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I know what my dream job has always been but too embarrassed to pursue it....

(22 Posts)
Chocwocdoodah Sat 16-Jul-16 21:58:24

So I've been whinging on another thread about how I feel like a fraud in my job. Lots of lovely posts from MNers reassuring me that I'm probably less shit than I think. Which has made me feel all brave and feeling like I want to admit what I've actually always dreamed of doing. I've heard of so many people recently who've finally had the guts to go for their dream career so.....

I would love to be an actor. There.

Now the even more ridiculous thing about this is I've never pursued drama in any form. I did it at school (aged about 12) as it was compulsory and I loved it. But I never realised at that age how important it was to find a passion and really go for it. No one in my family has ever had a real passion so in some ways I never had an example to follow if that makes sense (not that I'm blaming my family). Ive always been a bit of a show -off (hopefully not in an annoying way) and love making people laugh - all that kind of thing. My mum always says she wished she had got me into drama as she thinks i would have loved it as a kid. When I was older I always chose to study more "academic" subjects as I thought it was important to get "proper" qualifications and not fanny around with drama or art or music - things I would actually have loved.

Even when I went to uni - which would've been the perfect opportunity to join a drama group but I was too self-conscious and a bit put-off by the OTT luvvie drama kids. What a dick.

All shit excuses. But honestly, I have dreamt about it for years. I hear about people like Samuel L Jackson and Ricky Tomlinson who didn't start acting til in their 40s and it makes me think maybe it's not too late to give it a try. I watch people like Julie Walters and the actors in This is England or comedies like Gavin & Stacey (random selection!) and i just think i would love to have a go at something like that. Chances are I'd be utter shit, I know, but I'm wondering if it's time to stop being a dick and give it a go?

I'm aware I sound like a total head-in-the-clouds idiot but sod it. I think I'm ready to stop being a 5 yr old and join a drama group or something. Even if I just do it as a hobby to get it out of my system.

So my questions are:
1. Any tips? Any particular groups I should look into? Only thing is I can't bear theatre-type jazz-hands style acting...I know, I know, but its just too OTT.

2) Anybody else have a real DREAM job that they're too scared to admit to in real life?

VioletBam Sun 17-Jul-16 02:25:42

I trained as an actor and worked as one in London for ten years. I now live in Australia. Tell me your age and location (rough location) and I'll give you some advice.

Nothing is silly when it's what you love.

Chocwocdoodah Sun 17-Jul-16 06:23:30

Wow, thank you Violet! Do you still act? I'm 36 - live in Kent/SE London borders.

Balletblue Sun 17-Jul-16 10:07:12

My DH and I joined an am dram group a few years ago and it's been a great experience. My DH especially has emerged as a very good actor and singer. Look for a good a group as you can find. Ours enters one act play competitions and regularly wins various awards, competing against other groups. Some of the juniors go on to do drama at colleges, stage schools and university. Enjoy!

VioletBam Sun 17-Jul-16 10:50:19

Hi there, I do a little but I'm having more success as a writer. smile It's less stressful too!

Have a look at this

This is an excellent place with VERY good teachers and if you're seriously interested in acting, you can't really do better. They offer courses for various levels of experience and their short courses might be a good place for you to begin.

Shakey15000 Sun 17-Jul-16 14:11:57

I second joining a local group. That's how I got started, then turned professional. Not many starry eyes here though as the pay was shit and irregular so I had to return to the "normal" world of work.

As a general rule, it really isn't about how good an actor you are, it's about who you know, being in the right place at the right time etc.

Fantastic fun though smile. Working as an extra can sometimes lead to things, is there a local agency?

Be prepared to travel lots, perform in possible flea pits, play to two people ( yep, been there!) low and infrequent wages to start at least and panic about line learning.

I'm content now as I (warning, boast alert) am a good actor/singer so often get offered really good lead parts on the amateur circuit and have won a couple of awards. So, enough to satisfy my yearning and the smell of the sawdust grin

DrLockhart Sun 17-Jul-16 16:31:39

Worth buying The Stage publication (if it is still published) they advertise extras and various different things.

You could look in to role playing for training companies who do people management or customer service training.

Definitely recommend joining an amateur dramatics group. It would take some commitment around work hours now to get some experience to see if you like it.

I loved acting and had a choice at 18 to continue it and study it or study the other subject I was good at. I chose the other (Business / HR). Whilst I love it, earn good money etc, I believe my heart lies in acting. I would however likely have been miserable with the failure of trying to make it big as it is competitive and varied. What puts me off now is the 'celebrity' aspect of it. I'd want to go to work to act, and come home and switch off. If you make it on the screen, you can't do that. The alternative of course would be stage acting, which I really enjoyed when I did do it; the adrenalin and satisfaction of pulling off a good show was intense.

Alternatively, come and work in HR, we act our asses off all day with our smiley faces, tea and sympathy when we really want to get on and not be disturbed every 5 minutes wink <joke>

Shakey15000 Sun 17-Jul-16 18:07:47

Agree to loving the stage DrLockhart. No feeling like it. No second chances/retakes and total adrenaline rush.

I've just finished playing Mrs Lovett in Sweeney and it wasn't looking great by the tech/dress but somehow, on the opening night, the magic happened and it all came together.

