I am always being asked this question and also what I look for in an actor when I am casting for Spotlites?
There is a lot of nonsense talked about acting and reality TV shows have made this ten times worse. Acting is perceived as a glamorous job which anyone with a modicum of luck and natural ability can do immediately. What this disregards is the eons of hard work, education, training and total (and it has to be total) dedication which is required. It isn’t a job anyone can pick up and start to do straight away. At least not well. Working actors are committed, skilled individuals who have spent a long time learning and perfecting their craft. Of course there are plenty of excellent, skilled and trained amateur actors too. But that’s the point- such people have also learned their craft. They also know they don’t want to commit themselves financially to it.
Acting is a job which requires specialist knowledge and hard work just like any other. You wouldn’t expect to become a barrister or a frogman without further study and training (despite the Reed advert implying otherwise!) so why do so many people think they can become an actor? The dream factor figures large here; acting seems to be a job that offers the opposite of the daily grind! However the opposite is the case! Acting requires sacrifice.
Here is my answer: I look for actors who are offer to put themselves last. Actors who put the play and their colleagues first. And contrary to popular mythology, there are plenty about; yes, actors can have huge egos but the best actors don’t.
They are the ones I hire at Spotlites.