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Professional student actors choose to perform as hobby

Sophomore+Alec+Shiman+performs+as+%22Mother%27s+Little+Boy%22+in+the+Fiddlehead+Theatre+Company%27s+production+of+%22Ragtime%3A+The+Musical%22+at+the+Strand+Theatre+in+2012.+
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Professional student actors choose to perform as hobby

Sophomore Alec Shiman performs as

Sophomore Alec Shiman performs as "Mother's Little Boy" in the Fiddlehead Theatre Company's production of "Ragtime: The Musical" at the Strand Theatre in 2012.

Provided by Matt McKee Photography

Sophomore Alec Shiman performs as "Mother's Little Boy" in the Fiddlehead Theatre Company's production of "Ragtime: The Musical" at the Strand Theatre in 2012.

Provided by Matt McKee Photography

Provided by Matt McKee Photography

Sophomore Alec Shiman performs as "Mother's Little Boy" in the Fiddlehead Theatre Company's production of "Ragtime: The Musical" at the Strand Theatre in 2012.

Chloe Jepsen, staff writers

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The lights darken, the smell of popcorn and sticky candies waft through the heavily air-conditioned room and the movie begins. Their face comes onto the scene. One would think that this would be every young actor’s dream… but is it?

Even students who are greatly invested in acting in theater, movies, commercials and television shows aren’t completely sold on pursuing this passion as a career.

Sophomore Alec Shiman has acted in various plays, in college films and as an extra in “Moonrise Kingdom.”

“I avoid the film scene because there’s a very small chance that you’re going to make a callback. It’s one in a million,” Shiman said.

Freshman Max Harris has acted in many theatrical productions as well as various commercials and movies. He was a spokesperson in a number of WB Mason commercials, and obtained small roles in “Ted” and “About a Boy.”

Harris also has doubts about continuing acting as a career. He said the low success rate in obtaining roles makes it an undependable option for his future occupation.

“There’s so many factors besides your skill, including your look,” Harris said. “I know a kid who was a second for a role in the movie “Free Willy,” but he got cut because the other kid was an inch taller than him which worked better with the whale.”

Shiman also said that an actor’s “look” is important in the selection process. When the casting agencies are looking for a part to be filled, they will look through resumes, equipped with headshots, and invite actors in for an audition if they physically fit the part.

Shiman says that even if they contact you, there’s a miniscule chance in getting a part.

“When they’re looking for someone, like a fifteen-year-old boy, they’ll contact you if you fit the part. But, most of the time they’re emailing all of the teenage boys whose resumes they have. I’ve auditioned for many things that don’t end up working out,” said Shiman.

Sophomore Felicia Rosen, who has been in many theatrical productions, also believes that a career in theater would be nearly impossible to achieve.

“I’d like to keep doing it in my free time, but I don’t think a career would be realistic for me,” Rosen said.

Harris added that theater and film is a large time commitment.

“One of the misconceptions of theater and film is that it’s not a lot of work, but it’s eight hours a day.”

The fact that these students spend such a substantial amount of time acting and auditioning, but do not see themselves as professional actors and actresses in their futures, raises the question: Why do it?

Harris said he continues to do it for the simple love of it.

“I think it would be an added level of stress if that was my income, but right now it’s a thing that I love to do,” Harris said. “But if I were to be reliant on that it might become more of a chore than a passion.”

Rosen said that her love of theater has shaped her as a person.

“It’s my favorite thing to do outside of school for sure, and it’s made me who I am.”

Shiman said the bond that you from with your cast members when participating in a production makes it worthwhile.

“You get to meet the actors, and you get to become really close with your fellow actors,” said Shiman.

Rosen said that one of the reasons that she does theater is because of her love of the theatrical community.

“I love how close you get with your cast,” said Rosen.

For now, Harris has no plans to stop.

“It’s very rewarding to see yourself doing what you love,” Harris said, “and to see yourself on the big screen.”

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Professional student actors choose to perform as hobby