Is it even worth my time to dream about?

by Anne
(Southern California)

QUESTION:

I'm almost 19, I'm 5'11, I have a nice figure(I weigh 135 pounds) and I've been always told that I'm very beautiful. Not that I've ever believed it.

I've never given something like acting much thought, because I'm not naïve, I know it's a tough industry to break into....and I've also always been a shy girl who has never been sure of herself.

I've always looked at becoming a doctor. That was my dream because I wanted to be like my father. But as I think about it, I'm not so sure as to what I want to do.

I love films. I really really love films, almost as much as I love books. I look at it all like its a work of art, and I've always been more of a creative mind than an analytical one.

Something hit me the other day, and I thought... Hey maybe I can become an actress. Why the hell not, right?

So I've been looking through imdb.com reading all the bios of all my favorite stars... And my face fell as I noticed that most of those actors already had a front seat ticket into that career....because of being the offspring of former stars/directors/producers, or relatives at the least. Also, there's the type who had been exercising their talent for years, starting really young, and finally making their big break. I feel hopeless looking at that.

Is it too late for me to even think about trying out this career path? I don't even know where to start. I have no experience what so ever and I am an introvert on top of all of this!

Yet I feel like anything is possible if you set your mind to it. And I think there's a possibility that I could be really good. Also, I don't even know if it's worth it to mention that I live near LA and my older brother is really good friends with a few famous people (actors, musicians). I feel really silly and childish for just typing that line out, lol. I'm a serious person, but I don't believe myself to be charismatic or witty. But if given a script, I feel that that wouldn't matter, and I could make a character really come to life. Although like I've said, I haven't really tried. Is this all just one big pipe dream? Is there even a point in me considering this when it seems like the odds are against me?
If I could get guidance, tips, honest opinion; anything of that sort, it would be greatly appreciated.

The serious Shy girl.

ANSWER:

The best advice I can give is to try. You could probably already have enrolled in a summer acting class during the time you spent wondering if you should get into an acting career. The truth is you won't know if you have a calling for it if you don't get exposed to it. Find a good class for the summer and tell yourself your only goal is to see if you have a passion for acting during this time.

If you like acting but don't have a real passion for it, you're probably better doing something else. As you mention yourself, competition is fierce and many aspiring actors don't make it. You say you like books and have a creative mind. Maybe you're more suited to being a writer? Maybe being a doctor is your path. You know yourself best. Any type of career in the arts involves incertainty and the possibility of not working. Do you love acting so much that you can live with that?

Don't use the class to decide if you have what it takes to be an actress. Only focus on whether or not you have a passion for it. Everyone will have a different opinion about your talent and looks, so don't listen. BTW, looks are not very important. There are more roles for character actresses and best friend types than for leading lady types and plenty of very good looking actresses. Also, a lot of people who are shy are drawn to acting, so you won't be the first actress to have little self-confidence at first. As long as it's not unusually bad and chronic, experience with performing and auditioning will take care of that. The more you do it, the more confident you get (if you decide to go to acting school, pick one that offers a lot of performance opportunities in front of an invited audience). As for stars you read about on IMDB, it's true a lot got help from family or starting as kid actors, but there are plenty of exceptions. Brad Pitt, for example, studied journalism and advertising in college in Missouri before becoming an actor. His first credit is at age 24. Plus, you're already ahead of the game. You live in Los Angeles and you can ask your brother for help.

If you decide to become an actress, don't waste your networking opportunities, though. Get strong acting training first, as well as a good headshot and a professional resume. Go on open calls and small auditions until you feel ready to deliver. Make sure you are prepared for when you get your break.

Hope this helps. Good luck.

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