What Is the Hardest Part About Being an Actor?

What is the hardest part about being an actor/actress? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world..

Answer by Rebecca Metz, TV/Film/Theater/Voice/Improv Actor, on Quora:

For me, the hardest part of being a working actor is the uncertainty.

Very early on, it was uncertainty about whether I had any chance of making it, because I just had no idea what was involved.

As I got a bit further in my training, it was uncertainty about how to do things like find an agent, get auditions, or do well enough in those auditions to book jobs. (Most of the questions I get on Quora are in this category.)

Once I figured all that out, it was uncertainty about how I’d support myself when I wasn’t acting enough to support myself on acting alone, but was auditioning and working enough that it was hard to hold down a day job that paid the bills.

Now that I am able to support myself as an actor, I’ve gotten used to a lot of the uncertainty that previously would have been really hard to bear — what the next job will be, whether I got that job I auditioned for, whether the show I’ve been working on will use me again, whether I’ll earn enough to get health insurance and pay my bills, etc. I’ve developed the emotional muscles to take all that in stride (usually.)

Now the toughest kind of uncertainty is whether I’ll be able to leave town for a family event or vacation or even just make plans with my husband without having those plans changed by work. It’s hard for my friends and family, especially those not familiar with the entertainment industry, to understand that every time I make plans to do anything, there’s a caveat — * unless I get an audition or a job. I’m grateful to be busy enough as an actor that that’s an issue… but it can be really stressful (and expensive, when it involves buying or changing plane tickets last-minute.)

And finally, there’s the best kind of uncertainty — whether taking one job means losing out on another. It’s a great situation to be in, but gut-wrenching when you find out you can’t do a dream job because you’re already committed to something you would have passed on in a heartbeat if you’d known.

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