Evaluate what your morals are and how you will stick to them no matter what is thrown your way.
Unlike other jobs, as an actor you don’t know what to expect from one day to the next. One day you’re playing a good guy and tomorrow you’re portraying a serial killer. Thus, the things you’re asked to do in these different roles can vary dramatically. Starting out as an actor is hard and you may find yourself desperate to work in anything, and sure, there are jobs you’ll likely do which you’d rather not. However, there is a question of what is too much and how far you should go for your career. This line is different for everyone and you must decide for yourself what you are and aren’t willing to do. However, should this even be a question? Shouldn’t actors simply realize that they’ve chosen a career which might mean they are put in awkward situations at times? Clearly there are two ways of thinking here: maintaining your morals and just doing your job.
Maintain Your Morals
Acting is a job, nothing more. You are a person first and you should stick to your guns about what is appropriate or inappropriate for you as a person. Like any job, acting can come and go. You will always be the person you are, so it’s important that you can look yourself in the face and be proud of your work.
Decide what you are and aren’t willing to do. Be very specific about that. Then when the time comes to hold up that “no” sign, do so proudly and don’t back down. If someday you decide to stop acting, you still have to live with what you have done, and unlike many careers, this one is in print. Everyone can see what you have done. Thus, it’s vital that you are proud of your work, or at the very least not embarrassed or ashamed of your choices.
Do Your Job
Acting is an extremely competitive industry, so when you get a job, you take it, no questions asked. For if you decide you can’t take a role due to moral issues, there are a hundred people lined up ready to sit right into your spot. It’s a job. It doesn’t define who you are, and you do it because you love the craft or you want to be rich and famous. Either way, you do what you have to in order to earn a paycheck and add a credit to your resume. With all the competition, you are lucky to get any role, and you need to do it so you can eventually get to the roles you really want.
Many of the Oscar-winning roles by supporting and lead actors were jobs with nudity, foul language, and questionable subject matter. If you want to be good – I mean really good – you might have to push the envelope and go further for the role. Life isn’t always perfect and pretty. Films depict real life, and it’s your job as an actor to play that role and bring stories to the screen. You’re not yourself when you’re acting – you are someone else entirely. Someone else might say things in a different way, show more skin than you would, or engage in activities you may have never even considered doing. Just because you take a role and do these things doesn’t mean you are that person or you’ll be changed because of it. This is all a matter of separating work from personal life. You can be two different people and have a rewarding life to be proud of.
The truth is I can’t make this decision for you. It’s a deeply personal choice. It’s your body, your image, your legacy and career. As an actor and as a person, you have to decide what is important and how you feel about the issues at hand. Acting is a wonderful career full of unexpected and incredible experiences. However, what you do is up to you. Don’t ever let someone push you around and change your values. Be a person first and an actor second. I wish you the best of luck.
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Last modified: August 13, 2017