If you’re an actor, you’ve picked a challenging road to head down. This isn’t news to you. You’ve stared the dragon in the eye and said: Breathe fire at me! See if I care!
So why on earth is there so much hate from actors toward online creators (and by online creators, I’m mostly referring to Youtubers)? As an actor, you’ve been denied roles before for a number of reasons: You don’t ‘look’ like the girl-next-door, your not believable as a love interest, your hair isn’t blonde enough, you’re not skinny enough, you don’t have enough classical training under your belt. It’s all so unfair! I totally get it. Half the time, you’re getting denied for things that are completely out of your control and now you have a whole new element to complain about…those damn Youtubers. They’re stealing all the work from the hard-working actors!
First off, let’s define a hard-working actor: To me, a hard-working actor is focused every single day on acting. They’re taking class. They have an agent or are doing everything in their power to find an agent. They’re networking. They’re learning new skills to add to a resume. They’re doing open mic nights or standup. They’re jumping in to be in plays whenever their agent can’t land them a gig. They’re sending out postcards. They’re trying.
I know actors like this. People who are not only passionately saying that they are an actor, but rather, they are doing everything in their power to sculpt their fate or at the very least, be prepared for that moment when hard work meets opportunity. I wish that I could say that I was doing everything in my power to be a writer, but if I’m honest with myself, I’m not. I don’t dedicate myself to writing in a journal daily. I have about 3 projects that I’m halfway done with but I’m stalling on finishing any of them. I don’t seek out literary agents. I’m not submitting my scripts to festivals. I can honestly say I’m not trying hard enough. I can put the blame on myself, but not on anyone else. If I don’t find success in the entertainment industry, its my own damn fault. Because it’s my own damn fault, it’s incredibly easy for me to just not try sometimes. If I don’t try hard enough and fail, then I can just say that I never amounted to anything because I didn’t try. Imagine how terrible it would be if I tried my hardest and it still never worked out? How awful!
The mind-numbing fear of not finding success even after trying your hardest is what leads to people choosing to become the victim.
Stupid entertainment industry. They’re only hiring that online personality for the role because they have a huge social media following. That person is clearly not as talented as me. I’m more talented. I went to acting school and they didn’t. It’s not fair! The system is made for me to fail! I’m going to blame my agent and the studios and Hollywood because it’s not frickin’ fair that that 18-year-old who does makeup tutorials is getting the part that I want!!
Enough. Look, if you’re angry that you have invested your savings account and you audition day after day and are making your way through earth shattering day jobs and you are in non-union plays and you’ve just about had it….I completely understand your frustration. Really, I do. It’s the same way I feel when I used to walk through New York and think to myself, “Why the hell is every single show on Broadway an adaptation or revival? Can’t Broadway produce a single show that is brand new? Are they so afraid that tourists won’t see a new show if it’s not featuring an already established character? Should emerging writers just give up now, because clearly there is no room for us out here?” I’ve had these thoughts on more than one occasion. And not fleeting thoughts either. I’ve stewed in these thoughts and screamed these thoughts, and you know what happened? Nothing. That’s right. Nothing. My angry ass went a year without writing a show. I emotionally gave up. In the first two years of living in New York, I wrote a new play and a new musical and both got produced. On year 3, I sunk into a deep dark hole and the idea of writing wasn’t fun anymore. I played the victim and trust me. It didn’t fucking work.
One day, when I was so homesick for California that I couldn’t pull myself out of bed, I decided to make a Youtube video and talk about my love for Disney. I felt like I had gained a little of my creativity back. I felt like I was connecting with people again. I love writing. It fills me to the brim. But I’m not going to lie, sometimes, writing fills me with loneliness. Hours of sitting alone in my room stuck in my head and talking to no one. When you’re prone to depression, writing (at least for me) can add to it. With Youtube, I felt like I was immediately reaching a community of people who understood me. And it freed me. It re-awakened my creativity and made me want to write again. Most of all, I finally felt like I had more control over my place in the entertainment industry. I don’t have to wait for someone to tell me that they want a video from me or what the video should be about. I get to create the content when I want to. It’s my little baby and I love feeding it and watching the damn thing grow. And if you’ve seen my channel, my videos aren’t necessarily the best thing on the internet, but they’re full of passion and genuine love for the topic. I’m really excited to continue to grow this channel and down the road, I even plan on writing sketches to produce on the channel.
This is why I hate it when people just knock down online creators. It’s so easy to say that it’s not fair, or that online creators are lazy or not talented. But all of those things are cheap blows. I didn’t understand the Youtube community until I was a part of it. I have almost 4,000 subscribers. It’s not a lot, but there’s still so much upkeep on my channel to keep it growing. I get hundreds of comments and messages that I respond to. I tailor all of my content to what is trending on my channel. It’s not ‘lucky’ that my channel is growing. I sit and study numbers and do my research and dedicate a significant amount of time every single day to my channel. It’s a lot of work. But I do it because I love it. I do it because I get to be in control.
So, here’s what I have to say to all of the haters: Hating online creators will get you nowhere. If you are pursuing acting, you are pursuing show business. Studios are going to invest in a product that has more of a financial guarantee. Instead of pouting about it, consider this…You have just as much access to the internet as the people you hate. If you’re talented and tired of waiting for your break, then go for it and create your own break. Get your friends together and film a web series and YOU write it. YOU star in it. You are just as capable of creating stuff. The beauty of the age of technology is that we all have access to it. We are all on an equal playing field. The kid that got the part that you wanted has been waking up every day and turning on a camera and taking initiative not knowing where the chips would fall. It’s a risk. You can take that risk too.
Let’s stop saying that it’s just not fair. Because if you truly believe that it’s just not fair, then you are playing in the wrong business. Hold your head up high and think of people like Lin Manuel Miranda. Here’s a guy that never thought the words, “I can’t write a hip hop musical because no one will ever see it and why bother?” He’s a guy who took the higher road and said, “This story would make an excellent hip hop story. And if someone in the world hasn’t thought up the idea to turn Hamilton’s story into a musical, then I’m going to be the guy to do it.”
He never asked permission to create art. He never blamed the industry or complained that he couldn’t get a part or that his writing wasn’t going to get produced. He just did the work. He created his own opportunities. So, next time you want to point the finger, ask yourself, How can I be doing more?