Why I Am an Actor


 Why I Am an Actor

Why am I an actor?  I have thought about this question a lot over the years.  A few years ago I realized the true reason why I am an actor.  It has always been my belief that one of the greatest gifts one person can give to another in this life is "undivided attention".   With the fast-paced world we live in, there are constant interruptions. Because so many of us race through life each day, it is quite rare to be able to capture and hold another person’s undivided attention for more than a few minutes (or seconds) at a time.  While there are advantages to being more connected by technology, we are also more prone to being interrupted at any time and therefore have lost a lot of the personal connection that can take place when two people are focused completely on each other for a longer period of time.

One of the things I love most about performing is that when I am on stage or in front of the camera (or even auditioning), if I'm lucky, I have the undivided attention of whoever may be watching me.  The cell phones are off (hopefully) and unless there is a fire or an atrocious performance that causes people to run from the theatre, for a few minutes at least, I have the audience’s  undivided attention.  I have the opportunity to express myself and all the characters that live inside me with no fear of interruption.  This feeling of self-expression and the opportunity to make an impact on another human being through creative expression and give something back to others through art, brings me true JOY.

After my mother died in 2006, I had an epiphany of sorts.  I suddenly realized that the only real kind of life I wanted to have on this earth was a life in which I could have as many moments of true joy as possible - not just "happiness" or being in a "good mood" but actual joy.  I made a conscious decision to spend my life searching for (non-chemical) ways in which I could experience moments of joy.  Acting brings me joy.  Listening to music brings me tremendous joy.  And lastly, making an authentic connection with another human being brings me real joy.  


The moment before I begin performance, just before the curtain rises or in the few seconds before the camera man says "action", I feel what can only be described as authentic joy.  Each time I think to myself, "WAHOO!  I am about to spend time doing what I love doing and nobody (with the possible and necessary exception of the director) is going to interrupt me."   Even a one-minute monologue in an audition brings me that feeling of joy because, for that 60 seconds, I have the opportunity to take my time, focus and "be" the character…bringing out all the parts of myself that I'm not able to express in my daily life.



When I get up each day, I ask myself two questions, “what can I do today to have as many moments of joy that I possibly can?”  and “what can I do today so at the end of the day I can tell myself that, at least for today, I gave more back to the world than I took?”


This is why I am an actor.  It's all about these two things: giving back to the world (in my case, artistically, but not limited to that) and thereby achieving the by-product of that endeavor:  experiencing as many moments of joy in my life as I can. 


For me, in the end, it’s all about the joy.  And the funny thing about joy...it's contagious.