Before Al Pacino made it as an actor, he was a shy, introverted superintendent.
Hard to believe now, but that’s what he was like back then.
Then one day, something inside him clicked, and he knew he had to commit everything to become an actor.
It’s was a big decision riddled with risk.
If you are an artistic and creative person and follow that path, you are entering a high-risk profession.
It can mean a roller coaster life that doesn’t have the safety net that other careers paths offer.
Some aspiring actors, who lack the risk-taking gene create shadow careers.
Over the decades, I have spent quite a bit of time in Los Angeles and what struck me was how many people there who are not actors but want to be.
For example, there are thousands of lawyers who specialise in the entertainment industry in LA and all the ones I met wanted to be either an actor, writer, director or producer.
But, highlighted by the profession they choose, they lacked that risk-taking gene, so they created a shadow career. This is a job that is in contact with the one they really want but does not have any of the associated risks.
For true artists, they know they have no choice. Their lives would be miserable in a shadow career, so they risk it all and go down the path they were born to take.
A career in acting should not be taken lightly. You need to be sure that you could never be happy in a shadow career, because let’s face it, it would be a lot easier.
Al Pacino once said:
“You’re only as good as the chances you take.”
He is right. A great actor has to get used to taking chances in their life and work. It’s the inevitable fate of a true artist.
Of course, there is an upside to being a risk-taker. It’s exciting and unpredictable, and you certainly know you are alive. Plus, by taking risks in your work, you have the chance to create something unique and authentic to you that profoundly impacts others.
Now that sounds like the risk is worth it to me.