The Top10 Worst Things about Being an Actor

Lolly Jones1 Comment

Oh, the life of an actor, eh?!  Red carpets, exclusive parties, famous bed fellows…

But no one tells you about the Front of House jobs, the spiral of rejection or the obligatory admin support for the Fringe show you are performing in.  FOR FREE. 

Ladies and Gentleman, please switch off your mobile telephones (and buy an overpriced Programme from me at the interval)…I present to you the 10 Worst Things about being an Actor:

1.       Inappropriate Questions

“Anything I’ll have seen you in”?  In no other profession, would you be forced to recite your CV, on cue.  

Other questions include: “Have you met David Jason/Maggie Smith/Shane Richie”? and “How do you remember all those lines”?

2.      Being Pencilled 

Your agent calls and you’re on a ‘Heavy Pencil’.  Was there ever a stronger sign that you’ll be receiving a 40 grand (after commission) cheque?  You browse holiday homes in Mauritius and think about what outfit you’ll wear in the ‘Rising Star’ article.  And your phone?  Yeah, it doesn’t ring.

3.      Ignorant Audience Members

Three years at drama school and you’re enacting a very moving, well devised rape scene…you glance out in well-pitched agony to see an elderly gentleman asleep in the second row. 

Add to this list; mobile phone users, loud cough-ers and walker-outers (undoubtedly due to a pressing urine infection rather than an issue with your text delivery).

4.      You Can NEVER Escape Ex-Lovers

Actors like to bonk.  Unfortunately, it’s impossible to shag another actor without your immediate and extended circle finding out.  You may as well post “I did it with the back end of the donkey at Salisbury Playhouse" on your Twitter feed.  

Years after, you'll undoubtedly be cast in a play with their current partner.  And you’ll probably be forced to stare at billboards of your ex beau whilst en route to your call centre job. 

5.      Being a Constant Disappointment to your Parents 

“Hey mum!  Thanks for supporting me whilst I studied for a First Class BA (Hons) Degree in Economics.  Could I borrow a fiver so I can buy some milk and bread”? 

Whether it’s playing another prostitute in a late night, Channel 5 mockumentary or missing your brother’s wedding for a rehearsed reading at the Watford Palace Theatre, your parents consider you ‘the unsuccessful one’.

6.      Reading ‘Friend’s’ Facebook Statuses

Even worse than your actor friends mentioning hectic work schedules "I am thrilled to announce I will be joining the cast of ..." are the no-hopers you went to school with, who are #winning at life.  Not only have these buffoons been granted mortgages and a company car, they have held down monogamous relationships, afforded weddings and own a garden!  Outside space?  What is that?  

7.      Inability to Book a Holiday 

You click on the Ryanair ‘Book Flight’ option then your agent calls for the first time in a year.  “Audition for the new James Bond Film”. 

You miss the holiday and go to the audition. 

You don’t get the job.

8.      Your Time is Not Your Own

In the unusual event of a Casting, entire days will be lost.  

You cancel work/miss Jeremy Kyle-the DNA Special to sit in a waiting room with identical people, all cloaked in the same shade of desperation.  Once inside the ‘casting suite’, you crawl on the floor, pretending that big lottery balls are raining on you whilst making the sound of a constipated chicken.  The director doesn't look up from their phone.  In less than 60 seconds, you’re out the door, making the hour long journey home to your damp, moth ridden bedsit.

9.      Words of Advice from Charlatans

“Can you not just get a part on Corrie”? 

“Write a letter to Channel 4”. 

“You have good teeth.  Why don't you do a Colgate ad”?

“You have a great voice.  Why don't you get a voice over agent”?


10.  Working for free

So, what happens when things go right?  You audition, get pencilled and win the part! CONGRATS! 

Three months after the play (that agents refused to attend), you receive the profit share cheque: for £15.19. 

It bounces.


Special Thanks to contributing ideas from fellow actor sufferers: Gemma Morsley, Kivan Dene, Jo Simpkins, Doug Rankin, Katie Salt, Chris Rogers, Ciaran Dowd, Emma Fyles, Alison Baker, Dawn Sievewright, Laura Hyde, Molly Roberts, Daniel Williams, Dan Maclane, Jane Murphy, Sarah Langrish, Chris Wild, Natalie Bridge, Jez Hodgson, Lewis Reeves, Ryan O'Donnell and Emma Cremnitz.