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Fantasy life - do I need to grow up

(27 Posts)
Torple Fri 05-Apr-19 00:33:44

I’ve got life pretty much together at the mo. I’m a teacher and as of September will be promoted to head of year, which I’m looking forward to. Also, we bought a new house recently and it seems that we are starting to work out marriage issues that were dragging us down.

BUT, I keep feeling it’s not enough. And weirdly, I have created this fantasy life where I am a theatre actor, of all things. In my head, the only thing that is stopping me being really good at it is the fact that I have to dedicate far too much energy to my actual real life.
In reality, it’s because that isn’t my life, it’s a dream. I’m also mid 40s with two kids.

I was a filmmaker for a while after college (corporate training stuff, nothing remotely special) but went into teaching because I wanted stability etc.
And I love it but feel like I have missed my true calling. Literally every film, TV show, play I see, I want to be in.

I think, deep down, it’s a fear of the unknown, new job etc, it’s a psychological thing telling me I am being someone else, but part of me thinks it’s a warning sign to look at pursuing a new career before the added pressure of management makes pursuing out of work interests almost impossible.

Does anyone else have these sorts of dreams/fantasy plans? If so, do you ever act on them or just interpret them to make actual feasible changes in your real life?

user1473878824 Fri 05-Apr-19 00:38:41

This is probably not a helpful reply but as soon as I read this I thought: am dram! See if you enjoy it. See if it’s something you love. Being blunt, being a professional actor is hard slog, luck, and not a lot of money. But could you do that as a bit of an outlet and see it as for now?

If it helps, in my head I’m a very successful TV chef/presenter. I had a couple of screen tests in my early twenties so I’m still pretending those worked out.

But, OP, congratulations on what is happening xx

Torple Fri 05-Apr-19 00:46:04

Ha ha, funnily enough, I went to see Avenue Q a few months ago, and there’s a song about everything being “only for now”, which really struck a chord with me.
I have a relative who is a pro actor (I haven’t spoken to him because he is properly RADA trained and I don’t want him thinking I’m ridiculous) and he goes from big paying jobs (he’s done several national and international tours) to nothing for months, but he’s also a trained carpenter so he gets work when he needs it.
In my head, I do supply when I’m not acting, see...

seesawteddy Fri 05-Apr-19 00:46:29

I had those dreams but i didn’t act on them, and I’m glad I didn’t. I’ve got friends who quit their career to do something unrealistic and they both got into loads of debt and messed up their life for years and ended going back to their old career feeling sheepish, out of need for money.

Teaching is great for buildingin interests- can’t you get involved with schoolproductions or start a film-making club or something? Do it with the 6th formers and enter competitions,it’s befun and you’ll inspire the next generation.

Torple Fri 05-Apr-19 00:55:09

I have thought about maybe channelling it into my work. I’m Primary though, going to be yr 3/4 lead, but there may be something I could do. I have already suggested the school gets hold of a video camera so there’s potential....

I’m not planning to Jack it in, seesaw, just wondering if it’s ever possible to combine the two, is all.

Planetian Fri 05-Apr-19 00:55:27

Could you get involved in your local theatre and do some amateur work as a hobby? Then when you get a taste you’ll see if it’s something you’d REALLY love to be doing as a career?

I have a fantasy life too OP, I got so fed up of dreaming about it I’m actually starting to chase it now. In my case I didn’t have to give up a career though, I had already given up the day job to be a SAHM but now they are in nursery two days per week so I can “follow my dreams”... I’m the impulsive/you only live once type though and was born with my head in the clouds so perhaps not the best person to be giving life advice - my husband is a very patient man grin

sandi2019 Fri 05-Apr-19 00:55:35

I think you should go for it. Really.

I'd rather go for it and it not work out than not go for it and never know.

You could return to teaching/management at any time....with your'll be snapped up if you needed the work.

You'll get supply work if you need to, like you say.

Imagine you're approaching 90.....what do you think you'd say to yourself?
"Do whatever makes you happy......take the chance......if you dont try'll regret it.....just do the dream"?

#YOLO and all that!!


