LIVING WITH YOUR CHOICES
I’m an actor.
Like, it’s something I’ve done in some form or another since I was 10 years old. In High School is where the acting bug really snagged me and wouldn’t let go. For four years, every semester, I was in a show, while crewing a show, and in my senior year, I directed one show while starring in another. I logged enough hours to be awarded the title of Master Thespian within the International Thespian Society.
I say all of this not to brag or flex, but to demonstrate just how committed I was to be an actor. It’s what I was going to do for the rest of my life. Right out of High School I shifted right into community theatre, made the connections, and landed representation with The People Store. One of the premier agencies here in Atlanta. Things were happening.
Then I fell into a trap. A trap a lot of us in the early aughts fell into.
I was convinced I had to get a college degree.
At that time it sounded like the right thing to do. Get a degree, have something to fall back on, and you’ll be more attractive to employers. What could go wrong!?
Well, a housing bubble could burst to send the economy into a massive recession right as you graduate. Add on top of that you have $75,000 in student debt from a private art college.
Even so, I was one of the lucky ones. Of my graduating class of roughly 20, I can count maybe 5 of us working in the industry. An industry that we were told would easily be able to pay us enough to handle our student loans with ease.
What a crock of…yeah.
Jump over a decade later and I often look back at the choice I made to get that degree. I wonder just what life would have been like if I’d stuck with my first love and continued to pursue acting. I’d be WAY ahead on the debt side and in love with what I do.
But there’s a darker side to that.
I wouldn’t have my children. I wouldn’t have my fiance. I wouldn’t know all of the wonderful people I now know today.
So I live with my choice. Sure, not like I couldn’t, but what I mean is that I live in my choice, live in my life circumstances, and shape it to be the world I want to live in. I may not be in a place where I can pursue stage and screen as I had planned but I do have a skill for acting, a voice, and the time to pour into voice-over. Not to mention the technology now has made it far easier to do. Granted that means the competition is stiffer than ever but it also means the jobs are more plentiful than ever.
Going to college may have been a mistake to some degree. Though I can’t deny it gave me the skills to be an animator, motion graphics artist, video editor, and illustrator. I still wonder if those would have been necessary had I stuck with acting.
Either way doesn’t matter. I’ll live in my circumstance, make the most of it, and be the most diversely skilled voice actor and take everything to the Nth Degree!