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Is being a stage performer worth it?

Hi, I'm an 11th (about to be 12th) grader trying to decide his career path. I've done stage performance since I was in pre-k and it has become something I need to express myself. I can't see myself without it in my life. However, my mom says I wouldn't be able to make a living off of it and need to look at other career paths. The only other career I can think of is an art or drama teacher and she still isn't satisfied. PLEASE HELP!!!

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Subject: Career question for you

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Tanecia M’s Answer

Great question! Remember, chasing after something just for the sake of money might not bring you happiness in the long haul. However, it's equally crucial to think about your financial stability when you're on a path that might not be lucrative. If you choose this direction, prepare yourself mentally to work hard to sustain your livelihood, but the bright side is, you'll be doing something that you truly adore. Many adults age without the luxury of pursuing their passion or finding fulfillment; the fact that you've already found something you're passionate about is remarkable! It's wiser to seize the opportunity now while you're young, rather than growing older with the burden of "what if" lingering in your mind. Keep going, you're on the right track! <3
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Luis’s Answer

Follow your dreams! if you really want it, go for it. I know at times it may seem difficult and it is, but you are not guaranteed to be successful on any field. It is always better to do what you like and be financially stable, than being rich and working on a place where you feel miserable. Give your best and you will be happy.
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Michelle’s Answer

Hello, Xander !

Yes, being an actor is well worth it, especially since you have a lot of experience at this point and can't imagine doing anything else - the teaching part is one option with it. It shows that you have the needed passion and drive. I would like to give you advice based on lived experience and not on predicting the future of your career or stereotyping that your other people such as your mother may be guessing about. But expect to hear a lot of opinions about an acting career like that. You'll learn to ignore it.

People who have no idea about what acting is are the ones who will be negative about it, so it's sort of the reason why you should just take it with a grain of salt. Do not give up your acting and continue it in 12th grade. There are many ways to continue after high school and one of the best ways will be a college degree. It sounds like you would benefit from a teaching credential so find out what grades you can teach with a Bachelors degree in your state and know that you can indeed always teach. All actors do some sort of work between projects even if it's not teaching. As an actor, I have always had my own apartment and was always able to pay my bills and eat.

I mention college and I do mean a degree in theatre or film. You will be trained well, have opportunities, and actually meet contacts that will be helpful with leads for work. Don't worry about people who think acting is something unattainable. It's unreal to them so they do not know what to think. I found it easier to deal with by talking about it with those people very little if at all. You wind up hanging around a large group of theatre or film people who totally understand you and encourage you, so the infrequent comments of negativity will not happen all that often. You are not alone with lack of support from family because I saw a lot of it with my classmates but they pushed forward and stayed with theatre.

So my advice is to take your acting career as far as you can, realize that if you're asked about what you'll do after high school it may be best to tell some people that you're undecided. It might be harder to jump right into performing right after high school, so that's why I suggest taking the academic route as you will learn a lot about it as a career. Do not give up and know that it's definitely worth it because it is something you've chosen. There are more opportunities for work with being able to form your own troupe, videos and remote work - yes, look at the casting notices, there's a good deal of independent acting work available.

I hope that this is helpful and I wish you all the best !
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Fred’s Answer

It is extremely hard to make a living as an actor. There is a lot of competition, it requires a lot of luck, a lot of talent, and is very risky.

If you get hurt, you are out of a job until you are better...and even then, your job may not be there when you get back.

It's a job where they CAN reject you just because they don't like your looks, your voice, your accent, etc.

Have you considered some other career, and then acting in various non-professional ways? Community theatre, colleges, semi-professional companies may all be an option to help keep you happy, but still allow you to have a more stable career.
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Mark’s Answer

Success is not solely reliant on luck. Even though you may be an exceptional performer, sometimes you might be evaluated based on your appearance for a role. However, remember that your true talents shine brightest behind the scenes, where your skills are highly valued and sought after. Keep pushing forward, your abilities are your greatest asset!
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Katherine’s Answer

The question is - what do you want? I understand wanting the support of your Mom, but realistically, if you have a passion for it, you should pursue it. Success in any field isn't guaranteed, it's all based on the work you put in to it. I say, go for it! The worst that could happen is that you shift career paths. Maybe minor in something practical you can fall back on, like Business or Accounting.
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James Constantine’s Answer

Dear Xander,

Is it worth becoming a stage performer?

