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Things My Friend’s Parents Say When They Find Out I’m An Actor

Are you a Drama Actor or Comedy Actor?

It’s a common misconception that acting is broken down into comedy and drama, and that actors have “chosen” one side or the other. The truth is that acting is acting is acting. To say that I’m a “comedic” actor implies that I will intentionally play a character “funny,” which isn’t the case. An actor’s job is to live truthfully in a character. Think about your friends. Are they either a “funny person” or a “serious person?” Nope. They’re just people. Sometimes they might make a joke, sometimes they cry. Characters are the same way. Actors don’t approach it from an idea of “being funny” or not.

How do you memorize all those lines?

I always think this is the goofiest compliment (?) to get after a show. Like, if I ever play Hamlet, and the first thing someone says to me after was “Wow! That was a lot of lines!” I’m gonna feel pretty crappy. Memorizing your lines is the BARE MINIMUM thing you have to do. It’s like telling a painter “Hey! GREAT job getting the paint on the canvas!!” and not saying anything about the actual painting.

See you on the Big Screen soon?

Or “When will I see you on TV?” Well. Not everyone will be on TV. But that doesn’t mean that they’re not kicking ass and taking names off screen. The theatre industry is HUGE. Just because you haven’t seen someone on TV doesn’t mean that they’re not successful.

Oh… that’s a tough industry

How is someone supposed to respond to this one except for the ole’ “yep”. Acting is a tough industry, but the variety of jobs may surprise some people. Sure, there are movie and big stage bookings. However, many don’t consider the gigs that can keep actors paid, such as: extra work, voice overs, educational & instructional videos, etc. Many worthwhile and rewarding industries are tough, acting just seems to be an easy parental target.

Stage Acting or Movies?

Kinda like #1, these two things aren’t mutually exclusive. Actors can be constantly flowing between stage work and film. It’s not necessarily something you have to choose. Plenty of actors do both.

So can you make yourself cry right now?

Is this some secret acting test? I’ve cried in a performance like…once in my life. And that was also by far not my best performance. There are soooooo many ways that people express sadness, and crying is just one of those ways. I’m not a big crier in real life, but I’m still experiencing a full range of emotions. Crying is not a requirement in order to “prove” that you’re sad. I went to see Chris Colfer speak in New York, and a member of the audience asked him “how do you cry so well?” His response: “It’s actually like a glandular thing. Like, I squeeze my eyes a certain way and they just tear up.”…Lucky son of a gun.

In another life I would have done that.

This sentiment is so bittersweet. It makes me sad that they didn’t feel like they were able to fully explore and pursue something that they’re obviously passionate about. It also makes me so grateful that I have the opportunity.

So… what’s your ‘backup’ plan?

This classic phrase haunts 99.99999 percent of all actors trying to make it in the industry. We don’t have a backup plan because this is a legitimate business (that requires school and experience just like any other profession). Sure, we may be an actor who’s currently waitering, but we are not a waiter who’s currently acting.

Well cool! Keep following your dreams.

Corny, but by far the best response out there.

What crazy/funny things do your friends parents say to you? Leave a reply below…

Written by Lauren Tothero

Lauren is an LA-based actress who received her BFA in Theatre from NYU. She’s the founder of Daily Ingenuity, a blog that promotes balance and emotional well-being among emerging actresses. Visit Lauren's Blog

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