Is Acting a Bad or Good Career Choice? Pros & Cons Explained

Dreaming of a standing ovation or a star on the Walk of Fame? Acting tempts with its glitz, but hides thorns beneath its roses. Let’s face the spotlight together – the path to stardom is as intricate as a Shakespearean soliloquy.

In this blog post, you’ll navigate the twists and turns of choosing acting as a career, forearmed with insights to make your decision as informed as a director’s cut.

Is Acting Really as Glamorous as It Seems?

If there’s one thing almost everybody thinks they know about the acting world, it’s that it’s a realm filled with glitz, glamour, and spotlights. Who wouldn’t want to walk the red carpet or have their face splashed across the big screen? But here’s the real deal: the acting profession is a lot more sweat than sparkle.

Sure, you might catch a glimpse of a celeb living it up on social media, but behind those snapshots is a grind that many don’t see. The truth is, for every actor basking in the limelight, there are countless others pouring their hearts into auditions, facing rejection after rejection, and rarely, if ever, experiencing that mythical ‘overnight success.’

The reality is that acting is hard work. It demands continuous self-improvement, an understanding of the craft, and hustling for every opportunity. And though success stories are thrilling, they’re not the norm. The bulk of an actor’s life can involve long hours, varying levels of job security, oscillating between high-profile gigs and low-key roles, and often sacrifices in personal life. Far from being a smooth sail, it’s a constant battle of resilience and dedication.

Can You Make a Living as an Actor?

Dreaming of making your passion your paycheck? It sure sounds like the ultimate life goal, right? But let’s talk turkey here. Turning acting into a reliable income stream is quite the tightrope walk.

In this business, ‘feast or famine’ isn’t just an idiom—it’s the reality. The financial aspect of an acting career is anything but certain. There can be times when the gigs are lined up at your door, and then there might be droughts where you’re scraping to get by.

For many, side gigs are a necessity—not a choice. Waiting tables, teaching, or freelancing in other fields often keeps actors financially afloat. And the numbers toss a sobering splash of water on the face, too. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage for actors was $21.88 in May 2021. But remember, this doesn’t account for the dry spells between jobs.

Indeed, some actors do earn a handsome living, but they are the exception, not the rule. For most, economic stability in acting is as elusive as landing that breakout role.

How Competitive Is the Acting Industry?

Let’s cut to the chase—acting is competitive with a capital ‘C.’ It’s not just about having talent; it’s also who you know, what you know, and having the tenacity to go after role after role.

The audition process can be brutal. You’re walking into a room full of people just as eager and hopeful as you are. You’ve got minutes, sometimes seconds, to make an impression before it’s the next person’s turn. And the roles? They’re not growing on trees. You’re up against hundreds, maybe even thousands, of actors vying for that same part.

It’s not enough to simply hone your craft; networking is a critical piece of the puzzle. Building relationships with directors, producers, other actors, and industry professionals can open doors that sheer talent alone might not. And while there’s no magic formula for success, consistently showing up, being professional, and bringing your A-game to every audition can set you apart in a sea of hopefuls.

Remember, every actor’s journey is unique. Some may find stardom early on, while for others, it may be a longer road, paved with diverse experiences that enrich their skills.

Acting is not just a job; it’s a lifestyle choice, one that demands passion, perseverance, and adaptability. Whether it’s a bad or good career choice is subjective and deeply personal. These insights aim to provide a realistic lens through which to view the acting world, and help you navigate this dynamic, challenging, but potentially rewarding field.

What Are the Personality Traits of Successful Actors?

When we peel back the curtain on the world of acting, certain personality traits seem to take center stage. Resilience is the bedrock of any seasoned actor’s career; the ability to dust oneself off after a performance that doesn’t go to plan or to bounce back after a string of rejections is crucial. To make an omelet, you’ve got to break a few eggs, and in acting, resilience means breaking countless ‘eggs’ before serving up a masterpiece.

Another star quality is adaptability. Like a chameleon changes colors, a successful actor must seamlessly slip into different roles, environments, and emotional states. This fluidity also extends to coping with the unpredictable nature of the industry — one day, you’re rehearsing lines in a dingy backstage area, the next, you’re under the bright lights of a major set.

The ability to handle criticism with grace is another ticket to longevity in this biz. Constructive criticism can be the compass that guides an actor to improve and evolve their craft. It’s about taking those words, filtering them through a sieve of self-belief, and refining one’s art without losing heart.

Let’s not forget about emotional intelligence. Reading a room, empathizing with characters and fellow actors, and conveying the subtlest of feelings through a mere glance or gesture — these are the tools of the trade for those who make it big.

Lastly, an often overlooked but essential trait is a good old creative streak. The ability to think outside the proverbial box helps in interpreting scripts and finding unique ways to breathe life into characters.

How Can You Get Started in an Acting Career?

Starting an acting career often seems like finding your way through an elaborate maze. But fear not; here’s your map:

  • Training: Begin with acting classes. Whether it’s a local workshop, community theater, or a drama degree, solid training can give you a foundation that’s as important as a stage itself. Consider institutions like the American Academy of Dramatic Arts or online platforms such as MasterClass for quality education.
  • Networking: Acting is a who-you-know kinda world. Attend industry events, join acting communities, and don’t shy away from social media. Platforms like Backstage can help in making those vital connections.
  • Create a Portfolio: Your headshot is your business card; make sure it’s professional and true to your current look. Pair this with an engaging resume and a reel of your best work — keep it concise and impactful.
  • Practice Your Craft: Hone your skills continually. This can mean everything from practicing monologues to understanding how to work a camera. A great tip is to join an improve group, which can enhance your spontaneity and diversify your skills.
  • Audition, Audition, Audition: Bar none, auditions are where the rubber meets the road. Look for casting calls on sites like Actors Access and never underestimate the power of student films for gaining experience.
  • Find an Agent: While going solo can work for a while, having an agent can open doors that might otherwise stay closed. Do your research, and target agents that align with your career trajectory.
  • Stay Informed: Keep an eye on industry news and trends. Read publications like “Variety” and “The Hollywood Reporter”, and stay updated via casting websites.

Here’s the unique twist: create your own opportunities. In an era of YouTube and TikTok, self-produced content can get you noticed in ways traditional paths might not. A well-crafted web series or a compelling short film can showcase your abilities and attract an audience — including those elusive casting directors.

Remember, there’s no magic formula for breaking into acting, but a blend of perseverance, training, and strategic self-promotion can draw back the curtains on a career that’s rewarding both personally and professionally. And while the path may be as unpredictable as a plot twist in a thriller, every step can be a scene worth playing.

Keep a keen eye, warm up those vocal cords, and step into character. The next act could be your big break.

  • Pursuing an acting career requires resilience to navigate frequent rejections and adaptability to thrive in various roles and unpredictable situations.
  • Financial stability in acting is not guaranteed; many actors rely on side jobs, and success stories are exceptional, not the standard.
  • Networking and continuous skill improvement are crucial—join communities, attend workshops, and audition relentlessly to increase your chances of success.
  • Alex Mitch

    Hi, I'm the founder of! Having been in finance and tech for 10+ years, I was surprised at how hard it can be to find answers to common questions in finance, tech and business in general. Because of this, I decided to create this website to help others!