Are you the life of the party? Always singing? Do you watch “The Voice” or “America’s Got Talent” and say, “I can do that!” Have you considered going to auditions?
Helping young people achieve their goals has been my dream job for over 20 years. It’s my business and I love it. I’ve watched thousands of talented artists make it to the big screen, on the air and even to prestigious universities.
You may know some: Justin Timberlake, Alicia Keys, Selena Gomez. What makes me proud is how they handle their success: with gratitude and humility.
That said, now I’m going to do everything I can to discourage you from getting into the entertainment industry – “the biz” as we like to call it!
Below are four reasons why you should not attempt to become a professional singer or actor and three reasons why you should. If you make it through each of these reasons and still want to be a performer, you may have what it takes.
Four reasons not to go into show business:
1.Performing arts training in school is insufficient.
Taking music or acting in school doesn’t provide the skills needed to be on television or the radio. Most school programs don’t concentrate on commercial music or screen acting. Moreover, because the way classes are weighted, taking music or drama classes which are not honors or AP (very few are) will decrease your GPA even if you get an A.
2. Private instruction is expensive.
For private lessons, start looking at $75 an hour minimum – not to mention photos, reels, music production, movement classes, media training, social media and travel. Expect to pay out at least $15,000 a year for serious entry into show business.
3. Time. It takes a lot of it.
Expect to spend at least 20 hours a week on your craft. It takes away from study time, fun time, vacation time, family time and personal time.
4. Beware the Boulevard of Broken Dreams.
There are a lot of people who will tell you everything you want to hear and not what you need to hear. My former business partner was an FBI agent in charge of organized crime and political corruption and he said show business was right on par. You have to stay on your toes and surround yourself with good people.
So what are the reasons to go into show business?
1. You’ll get better grades.
If you find the right teachers, they will ask you to do research for every role or song you learn. Your vocabulary, writing skills, history and literature knowledge will improve and in a more hands on way than by sitting in class and passively trying to absorb.
2. Life skills.
Students in the biz are tremendously organized, focused and personable. They learn how to deal with people, how to present themselves, how to get the job done on their own and how to zero in on a performance and eliminate distractions. These are skills that they will use daily as a performer. Skills that will take them far in life, no matter what they choose.
3. It builds self-esteem.
I have yet to meet a well-trained student in the biz that lacks confidence. They are in touch with their emotions. They are comfortable delivering in small meetings (auditions) in addition to bigger settings (on a film set or concert stage). They are goal oriented and understand how to deal with setbacks and create opportunities. When I interview high school students for college entrance. I often think, “This brilliant kid, could really use some auditioning skills training.” After all, every sales meeting, interview and presentation is more or less some type of audition.
When you hear about all those child stars who are in trouble, remember there are thousands of other child actors who are doing great. As a counselor working in the mental health industry for seven years, I can tell you these kids have less trouble than kids who are competitive sports athletes or influential business professionals. Showbiz has its caveats for sure, but it is a wonderful profession that has unlimited financial, personal and social-change advantages.
And the last thing: A well trained, adjusted and talented performer learns to bring the BEST version of his or herself to whatever life brings them.
Still interested? Check out my website. I have information on classes, Skype lessons, summer programs, casting agents, auditions and tutorials for singers and actors. www.soundcheckartists.com. If you have any questions about getting in the biz you can drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.