We’ve all been there. You’re sitting at home on a relaxing vacation with your family when your aunt Marge says, “You would be great on that show, The Big Bang Theory! Why aren’t you on The Big Bang Theory?!” Oh, aunt Marge. She means well, she really does, but someone please pass the wine!
I love my family, and I know they mean well, but I can’t help feeling put down whenever someone asks, “So, how’s the whole acting thing going?” as if what I do professionally is so odd that it can only be described in the most vague terms.
The best strategy I’ve found for making sure I still feel good about myself as an actor when confronted with questions and comments from “civilians” is to remember that they simple don’t get it. It’s not their fault, bless their hearts! To them, an actor is someone they see on television, in movies, or on Broadway. Simple. Black and white. To those of us in the business, an actor may have never been on Broadway or The Silver Screen, but he’s in class working on his craft, he’s got a headshot and resume, he’s forming relationships with other industry professionals, and he’s auditioning. In short, he’s doing THE ACTUAL WORK that actors must do every day before they ever end up on a stage or screen near you. THAT’S the actual day-to-day “job” of an actor. Being onset and then watching yourself on TV is the easy part (well, watching yourself on TV isn’t that easy for some actors, but that’s a whole OTHER blog post!).
So remember, they just don’t get it. You’re one of the cool kids, an insider, a member of the super secret club (next time I see you we'll do the handshake!) Keep your answers vague and upbeat and then ask aunt Marge about her cat. Oh, and be grateful you’re not a doctor being asked, “Hey, can you look at this thing on my neck?”
What do you struggle with most when dealing with “civilians” and how do you handle it?
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