Why do you want to become an actor – for the attention?

why become an actor_attention_550
Photo Credit: Mike Hauser via cc
Shanice Kamminga is a dutch actress living and working in Los Angeles. Her blog Stars In The Eyes chronicles her life, adventures and thoughts and is a wonderful read for anyone who has a dream.
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Why Do We Want to Become Actors Part II: Attention Seeker

First published November 11 2012
Famewhore, attention seeker, naive/delusional, unstable, childish – If you want to go to LA to become an actor you are obviously either one or all of these things. According to those certain kinds of people you encounter in daily life anyway! And although there’s no need to justify yourself to them, I do ponder sometimes why it is we have this unwavering desire to play dress up and pretend to be somebody else.
Why we voluntarily choose a life full of uncertainty, finanical instability and rejection.
Why Halloween or the local Theater Group on the side isn’t enough.
Last week I delved into the bit more shallow and obvious concept of fame and what it meant to me and my dream of becoming an actress.
This week I’ll finally somewhat use my fancy Psychology degree and analyze the:
attention seeker
As you start getting work as an actor, you start getting to know other actors. Shocking, I know. But for me, before I started acting I didn’t know a single actor. Or artist. Or even someone who worked with artists. And I always thought that once I’d know fellow actors, I’d find “my crowd.”
We fear rejection, want attention, crave affection, and dream of perfection.
But actors, it turns out, are just like people. They’re not all kindred souls. They’re also not all effortlessly dedicated and passionate like I thought everyone would be. Some just rolled into it through friends or family, some just kind of like acting and got lucky. But fascinated as I always am by people, I tried to analyze the actor folk anyway. Tried to find the similarities between these widely different personalities.
Just the other day I had an audition, and an actor came walking in as I was sitting in the waiting room. He began to talk and something struck me. The actor had this vibe- this aire- about him that I’d seen before in actors. It’s a sort of quality that I find hard to describe. But they walk in the room and they somehow behave as if they’re the star of the show called life, and everyone else is supporting cast or an extra. It’s not an arrogance though, or a side-effect of fame, because I’ve seen it in non-working actors too. These actors are nice people, sometimes super nice, but they’re nice because they want people to think they are nice. They want you to think they are nice. It’s all about them.
The women who don’t seek attention are usually the women you need to be giving your attention to
Will Smith
And they’re present. Not because of a natural presence or some sort of intriguing je-ne-sais-quoi, but because they make themselves. Oh, the French I use today! And while talking about a sort of pompous people, how ironic.
Anyway, getting off track here (ne me deteste pas, mes cher Françaises, j’aime votre langue et paturain!)
Anyway, so these actors make themselves known wherever they are. They talk loud while looking in multiple directions, as if doing a monologue centre stage in a full theater. It’s not as dramatic it sounds, it’s actually quite subtle, but it’s there. And the goal of all this behavior seems to be getting attention.
I don’t know if it’s necessarily a bad quality though, wanting to be the center of attention, everyone has flaws and it certainly doesn’t make you a bad person. But boy, it can be annoying.
All comedians are a bit attention-seeking and I’m no different. Anyone with the audacity to want to be listened to for an hour and a half must be.
Jimmy Carr
And I wonder, am I an attention-seeker?
On one hand I yearn for attention sometimes, but on the other: as soon as I get it, I get shy and red and giggly and oh so incoherent. On the one hand I love to be in front of people, acting or singing. On the other hand I don’t really like to be among people. I’d rather sit at home with my thoughts to entertain me. Maybe looking at people from a balcony or window, or creating fictional people in my head.
I actually think the cause of the attention wanting is more interesting and telling than the trait itself. And I think this is what perhaps separates actors that behave like the ones I described above from other actors that express this need in a less overt way. Because some actors are notoriously shy.
And this actually brings me to the “unstable” part, but more on that later …
I would like to know though, before I start venting that theory, how do you see attention seeking connected to actors? And yourself?
This article is reprinted with the kind permission of Stars In The Eyes and Shanice Kamminga.
Why do you want to become an actor