Torple Fri 05-Apr-19 01:04:05

Ooh, what is it Planetian?? My husband is very patient most of the time too, he does have to rein me in occasionally when I have ideas that are way out there (I once suggested after a bad day at work that we literally quit our life, went to Gatwick and jumped on the next plane to anywhere and start again. He managed to talk me out of that one).
But on this topic he says that as long as I don’t do anything reckless see above), he’ll support me.

It’s just about what constitutes reckless I guess......

Torple Fri 05-Apr-19 01:06:02

sandi if you and I were friends IRL, we would be deadly. You sound exactly what I sound like when encouraging others to make life changing decisions ha ha!

gwenneh Fri 05-Apr-19 01:07:18

Depends. Do you like constantly looking for work (every 6-8 weeks), since shows are rarely permanently cast, even at the highest levels? Do you have the patience to work your way up enough to earn an equity spot, which you need to be cast? Are you totally and completely willing to commit to spending your free time honing your body, your voice, and your appearance? Do you have cast iron self esteem, necessary to stand up again and again, be evaluated and rejected constantly?

If so, then acting is for you.

It’s possible to combine amateur theatre and a job, but committing to that is difficult and you limit the productions you can be in based on the rehearsals you can make. I do it myself and I have friends who are members of equity and who work at the highest levels (and enviable pay grades) of the craft, and it’s a hard slog.

starabara Fri 05-Apr-19 01:09:36

Not helpful but I spent last week in Heathrow area, working. And all I wanted was to board a plane going literally anyway. Uzbekistan, Uruguay, Umbria? Any would do.

I’m happily married, I have DC, I like my life. But I still fantasise running away with the circus/my boss/ alone.

I’d like to hope it’s normal.

flapjackfairy Fri 05-Apr-19 01:16:52

I think part of this is a midlife crisis. Around your age I suddenly panicked and felt like I was running out of time to do the stuff that was really important to me.
For me it was adopting a child with special needs. I wanted it so badly that it hurt and I could think of little else. My husband was not convinced but here I am having another sleepless night as my 5 nearly five year old is unwell.
You see I got my dream in the end and have no regrets ( though it is no fantasy fairy tale at times )
Your subconscious is telling you something. You would be wise to listen.
I am not suggesting that you throw it all up to act but as others are saying put your toe in the water. You don't know where it could lead !
Good luck

Nearlythere1 Fri 05-Apr-19 01:17:34

If you really are longing to be in every film, play, and show you see it seems like it goes a bit beyond normal daydreaming. I second the person above that you should join a drama group to see how it makes you feel.

sandi2019 Fri 05-Apr-19 01:30:19

It really, really cannot hurt to try.....especially with a supportive husband and if your finances allow (even if they don't....that's where you can supply teach).

Many of these guys (people who made it in acting later in life) had exactly the same idea as you.......and now look at them:

I'd be really excited about this!

PyongyangKipperbang Fri 05-Apr-19 02:50:16

But the actors who became famous later in life is not the same as actors who didnt start until getting on for 40. OK so Bob Hoskins did it, but that was luck.

Lets face it, and I say this as a woman who wanted to act (and win the Oscar) as long as she has been alive and now runs a pub, it probably wont happen for the OP now as it wont happen for me. Following the dream is all well and good but one must surely be realistic?

PyongyangKipperbang Fri 05-Apr-19 02:53:15

Or should I say, the OP could well get into acting now, but the parts she will get are more likely to be in ads for breakfast cereal than in the latest del Toro. Is that living the dream?

Calledyoulastnightfromglasgow Fri 05-Apr-19 04:20:07

Baby steps OP. You need more drama in your life so can you pursue that and keep your job for now? Local drama/theatre and being more into your job?

Awwlookatmybabyspider Fri 05-Apr-19 06:55:25

Carry on dreaming before they Tax that, too.

hazell42 Fri 05-Apr-19 07:15:50

Does it need to be one or the other? Can it not be both?
My daughter's teacher (media) still works in the industry and takes jobs when they come up. Her employers work around her.
Is your teaching field connected?
Would your employer work around you?
Alternatively, you could work supply and take jobs when they arise.
You only the get the one life. Your day dreams are telling you something.
Listen to them

corythatwas Fri 05-Apr-19 07:50:49

I agree with the posters who suggest am dram. There are some really quite good am dram companies out there and you could always start your own.

