I was talking to a co-worker recently about acting and after hearing some of his opinions on my biggest passion in life we got into a heated debate about why actors are some of the most genuine and courageous people. My flustered and apparently biased opinions sadly did not sway this poor muggle into realizing that actors are indeed amazing as opposed to 'attention seekers who are too lazy to find real jobs.' So I decided that I would turn to the internet and express my opinions here since my small minded jerk of a co-worker refused to completely hear me out.
First let me address the problems of living an actors life: the off-stage drama, continual rejection, the constant physical and mental stress, needing a muggle job to get by, the worry of impressing others, the fear of letting your director down (or letting anyone else down for that matter), the constant pressure to do better next time, the crushing fear that you will never succeed, and a myriad of other issues. And despite all of these frustrations, fears, and problems we still pursue our dreams. It's truly amazing what actors put themselves through just to feel fulfillment.
I am continually impressed and shocked by the actors in my life. They can face more rejection in one year alone than most people do in their entire life. And despite all of that rejection they continue to expand their talents so they can kick butt at their next audition. While pursuing this passion of mine I have discovered that actors truly are the most driven and courageous people on the face of this planet! Even when actors don't get the part they wanted they look at that rejection as a learning opportunity. Most people would give up after facing as much rejection as we do, but instead we take that rejection and turn it into fuel that drives us to work harder, get better, try new things, and overall become a more honest actor.
Every day actors all over the world are facing the reality of how difficult it is to pursue a life on the stage. Never sure where their next paycheck will come from, unsure of where they will be in a couple months, and even when they have a great job they deal with the constant stretching of themselves, emotionally and physically, that comes with putting their soul into a role, taking risks, and dealing with the criticism and judgment of others. Every day they have to ignore the possibility that they might simply be chasing a pipe dream and that they will never get that 'big break' they are searching for. And despite all of this they continue to dedicate their lives to this dream. But why?
Because actors are willing to give up the predictable milestones of a normal life (the car, the house, the family, the promotion) in search of a moment. The line, laugh, gesture, song, dance, or even a simple look shared between two actors that will stir something in an audience members soul. Actors dedicate their whole lives in search of these genuine moments on stage, and when you experience one of those moments all of the years of rejection and heartache simply melt away. You can taste life, feel the magic, and in that moment you are as close to perfection as you have ever felt, you may even feel closer to God than you ever have before. Those moments are worth a thousand lifetimes and that is why we are willing to dedicate our one life in pursuit of those moments.
Those moments are why I act.