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The Fallback

Monday, December 30, 2013

I was watching one of those Hollywood Reporter roundtables with comedy actresses (which was styled wonderfully) and towards the end, they were asked the usual "What would you do if you were not acting?" question. Three of the actresses pretty much said they could not imagine doing anything else. Acting was, is, and always will be the dream job. Kristen Bell said she never had a fallback plan because she knew she would use it if given the option. Zosia Mamet also claimed her dad said the same thing and she also wondered why anyone would give just 70 per cent of themselves to an endeavour.  It got me thinking...should we encourage fallback plans?

Firstly, I suppose it is easier to say you shouldn't have a plan b if you're already successful. When you're already living the dream, surely it's difficult to remember what it was really like when you were just starting out - we all wear those rose coloured glasses. Even I do it and I've barely started. However,  judging by their ages, I'm guessing most of those actresses - and most of the people dishing out this kind of advice - were lucky enough to escape this ruthless and exploitative internship culture. Except maybe Zosia but her circumstances aren't exactly typical. If you're 28 and one day realise you've never held down a 'proper' job with a real salary and *gasp* benefits, surely you need to consider a fallback plan? Or should you just keep on keeping on? When does 'life' win? You know, getting a house, starting a family and all that jazz. Will we, the forever intern/temp/freelancer generation, have to forego these things in the name of The Dream? I should've prefaced this by saying I'm really only addressing creative careers. You lawyers and doctors and teachers are alright - you have the blueprint, you just need to follow it. And you get a decent salary. And you're actually helping the world in some way - good gracious, I'm jealous of you! 

Then again, for someone like Zosia Mamet who grew up in a creative environment with artistic parents...well, of course she wouldn't need a fallback plan. If we all had a renowned playwright for a father and an actress for a mother, we'd probably assume we could make it in The Arts too. I'm not talking about nepotism (which I'm all for by the way. If you can't help your own family and friends, who can you help?!) but rather the fact that she's seen that it's achievable - artistic success would have always been tangible for her. In the same way that if you're from a family of teachers, you too wouldn't think it would be impossible to become a teacher.

However, in spite of all that, I kind of agree with Zosia in that you should give 100 per cent of yourself if you want to achieve success in some way, shape, or form. So, ladies and gentleman, we're stuck between a rock and a hard place. A back up plan is sometimes, oftentimes, necessary for regular Jane's and Joe's but you also need to give all of yourself. How do you give all of yourself to your second choice? Or third or fourth? Well, the truth is, I don't know. I'm currently trying to do this myself and it's not easy. In fact, I skipped the follow your dream part and fell into plan B because in all honesty, I don't have a passion. Not yet anyway - I'm sure I'll find it at some point, so put those tissues away. After all, look at these guys. So, I guess the main thing to take away from all of this is, you might need to activate plan B but you should try and find happiness in the small things that come with plan B and perhaps try and get back to The Dream. 

What do you think? Fallback plans, yay or nay?  

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