What’s the difference between an amateur and a professional?
A paycheck. Okay, that may not work as a joke, but it’s food for thought for all of us who love creating art of any kind. Some may think I’m oversimplifying in making such a statement, & perhaps I am, but please allow me to explain.
The arts are in crisis these days. Over the past few years, many symphonies, opera companies, & other organizations have gone bankrupt or had to drastically reduce expenses. Many of my performer friends – especially those who used to rely on gigs for most or all of their income – are finding it harder & harder to pay the bills through their creative work. I’m sure visual artists are feeling the pinch as well. Yet we keep on singing, playing, acting, dancing, & painting, sometimes doing for a stipend (or even gratis!) what we were once paid quite well to do. Why?
I think this quote sums it up quite nicely.
Of course, there are other distinctions that can be made between amateur & professional artists, including training, discipline, life choices, &, in some cases, talent. Throughout the course of my career, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with numerous amazing “amateur” actors & singers who have chosen other ways to pay the rent, but have tons of talent & work ethics just as good as those of anyone I’ve encountered on a paid gig. What we all have in common is that the creative process fulfills us in ways nothing else can. When we’re lucky enough to be allowed to share that experience with an audience, it’s even better.
Tags:actor, amateur, art, arts crisis, creative process, Kurt Vonnegut, opera, professional, singer, Symphony