G. Mark’s Answer
There are likely a lot of people far more qualified to answer this than I am, since I long ago decided to pursue career activities in technology and business. I would have considered myself a very unlikely candidate to get anywhere near entertainment. That is until one day, some friends and I decided to do something really crazy and pursue training in a famous school for improvisational acting. At one class, a professional asked me to be his partner as a comedy team. I thought this was the lamest idea I could have ever had. I was not only petrified, but I was very good at rationalizing all the reasons it would be a disastrous idea. Later on in another class I was taking from a comedian who is now very famous, both he and I were doing this after our day jobs -- he as a professional comedian and I as a professional geek in an R&D company. We both came each week half asleep and exhausted -- he as a the teacher and me as a schlub from the suburbs. He decided several weeks into the class that he just had to cancel the class and refund everyone's money. Just as I was leaving the class -- intending to go sleep in my car before I headed out to the 'burbs again, he stopped me after everyone else had left. He said, "Not so fast. These other folks -- they're okay. They're here for fun. But the stuff you do is just wonderful. I want you to know that if you ever stop by any of my shows, I want you to just come up on stage and do some stuff. Anytime." As it turned out, I called him to come to a show I decided to do, and he said on the phone that he would, but he was in California now." I figured he was a nice guy and blowing me off, but it turned out that's exactly where he was, and today lots of people are familiar with his work, because he hooked up with Larry David, and actually told me about it on the phone. I was in Chicago, and I did a show and got an actual standing ovation from at least a dozen people in a crowd of about 200 or so. Now, for all the folks who are actual professionals and far better than I'll ever be, that's a tiny thing. But to this guy, it was huge. And while I didn't choose to pursue very much, this kind of thing is what I imagine would cause someone to put all their hopes into entertainment, even if it means they just barely get by let alone get rich or famous. It's quite addicting to get recognition from an audience of strangers. And truth be told, I've used that buzz even today giving otherwise boring technical lectures to unwittingly-enabling college students and colleagues around the world.