You know, sometimes this show business career can start to feel like a job -- lots of work, tedium, frustration, etc. Those of us who've chosen to earn a living in this profession know the feeling. It's hard, at times. No one said this was going to be easy. But just remember why you got into this business in the first place.
Only in show business can you have those moments where you realize that you really are living your childhood dreams. Though those dreams seemed impossible when you were young, eventually you found yourself actually pursuing them, and once in a while, it hits home how far you've come.
It's good to acknowledge those moments and celebrate them. Maybe there was an actor who inspired you when you were a kid, and now you find yourself working with them. Or maybe you grew up being a big fan of a particular director, and they just cast you in their latest film. Maybe it's that moment where you stand at the top of Beachwood, looking at the Hollywood sign, realizing that you made it all the way to L.A.
When I was a kid, I never fantasized about being with a particular agent or manager. Hell, I had no idea how Hollywood worked! I didn't know what a step deal, network test, or commercial residuals were. I didn't care about that stuff. As a kid, I visualized myself standing in front of a camera on a set on a big studio lot, where someone would step in front of me and clap a slate board, and a director would yell "Action!" Then I'd "do my thing" and act. Sometimes I'd think about walking the red carpet (usually during Oscar season), but for the most part, I was in love with the idea of working in movies.
I never fantasized about being known by all the casting directors in town, or signing a Schedule F contract and having a superagent negotiate a double banger while I'm on location. I would imagine myself on location, filming and working with a huge crew, special effects and the like, the kind of stuff you'd see on those "making of" documentaries.
I'm not saying that all the other business stuff and money isn't important. As a professional, this is part and parcel of what comes with the job. But it's not the reason I chose this path.
We all get discouraged from time to time, for a myriad of reasons too countless to list on a blog post. I suggest that during those moments, you stop and take time to remember what motivated you in the first place. If you're an actor, pause for a moment the next time you're working on the studio lot, or on location. Take a look around at the set, craft services, the camera trucks, C-stands, grips, camera & dolly rigging, etc. Realize that you've "made it" and you keep making it every day that you can wake up and keep going.
Those of us lucky enough to be living the dreams we had as children should feel happy that we are living our lives on our own terms. As a child, my father dreamed about being in the military as he would watch the freight trains transporting troops and materials off to WW2. He always wanted to go to sea. Growing up in Darby, PA, the closest body of water was the Delaware River, and it would seem that the ocean was a world away. But after he finished college, he followed his dream, going to OCS and becoming a life-long Navy officer. My dad would always talk about how much he loved being at sea. That was his dream, and he got to live it. Now I'm doing the same.
Don't cheat yourself out of the life you want. Don't just settle for what you think you should be doing with your life. Whatever it is that stirs passion in you, you should find a way to do that. Life's way too short.