It's in my heart too and standing in the wings waiting to go on, always makes me think "THIS is what I was born to do" and then I remember the mortgage sad

DrLockhart Sun 17-Jul-16 20:37:45

shakey I miss it now you've just wrote your post wink that feeling of it coming together on opening night is indescribable isnt it? I carried on after my A levels in a semi pro capacity, just the odd play etc, but time to do it in your spare time is shorter once you have a family and work in a normal job.

I've always said I'd pick it back up. When the time is right, it'll come my way I hope. So when people ask me what I'd do if I won the lottery, I would go on stage! 😀

Shakey15000 Sun 17-Jul-16 21:18:49

Definitely shorter! I'm lucky DH fully supports when I do a play. I had "rested" (even in am dram stakes) for a while following surgery and hadn't planned on doing anything till retirement (Arsenic and Old Lace anyone? wink) and said that only 4 roles would make me reconsider

1. Mrs L in Sweeney
2. The main female character in The Scottish Play (!)
3. Mamma Rose
4. Fanny Brice (though I'm waaay too old now)

And yes yes to the lottery win dream grin

Chocwocdoodah Sun 17-Jul-16 23:30:21

Ah you lovely lot - thanks so much for the recs, encouragement and advice.

Violet - does Giles Foreman do classes for absolute beginners that you know of as the ones in the link seem more for people with some experience?

I've just read an interview with Vicki McLure (who i love) talking about how she started in The Television Workshop so I looked that up and that looks exactly like the kind of thing I'd like to do - very much based on as they call it "real" acting, kitchen-sink drama type stuff. Only problem is it's based up north and you have to be aged under 20..... Is there anything like that for oldies like me?? I completely get why some of you ladies on here love being on stage but I feel like that kind of acting isn't quite what I'm after and worry that a regular local am-dram group wouldn't be for me. I like to lose myself when I'm watching a drama and I find that hard to do when watching a stage performance as I find it quite OTT (which I understand is necessary because you're on stage and need to be heard and seen). I mean no disrespect at all to anyone by that - please don't take me the wrong way! And yes maybe I've just seen the wrong shows! I just love watching dramas that are very true to life/ involve naturalistic acting - like This is England type progs or even The Office and think that's the style I'd like to learn. Do you know what I mean??

Chocwocdoodah Sun 17-Jul-16 23:31:58

Vicky McClure

VioletBam Mon 18-Jul-16 04:27:02

Yes, there's this introduction to acting for beginners.

OllyBJolly Mon 18-Jul-16 07:43:54

I'm not convinced that the acting the OP describes is a "job".

I have several friends who do TV work. Every one served a very hard apprenticeship doing theatre, voiceovers, radio work, delivering voice coaching. A lot of time is spent going to auditions for roles they don't get (and dealing with the rejection). To them acting is their job- they can't be too fussy about what kind of work they take on.

I really don't believe there is sufficient work out there for someone to make a living out of this:

I just love watching dramas that are very true to life/ involve naturalistic acting - like This is England type progs or even The Office and think that's the style I'd like to learn

If you want this dream to become a reality then I think you have to broaden your scope.

Chocwocdoodah Mon 18-Jul-16 09:04:18

Brilliant, thanks Violet.

Fair comment Olly - yes, I am being rather narrow-minded and probably come across rather naive! I would actually be happy to give anything a go - it's just that's the type of acting that really appeals.

mouldycheesefan Mon 18-Jul-16 09:12:52

Most actors start in local drama groups, school plays, college plays, local theatre doing any kind of acting they can, learning as they go along. If you want to act for fun there is bound to be a group near you.if you want to do a course you will need to audition and with no experience whatsoever that could be a challenge as you have never had any feedback or taken direction.

bonjournono Mon 18-Jul-16 09:28:44

My cousin is a professional actor. He started at an early age, went to a well known stage school and was in films and west end shows as a child. Since becoming an adult, he's found it much harder to get work. He's had a few supporting roles in weekly tv dramas/comedy shows but nothing big. He now earns money by doing voice overs and working admin shifts in a hospital.

It's a great dream to have but you have to be very lucky and determined to make a real career out of it. There are so many actors out there who are trained but have to work low paid jobs while they wait for their 'big break'. I would recommend joining a local am-dram club and getting experience through that. You could do stage acting and musicals and see what you prefer. Then if you still want to pursue it you can apply for proper training with your eyes open and some amateur experience. Good luck smile

brodchengretchen Mon 18-Jul-16 09:36:03

I may be attributing wrongly, but I think it was Olivier who said to an aspiring actor, "Only act if you need to do it, loving it will not be enough."

Chocwocdoodah Mon 18-Jul-16 23:19:41

Thank you Mouldy, Bonjournono and Brod. I think joining a local group is definitely the way to go. Like you say, aiming to do it as a job is rather optimistic to say the least but just to do it for fun would be amazing.

Love that Olivier quote - I guess all I can do is give it a go and then I'll really know if I "need" to do it....

Shakey15000 Tue 19-Jul-16 08:25:46

Yes, I was going to say that to do it professional, almost all directors/casting will plump for someone who has put the groundwork in. And preferably learnt stage craft. Even though TV/Film work is a completely different discipline, there's rarely a successful actor who hasn't cut their teeth playing to two people at the end of the pier type thing smile

Certainly not impossible, again, going back to being in the right place at the right time. But not easy either.

mouldycheesefan Tue 19-Jul-16 12:56:39

Let us know how you get in
💐flowers for opening night!

Chocwocdoodah Wed 20-Jul-16 20:42:17

Thank you everyone. I will report back when I've joined a group and let you know how I get on. And when I've won my Oscar😉

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