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Breaking into Show Business

May 7, 2012 | 4 Comments

What would you recommend as the best way for an actuary to break into show business?  

A. Morri
Lynnwood, WA


Approach it rationally, consulting the statistics ---- the ethnic background, education, geographic origins, of people successful in show business and their age, height, and weight when they broke into the business ---- and what you'll find is that you're too old and too well-educated to go into show business and you should be happy right where you are.


I am smiling at the tongue-in-cheek advice for an actuary to consult the statistics, but at the same time it seems to me there are some helpful tips that might be offered, not least of which being to ask what specifically the person is seeking to find in show business - community? vast riches? creative expression?. Statistics may be grim when it comes to the chances of fame and fortune, but even school plays are a form of show business and ushers perform important functions, and community theater groups may be a satisfying outlet. Even reading to kids at schools and libraries can be a performance, complete with costumes and makeup, if the joy of transforming is what the aspiring performer is seeking. You're never too old to have fun, to take voice lessons, to analyze the talents you see in plays and movies...

No Business Like Show Business

All the world's a stage, at every age,
And there's no business like show business
But if you just want to play
You're never too young nor too old
You just have to take that first little step -
Be bold!

Permit me to speak for those of us who, because of our age and education level, should be happy hanging around more smart people and perhaps wrestling more with persons who are ambiguous about winning.

If by "show business," someone is thinking of writing scripts of sit-coms or becoming the face of the latest pharmacological agent, perhaps a network of "connections," perhaps best acquired at an academy devoted to selecting and training up likely individuals, would be the best route. I'm sure we'd all like to see a retired statistician play the lead in a blockbuster, of course.

On the other hand, when it comes to entertainment, if that is what is meant by "show business," I have noticed a huge preference for local, um, talent. People are about a thousand times more happy to see someone from the same community, um, interpreting the world to them, in ways the community can share and dissect, laugh at, reflect back in even worse form (or better, and better, and better). Maybe a thousand times is underestimating. The statistics probably show even greater favor than 1,000 given to that which is local. There are prizes to the dog who has the best smile, who has the best kiss, the best dressed transvestite, the local team that has the best costume at the spelling bee. That sort of thing. We derive huge pleasure from entertaining each other -- in person.

Start at the most basic of venues. You never know who you'll impress, they might have a best friend or aunt or what-have-you, who is a big-wig in show business. I got my start at the local salon, where I sang and played guitar while the old ladies gossiped.

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