Anthony V. Crivello
Anthony V.’s Answer
Acting is a career. A difficult career. Filled with highs and lows. The select few have a long career. To rely completely on acting as your source income is foolish these days.
The industry is skewed very young so the time-frame for work is short. To just ask: 'Is acting a career' is too narrow a question.
Do you mean 'Television acting? Acting for the stage? Or Film acting?
In the US, a cross-over career (stage, tv, film) is difficult to achieve. But not impossible.
Further, the industry is changing. New media is providing outlets... but there is more non-union, low-paying jobs that ever before.
To achieve as an actor, you have to have multiple skills, speak multiple languages, have as many additional skills as you can... and have great computer skills as well.
You have to be a self starter!!!! You have to create your own projects. That means producing them as well--- be it for the camera or the stage. And writing, directing...
I know many Chicago actors who act on the stage... but have to hold down secondary jobs to survive- i.e.: pay the rent, and buy their meals. But they do it because they love the craft, the art. PS: You better love it, because it can beat you down.
Then there is acting in which city? New York? Los Angeles? Chicago? Dallas? London? --- There is hiring as 'a local' now more then ever in film and television, in many cities across the US. So you must carefully plan and choose where and how you want go after it, depending on what kind of career you seek.
And best to aim high, in the city of your choosing when planning for your education. For instance, If you choose NYC, seek NYU, Julliard, Columbia... Or Boston, Harvard is always the goal. Chicago: Northwestern, Columbia, Univ. Of Chicago... Los Angeles: UCLA, USC, etc.
The school you choose is important these days, not only for your education, but for the Network you can build. A large part of it is who you know, and who knows you!
First and foremost: Education comes first. Get the degree!
You have to be driven, driven to achieve. You have to consume and study the industry. It's like any business--- you must have your fingers on the 'pulse' of where is is headed. And seek colleagues who think like you do, are driven as you.
Hit the books today. Read as much as you can... study the news, study acting styles... get the trade papers... watch and study 'the greats.' Imitate them. Accents are helpful too- just ask Meryl Streep.. or the countless English and Australian actors who do an American accent.
Versatility is a key.
PS: Many actors do it as a hobby, a side job. There is no disgrace in that. Commercials, modeling or otherwise. It's all a different skill set. Which path do you choose??
Acting is definitely a career, but it is one that is very difficult to make a living at. If you love it very, very much you can make a career of it with a lot of hard work. But it will take lots of work, long hours, and true dedication to make a go of it.