Choosing a career is a significant and often challenging step in life, particularly when you're faced with differing viewpoints from those close to you. The decision to become a stage performer is undoubtedly fueled by passion and requires thoughtful consideration of numerous factors. Here are some crucial points to think about when deciding if a career on stage is the right path for you:

Love and Satisfaction: One of the key elements of opting for a career in stage performance is the love for the craft and the satisfaction it provides. If being on stage truly brings you joy and allows you to express your creativity, then the personal rewards of this career path can be priceless.

Obstacles and Instability: It's important to recognize that a career in stage performance comes with its unique set of hurdles and unpredictability. The entertainment field can be competitive and strenuous, demanding resilience, persistence, and commitment to thrive. Financial stability can also be a concern, as performers' earnings can greatly fluctuate.

Career Alternatives: While the ultimate aim may be to become a successful stage performer, there are numerous other career paths within the performing arts that you could consider. Beyond acting, opportunities exist in directing, producing, choreographing, writing, teaching drama or acting, working in arts administration, or even venturing into film and television.

Education and Skill Development: Seeking formal education and training in performing arts can boost your abilities, reputation, and employability in the industry. Consider joining well-regarded drama schools or universities with robust theater programs to refine your skills and connect with industry professionals.

Financial Factors: While pursuing your passion is vital, it's equally important to think about the financial consequences of a career in stage performance. Investigate average salaries for performers in different industry sectors, formulate a budget plan, and explore ways to increase your income through additional jobs or part-time work if necessary.

Support Network: Open discussions with your family about your dreams and worries can help bridge any understanding gaps. Seek advice from mentors, teachers, or career advisors who can offer valuable industry insights and support you in making well-informed decisions about your future.

In summary, the worthiness of becoming a stage performer ultimately depends on your personal values, goals, and readiness to tackle the challenges associated with a career in performing arts. It's crucial to balance your passion with practical considerations like financial stability and alternative career paths within the industry.

Top 3 Reliable Sources Used:

The Actors Fund: This organization offers resources and support for actors and performers navigating careers in the entertainment industry.
Backstage: Backstage is a trusted source for casting calls, audition tips, industry news, and advice for aspiring performers.
Playbill: Playbill provides insights into Broadway shows, theater news, interviews with industry professionals, and valuable resources for performers seeking career guidance.

May God Bless You!
James Constantine Frangos.

God B
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Tara’s Answer

Hi there Xander!
This is a really great question, and it is good to reflect on the things we like to do and how they can be something that we can do.
Being a stage performer solely is very difficult to fund your basic life needs. It is something you truly have to look at, in a way of, is sacrificing now financially really worth it in the long run of life.
There are ways you can keep what you love, and that is usually by using it as a dedicated hobby. Something you are building and improving upon outside of what your "profession" would be. And that profession can include things that would relate back to what you ultimately want to do with your life.
For instance, when I was in school one of my friends was an amazing performer. Dancing, singing, his lines, and he had that overall "look" to him. He tried for several years of sacrificing his financial health while chasing the dream of being a stage performer. Then he started teaching drama at the local high school. In the evenings he loaded up on classes and ways to improve his abilities. He eventually ended up working with a major cruise line, as a performer, and did that for several years. He was able to see the world, make some amazing friends, and able to save because he would stay with friends or family or rent a small place when they were back at the home port. He actually did this for years. Eventually he moved on from that position, and got involved with his local arts community acting and then directing community shows.
I have another friend who became a performer at one of the major entertainment venues, while hoping to "make it big". She very much sacrificed and when her contract was done had very little in savings. And essentially had to start over.
I am saying all of this to say, you can do what you love and have a financial future. You have to plan and research and decide exactly what you can and cannot do without. Right now you are young and have the world in front of you. It is easy to think there is enough time, but me being on the otherside of the hill can say with certainty invest in your financial future the best way that you can now. If that is being able to do what you love then great, but don't do what you love if it is not paying todays and tomorrows bills.
Best of luck to you!!!
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