Whether I’m acting, writing, or creating art, there’s some good advice in this article over at Stage 32.
Don’t let the title throw you. There’s some good advice here.
Gary Craig writes:
If you’re serious about your craft, you will take every opportunity to gain experience. I always told myself, when a door opens, walk through it no matter what. You never know what’s waiting for you on the other side. Don’t worry about how much you’re going to get paid. Do what you love, and the money will come. A lot of people just starting out already have it in their mind not to do student films, or other projects for no pay. I tell them, “If you were going to acting school, you would be paying THEM to learn.” My advice is to do everything, accept everything and get on every set you can. Learn how to conduct yourself on a professional project, and ACT like a professional. Listen to what the pros are telling you, and immediately respond.
Craig talks about how acting is his passion and how he got away from that for a while. Because, after all, we have to have a career, and have to support ourselves and our family. Right?
Of course right.
But it’s taken me until my mid-50s to get to a place where I can agree with Craig. I have a passion for things. For writing, for art, for acting. And, I intend to pursue them.
I can’t just drop everything and go off and do these things. I have responsibilities. But I can work towards these dreams, these passions.
And, while I’m grateful for the job I currently have, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with admitting it’s not the job I want.
I don’t see myself making my career as an actor. That’s something I love to do and when I get paid to do it, so much the better. My career, my calling, is as a writer. So, I may not follow Craig’s advice when he says to accept everything.
I may love acting enough to accept any opportunity, and to do so without being paid. But not with writing. You want me to write for you, you’ll have to pay.
And I’m not cheap. I’m in the business of doing what I love. But, I also have bills to pay. I won’t write for free. I won’t write for “exposure.”
I wish I’d realized all of this 30 years ago.
But no regrets. We move on. We move forward.
As soon as we get off the pot.