If you’ve ever been in love with the city of New York, then TV shows such as Gilmore Girls, Gossip Girl, and Friends were most likely your inspiration. If you’ve ever been in love with the acting industry, then movies such as Fame, Footloose, and A Chorus Line were most likely your inspiration. All of these have one thing in common: they all portray a romanticized illusion of what people think New York and the acting industry are, but they don’t reveal the harsh reality of what these concepts consist of. Hence, Anastasia Pioro, an aspiring actress has documented her journey in the acting industry through her YouTube channel.
I was introduced to her channel on December 29, 2023, and what I appreciate most about Anastasia is her blunt and raw honesty about the industry and her experiences of struggling to get her foot in the door. It reminded me of another woman who presented an authentic reality of the acting industry and her struggles of making it as an actress, and that’s a fictional character named Franny Banks from Lauren Graham’s novel Someday, Someday, Maybe. First, they both share similar feelings of frustration about not getting auditions.
In one of her “Week in the Life” videos of an unemployed actor, Anastasia expressed her frustration about not getting auditions during the peak of SAG-AFTRA strike. “…I’m so aware of how dramatic I’m being right now”. Anastasia explained. “It’s just like I think this week has been building up with so much anger of like no auditions, we’re in a strike, I don’t have a production job, I’ve applied to like four more today, I’ve applied to like ten more three weeks ago, I’m not getting interviews, I don’t know what the f--- is going on, and I’m working as a serving job”.
In Chapter 2, Franny Banks expressed her frustration about not getting an audition after her Christmas sweater commercial and feared she would never receive another one. “I made seven hundred dollars on the sweater job, the biggest amount by far I’ve ever seen on a single check”. Franny explained. But I haven’t booked anything else since. It was probably a fluke. I’ll probably never work again”. In this case, both Anastasia and Franny demonstrated the realistic reality that one of the hardest challenges of being in the acting industry is getting an audition. It’s challenging to find available work that’s hiring, and even after you’ve received one job, it’s challenging to find where your next one will be. So, it’s important to have this authentic transparency so that aspiring artists know what they’re in for.
Second, they both share similar feelings of being on the brink of giving up but finding the strength to keep going. In another “Week in the Life” video of an unemployed actor, Anastasia was pushed to her limit wherein she started to consider giving up the acting industry. “I work so hard to become an Actra member, and now for non-paying theater jobs, you don’t hire an Actra member?!” Anastasia explained. “I’m like at this where I’m like what do I do? Do I just give up being an Actra and go non-union and just be like non-union?”
Shortly after, displayed her willingness to not give up yet saying, “I really hope things turn around because if this is how things are going to go, I’m literally willing…I’m going to give up, I’m going to literally give up, I’m going to walk away from this industry”. In Chapter 2, Franny expressed her moments of wanting to quit acting as well but can push herself to keep going. “Sometimes, when the tips are bad and my feet ache, I wonder why I’m putting off the inevitable”. Franny explained. “I wonder why I don’t just pick up the phone and move to Chicago rather than continuing to attempt something that has less than five percent success rate. But for some reason, I don’t”.
In this case, both Anastasia and Franny demonstrated the realistic reality of another hard challenge in the acting industry is to not give up during tough times and to push yourself to keep going. The acting industry can feel like you’re climbing Mt. Everest, in comparison to the romanticized version displayed in Hollywood media. It can be a rough experience such that you begin to question your dreams and whether it’s worth pursuing them, but if your motivation is strong enough, you’ll push yourself to keep going no matter what.
Finally, Anastasia and Franny both share similar feelings of relief and momentum after receiving a moment of victory. In the same “Week in the Life” video of an unemployed actor, Anastasia expressed her emotional relief of gaining momentum after receiving positive news of being in the top 20 of a showcase production saying, “This is exactly what I needed, I needed to see this, I needed this push”.
In Chapter 3, Franny expressed her feelings of relief of gaining momentum after receiving an audition for a Niagara dishwashing detergent commercial and feeling like it went well saying, “I walk a few blocks in I’m not sure what direction. I’m so excited that they seemed to like me that I’m dizzy and disoriented”. In both cases, Anastasia and Franny demonstrated the realistic reality that even when there are days that seem gloomy and hopeless, there can still be other days that are bright and hopeful as well.
In conclusion, the acting industry can appear to be a glamorous spectacle when you see the positive benefits that it has, but unless you’re in the industry you don’t realize the negative downfalls that come with it as well. I appreciate Anastasia Pioro’s YouTube channel because she doesn’t hold back the truth about the industry, and I appreciate Lauren Graham’s novel because it doesn’t hold back about the industry either. Authenticity goes a long way, when it comes to following your dreams head on.
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