5 Things You Should Know About Being an Acting Major

Hey, high school seniors. You’re probably graduating soon, and maybe some of you are going off to college in the fall as an acting major. I’m happy you’re pursuing your dreams, and I’m sure the economy will pick up by the time you start job hunting four years from now. Just kidding, you’re an acting major so the state of the economy will make no difference to you. It’s just as hard to book a Sprint commercial now as it was during the Clinton Administration.

No need to worry about that just yet, though. This is all you need to know right now (from someone who went through it):

1. Teachers are going to make you do weird, weird stuff that you can’t tell your parents about. Mom and Dad won’t understand why writhing on the floor to a Celtic Women CD in a Jabbawockeez mask for 2 hours twice a week is relevant to acting or worth $40,000 a semester (because sometimes it’s not, actually).

That happened to me. I spent a semester breathing into masks shared by two other classes, and only by God’s grace did I not contract pink eye.

You will also be forced to cry a lot during those weird exercises. You’re going to have to play the mirror game at 2:30 in the afternoon and make yourself cry. And you have to do it because I’m pretty sure teachers deduct a tenth of point from your grade for every day you don’t give them at least a lip quiver.

2. Straight girls, venture out of your major and meet new people to date. I know you won’t even listen to this until you’re a senior and it’s too late, but I’m just warning you, you’re going to date the one straight guy in your class who will date all the straight girls in your class. Get all those ladies together and have a fun bonding experience with a group STD testing at the campus health center and then– cocktails!

But…

Straight Guys: Congratulations! This is what it feels like to be the last man on Earth! Enjoy sifting though the enormous amount of desperate women that are totally out of your league, yet willing to date you because there’s no one else around. You only have 4 years of this, so make the most of it.

Homosexuals: High school might have been hard for you, but now there are so many of you in one place. And same-sex dorm rooms! Consider it proof that God really does love you.

3. You don’t get to skip class. You don’t get to show up to a lecture hall still drunk at 8am and text until its over. You’re going to have to show up 10 minutes early. And then you have to cry.

4. Prepare yourself for the reactions you’ll get when you tell someone your major. Some people will admire you for following your dreams and think you’re this charming little free spirit. I mean, Manic Pixie Dream Girls certainly don’t major in aerospace engineering… amiright, Kate Hudson in Almost Famous?

Other people will do you the favor of finally spilling the big secret that acting is an unstable career choice. And they will always enjoy doing it.

5. You are going to meet sooooo many crazy people, but they are the worst kind of crazy because the only thing these people love more than watching themselves cry in the mirror is to have a lot of attention on them.

These are also crazy people paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to essentially learn how to lie effectively. So good luck dealing with that!

Fun anecdote about crazy people: I once dated an actor very briefly, and somehow we ended up fighting about whether or not he was funnier than Amy Poehler. When he stopped seething, I told him that I thought that if I ever pushed the wrong button with him, that he could just suddenly snap and kill me. He instantly soothed my fears by telling me, “I would never kill you. I want to be famous and that would ruin my career.”

He had a great point!

A Day in the Life

Date: 3.13.12 (a Tuesday)

Morning: I had one hour to get up, get ready, and leave the house to take the hour drive into Boston to go to an audition for (brace for impact) a local Honey Dew Donuts  commercial. I went to bed the night before not wanting to go, and I was sure I wouldn’t end up mobilizing myself. Unexpectedly, I had a surge of energy and a will to live get up and be proactive. All of a sudden, I found myself driving in circles around Boston trying to find parking, close to tears. I was so proud of myself.

11:30 am: I get to the audition, realize –and this time it really settles in– it’s for a non-union, local  Honey Dew Donut commercial, and I start questioning all my life choices (i.e. “Will being Ray-Ban deep in student loan debt I’ve accrued through an acting degree make me any more likely to believably play a donut girl?”).

I forget about this as soon as I see a man in his 40’s come out of the audition room sheepishly smiling and making excuses for what a bad audition he just had (to put this in perspective, all he had to do in the audition was stare at the casting director and look confused). Then, the other 40 year-old guy in the room is quietly stricken with fear and starts asking what he’ll have to do in the audition. It was all very sad. For them. I felt great. I’m young and vital and have a theatre degree! The world’s at my feet!

I just hope that anyone who reads my blog will one day remind me of this post if I’m 45, living in Boston, and still holding out hope that I might get cast in a Casey Affleck crime movie and become a STAR.

12:15pm: I enjoyed a little Boston treat and got myself a Finagle-a-Bagel.

12:25pm: Finished my bagel, got a little sad…. A lot sad.

Night: I wrote a Twitter Tuesday post on Devon Sawa, and tweeted it to him. I guess he took the post as a compliment(…) because he retweeted it!

What a thrill. This brings my celeb retweet/reply total to 4 (Andy Cohen twice, Camille Grammer, and Donna from Parks and Rec). My only criteria to get a celebrity reply is that I can’t ask for a retweet, and I can’t say something to the effect of “my little girl is dying of a rare toe disease, can you please pray for her and RT?” Reality stars just love it when you ask for a prayer and a retweet (God can only hear the prayers of Real Housewives). That’s too easy. Sorry, but I like to EARN my retweets.