What’s My Motivation? Why Film Acting is Easier Than Novel Writing

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A few days ago, I recorded automatic dialogue replace- ment (ADR) for a short student film. On the drive back home, I began thinking about how little anxiety I feel when working on a film compared to novel writing.

I’m still thinking about it.

However, today is the assigned birthday of my novel’s main character. (I needed to know the season and ended up choosing a specific date with the help of The Secret Language of Birthdays.) As it’s also Saturday, I figure I shouldn’t bother with deep issues today unless it will help the character.

So, instead of explanations of my childhood beliefs or an essay on the time and resources needed to practice acting vs. writing techniques, here are six tongue-in-cheek reasons why film acting is generally easier than novel writing.

  1. Someone else edits.
  2. Someone else figures out the plot.
  3. A contract is signed before the work starts.
  4. Auditioning for one role takes at most several hours; querying one novel takes days or weeks.
  5. You must remember to feed yourself during writing time, but crew members or a catering service bring food to you during film rehearsals and shoots.
  6. The average person (TAP) actually thinks acting is cool and doesn’t demand you prove that you’re not a slacker. For example:
  • You say, “I’m acting in a film.” TAP asks, “Is it fun?”
  • You say, “I’m writing a novel.” TAP asks, ” Have you been published?”

Yes, I enjoy acting. No, I haven’t published anything worth mentioning.

And no, I’m not giving up novel writing anytime soon.


8 thoughts on “What’s My Motivation? Why Film Acting is Easier Than Novel Writing”

  1. Usually the work that makes us happiest is where we find our passion. Perhaps your novel writing is an adjunct to your acting rather than something separate. Perhaps the process of developing characters, interactions, and storylines for your book(s) is actually an exercise that’s intended to make you a better actor rather than a novelist. Again, the work that makes us happiest is generally where our true passion lies. Food for thought …?

    1. Thanks for your comment, Cheri! It prompted a personal essay that’s in need of trimming. To summarize, I do believe my interest in performance arts and my need to study fiction writing are strongly connected; however, I don’t believe acting can make me happier in the long run.

  2. I had no idea about the acting part of your life! You’re right, the first question I probably would have asked is “Is it fun?” And so right about the publication question. It is the first question people want to know when they find out you’re a writer.

    Good post!

    1. Linda, I’ve been taking on roles for local student and independent filmmakers for less than a year. Growing up, I acted for community theaters and other groups. I guess acting is a hobby for me; although, I will be paid this year.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

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