"Acting Is Not a Real Job"

Hannah Ost

If I had a penny for every time I’d heard that phrase, I’d never need to bother finding a “proper career”…

If you’ll permit me, I’d like to have a little rant about something. Acting is one of my main passions and has been for quite some time but, as a student, I have often been asked to consider a “more sustainable career path”.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have a deep admiration for the work of our scientists and engineers and lawyers and absolutely, society could not manage without them. But, where do the scientists and engineers and lawyers and politicians and teachers go when they want to relax? What do they do? Oh… they go to a restaurant, or to their friend’s house to watch a movie, or to a play in the West End/Broadway. And, who stars in that movie? Actors. And who writes that play? Writers. Who makes that time away from work just that little bit more special? We do. That’s our job.

Oh yes, that’s right, we do have a purpose! When people tell me acting is not a proper job because it’s not sustainable, it annoys me. Acting can be sustainable, it just requires patience, dedication and determination for success. But, just because it might take time to find a professional job and employment is not always guaranteed, is it any less of a career? In the UK, more and more attention is being paid to the “practical” career paths. Grants are being given to students who take science or maths degrees at university and every week, it seems, we are having a lecture on the “benefits of having a strong career”. Well, what’s a stronger career than one you know you will always have passion for?

It’s disappointing to think that drama is a dying art and I, for one, refuse to believe it. There will always be eccentric thespians ready to perform for the entertainment of others. If we all disappeared for a week, the world would lose their minds! Nothing on TV? No, that’s because you banished all the creatives to ‘Room 101’.

The world needs us. Sometimes, I catch myself doubting my life choices – having an existential crisis, if you will. But then, I remember that I enjoy the thought of unemployment. It gives me time to change, to grow, to develop. Even when I have no show, no job to go to, I get to plan my next audition. I get to learn new monologues, new songs, brush up on my jazz squares and develop my abilities as a blossoming creative in a world full of realists.

The world needs us. But, I need it too. Gimme a break and for one second will you shut up about getting a “real job”?!

Photo: Allison Hearn, sophomore business administration major, argues with Savannah Treleven, freshman theater major, in the theater production of "The Importance of Being Earnest." - Anne Richoux (Union University)