Acting Teaching Drama

There is a Supportive Community in the Arts

I didn’t enter University for theatre or drama or arts or anything like that. I entered intending to get my BA in Math and Computer Science with the goal of becoming a computer programmer. But I wasn’t happy there. What I really wanted to do was act.

I was terrified to tell my family about my desire to switch majors. Computers was so stable. Theatre was so not stable. What would they say? I was in tears as I told my father about the change. He looked me in the eyes and said, “Son, if you wanted to be a garbage man I’d buy you your first pair of gloves.”

Families aren’t always so supportive for students choosing a career in the arts. I hear stories all the time about kids being forbidden to continue in the arts beyond high school. Stories like this break my heart.

But once you make the choice, once you’re in the arts, there is an incredibly supportive community of fellow artists. But the family critics never go away.

A very talented actress friend posted this on her Facebook page recently:

Heart is broken. At my age to be told, yet again, to “get real” and get a career with stability, still makes me sad. I know our lifestyle isn’t the most ideal, and we barely make any money, but I love what I do, and will continue to do it until I love it no longer.

Here is a very small sampling of the responses she got:

  • Serious? People need to get a life and mind their own business… Keep doing what you love, that’s what keeps you going! :)
  • YOUR life…it’s all ya got…..Keep on rockin’
  • I loathe when people say stuff like that but I find it mainly comes from people that are not happy in their own lives and never dared follow their own dreams. When everything is said and done….I know we will both probably look back at our lives and be proud that we fought courageously, lived passionately, risked, and worked at what we loved to do. I have my own struggles with sticking with acting but this career has chosen us, otherwise we would have stopped a long time ago. Keep fighting!!
  • I really believe that this kind of thing comes from a place of envy. Introduce me to more than five people with a “stable & practical job” who feel joy at 9am every morning and I’ll show you a leprechaun riding a unicorn in Narnia…
  • I think the point here is you chose to be what you are and get great joy from that decision. When confronted with that question ask one of your own. I chose to be an actor, when did you drift into being a 9 to 5 drudge? When did you chose to be an over indebted social climber? When did you chose to be a person who intends to live life only after they get pensioned off? If they get pensioned off?
  • I am so proud to have worked with you . You are a true pro. Nobody else can understand what a sacrifice . As always you have the unending support of your peers
  • …..stay true to yourself…its special to be a part of it…
  • I agree with the love and sentiments of everyone above. Plus I add my own: “Screw the dispenser of that wisdom.”
  • once we believe, deep down, that what we do IS real, then statements like these will lose the power to hurt us.
  • Good for you. Keep loving what you do because you do it so well. And screw those very sad people who just don’t get it!
  • We are all blessed by your talents in so many areas…you never cease to amaze me, don’t give up and don’t be anything other than the wonderfully creative and unique you that you are!! Share that with your critics, I know for a fact they are out-numbered with their opinion!! xoxo
  • Poo!!! Tell them where to go, your life is your life, you love what you do and that is worth more than any amount of money in the world, you have enough to have a good life and are probably far more happy than most people in your sensible “real” job…..speaking from the career with stability, i know which I’d choose if I had half a modicum of talent….sadly I haven’t!!!! Stick with what you love girl!!!!
  • I can’t imagine a world without artists like yourself who entertain and bring what they love to do to the rest of us. You are a big inspiration to me my sweet!
  • A career with stability is overrated and uninspiring. Your talent and creativity have inspired SO many people… that’s about as “real” as it gets. Keep on keepin’ on with your awesome self.

About the author

Craig Mason

1 Comment

  • Very powerful and encouraging. I have these moments all the time and my reaction is always the same. I am hurt and angry! And then I turn to writing, directing, acting, or playing creatively with my kids. Theatre, the arts, have never, ever turned me away or ignored me. Sadly many of my friends have. When someone would rather purchase a couple overpriced drinks over a community theatre ticket, we are in trouble.