If you wanted to make a career in music you'd already be practising several hours a week, if you wanted to be a writer you'd sit up at night writing. You need to be acting before you think about becoming an actor.

I think one thing you will find is that acting is more professionalised than it has ever been: high skills levels are expected in everything from breathing to audition technique; there is no longer the time to train anyone on the job (apart from possibly child actors) and there are so many highly trained competitors out there. You'd be unlikely to be competitive without at least some training.

Like Pyongyang said the people on that list of older successes were people who had already been acting professionally for decades, many of them having trained and/or living in a time when it was easier to get jobs in rep and work your way up.

There are people who have come in from outside more recently; iirc Robert James-Collier (Thomas in Downton Abbey) left an office job to become an actor but he a) took private lessons b) was an exceptionally good looking male (=more sought-after).

Start with am dram and see how you go.

Using it into your work is another really good idea. Dd was taught by a secondary school teacher who had wanted to be an actress but used that love of the theatre to inspire her students instead. At least two of them went off to train as actors later.

sandi2019 Fri 05-Apr-19 13:56:36

Go for it, OP. You're not going to get anywhere if you don't try.
There will be obstacles.....for will encounter resistance along your way (see above....)....people telling you not to do be realistic.......that it didn't work for them and so it won't for you.......
Some may even be jealous that you're in a position to do this when they aren't...

You have inspired me.....I only know's all I've ever done......but I would like to complete a couple of film project ideas I've had. X

Torple Fri 05-Apr-19 16:47:19

sandi funnily enough, I have a few film ideas I would like to explore, as I said, I have the technical element as a background and have a few stories I can visualise (with me in them, obvs....!)

Maybe I need to start thinking about how to combine the two.

corythatwas Sat 06-Apr-19 18:04:51

What you need to find, Torple, is like-minded people. Either to work with you on your own ideas or to allow you to get acting experience working on theirs.

Dd has several friends who have started small amateur film companies, or theatre companies, taken shows to Edinburgh or film festivals. That might be a way of getting your name out there and finding out if this is really the way you want to go.

Dd's first film experience was acting for a local university company: she was not herself a university student but they needed her type and she had made contacts by acting in local am dram companies.

HaroldsSocalledBluetits Sat 06-Apr-19 18:13:00

Yes definitely get yourself out there. And don't see the pinnacle of fame as the only success. It is possible to have a creative outlet as a second string to your bow and be happy with that, even if you never make much/any money. Very few people become famous. But plenty of people do creative things in their spare time and share that with audiences of varying sizes and get real joy from it. That is success of a meaningful life enriching kind.

HaroldsSocalledBluetits Sat 06-Apr-19 18:25:39

Just by way of illustration, an old ex of mine was a "struggling actor" when I met him. But he was great to be around because he was always buzzing with ideas and had an interesting and interested approach to life. After years of plugging away doing mad fringe stuff that didn't make him any money but he had complete control over to go as wild as he liked, all supplemented by zero hours work and the like, he got a part in a film that became huge and went on to direct a Hollywood big hitter off the back of it. I watched his progress and was pleased, then nothing. He got back in touch with me through social media and we're still friends now and he told me that the entire Hollywood experience was horrendous for him because he no longer had creative control which went against everything he'd been working at for so long, plus everyone and he said everyone is out to fuck each other over. Not a bit like the cameraderie and collaboration he'd got used to. It was stressful and not what he wanted. So now he's back making films with tiny budgets cobbled together with arts grants and sponsors and he's much happier. He spends me links to them and they're way better than the major studio thing he did. From the outside it looks like he's given up an opportunity but actually he's doing what he wants to do. And what he does is totally accessible for someone like you to get into - someone who has ideas and wants to work and so on. Get involved with local groups, let it be known that you're interested in putting projects together. Yes you may never star in a primetime drama but you'll be spending your leisure time doing something you love.

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