“Acting Is Not Hard Work”

Someone very famous for his own acting said just that recently, and it kind of made me cringe. Here is THE LINK to video. I think what Mr. Clooney was saying was very contextual and influenced by his position of success, and the company he was in at the time, but, taken alone, the sentiment is quite a shock.

Now, I fully agree, acting is not as hard as working in a coal mine. However, for most good actors/artists who are very serious about their work and dedicated to developing their craft, living the life of an actor and performing for the camera or for a live audience is very challenging work, indeed.

I think that most “serious actors,” who are struggling and striving to make the majority of their income from acting would admit, dag nabit, the road is tough and the work is hard! It takes¬†perseverance and a strong will to go on countless auditions per year to pay the bills and line up the next job. Facing rejections and not caving in and doubting your talent is a mighty endeavor. For most actors in the industry, there are a few jobs here and there, and unemployment checks in the interim. There are only a lucky handful of actors in my city (Seattle) that seem to enjoy a steady stream of work that pays well. “Actors’ Equity is the only union in the United States that boasts an unemployment rate of 90% at any given time.” – See the source, HERE.

So, I say, acting – not only the JOB of acting (audition prep, auditioning, call backs, preparing the role, performing the role), but the LIFE of constantly interviewing for the next gig is very hard work indeed.

2 thoughts on ““Acting Is Not Hard Work”

  1. I think what you’re getting at is that acting is not very logical work. It’s very difficult to understand what steps are necessary to take in order to become successful versus what creates failure. It’s also hard to figure out what it is that we make.

    We work in a luxury industry and the services that we offer the world are intangible. I don’t mean that in a pagoritive way, but it is impossible to quantify the outcomes of the work we put into the world. There’s a lot of rhetoric about the importance of art but there’s not a lot of provable evidence to back that rhetoric up. Sometimes acting feels like an exercise in fufilling the eccentricities of an individual as much as it feels like a necessary craft that helps a fundamental part of humanity.

    Obviously I’m deeply committed to the preservation and excellence of the craft of dialogue-based storytelling in theater or film but I understand Mr. Clooney’s sentiments. Acting is not hard it is not something you can touch with your hands it does not have material weight or easily quantifiable value. Instead acting is an art about the fabulous the emotional the spectroral.

    I hear the point of your essay though, it’s deeply frustrating to pursue the confusing but seductive material that acting creates. and I do believe that people who dedicate themselves to acting are brave and cool fucking people.

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