How to take pride in following your dreams and becoming an actor

How to take pride in following your dreams and becoming an actor_550
Photo Credit: Lapatia via cc
Josh McHugh is an actor living and working in Los Angeles.

He writes a blog about “The trials, musings and shenanigans of a working actor…” – Josh McHugh, He Acts

His writing is thoughtful, insightful and we are delighted to be sharing it here on Actor Hub.

Apologies not accepted

When at parties, on the bus or chatting at a coffee shop, invariably it comes up:
“What do you do for a living?”
A perfectly harmless question designed to elicit the furthering of an enjoyable conversation. If only that person knew how loaded an inquiry that is.
You must never doubt your ability to achieve anything, become anything, overcome anything and inspire everything.
Tasha Hoggatt
For the longest time I all but shuddered when someone asked it. I would go somewhat quiet, hem and haw a little bit, dig my toe through the imaginary sand at my feet and then, in an almost apologetic tone mutter something about being a “whatever” who also happens to be pursuing an acting career.
I was afraid to admit to otherwise complete strangers my dreams and aspirations, as though their judgement would be immediate and absolute.
Why should I be embarrassed by such a thing?

What makes us embarassed to admit to being just an actor?

I suppose I can look at my upbringing. I am your typical lapsed Irish Catholic from a working class neighborhood. This was a place where pursuing your dreams was all well and good, but at the end of a day you had a gang of mouths to feed. Dreams were “a nice thing to have”, but to actually pursue them with anything other than passing interest was somewhat taboo.
Make sure that you always follow your heart and your gut, and let yourself be who you want to be, and who you know you are. And don’t let anyone steal your joy.
Jonathan Groff
The idealism of youth bore me through that time. I got my art degree and I earned a living for years as an artist for computer games and any other industry that could use my skills. Even though it was an “artistic” endeavor, it still had an observably linear progression that one could assign a dollar amount to.
Acting doesn’t really have such a linear path to success. So, to many, it can seem far more frivolous. A pipe-dream. Coming to terms with that in my own mind, being a responsible husband and father, was a daunting task. I questioned myself constantly:
“Is this a selfish pursuit? One where I am dooming my family to a life of uncertainty?”
A life of uncertainty? After losing two jobs and both my parents over the span of six years, I learned the hard way that there is no such thing as certainty.

You can just be an actor. You don’t need to be anything else.

You could drop dead tomorrow. the only thing you have any control over is what you choose to do with the time you have.
Never apologize for following your dreams.
Politeness has nothing to do with it.
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