it goes far deeper than that.
We can see the appeal of Hollywood A-Listers and film stars, but in truth this only marks a tiny percentage of working actors in the world.
The actor who wakes up at 5am, travels for two hours and performs a storytelling gig in a prison, is he sought after? The actor who spends four years claiming unemployment benefit before taking an acting job, touring the provincial schools of some foreign back water, struggling with language, traveling constantly and poorly paid, is she getting the attention and recognition her peers are?
Quite simply, no. Acting seems like a great life, full of unbelievable and incredible opportunities, but for most – as far as I can fathom – acting is a vocation, just like carpentry, medicine or civil engineering. Many who act are skilled in their field much like a trained orthodontist or ironmonger. Why should those who work in this specific area be put on a pedestal, and do they want to?
Of the actors I’ve met in my time, and it’s a few, the majority do want to be famous, but it seems this is a recent phenomenon. A single generation back, acting was not a popular or respected choice of work. It was seen as hard work with little or no reward, be it financial or critical acclaim, but since the advent of multi channel TV, streaming and on-demand television, the public (who are the responsible ones) clamoring for more, more and more, actors have become revered.
Actors for the most part, do a good job. Few do it well and many do mediocre; the same can be said for any profession, and that’s my point. Someone who stands in front of a camera reciting someone else’s words has no more greatness than the person who designed your street, who built your house, who performed heart surgery, who acquitted an innocent man, and so should not be held or made to feel as such.
Truth is, in many cases, it’s not wanted anyway.