Today I was listening to a podcast with a studio head and he said something that I often hear people in the entertainment industry say. Basically that we are just making entertainment and we aren’t as important or noble as doctors, firemen, soldiers, teachers, etc. Now, I am guilty of saying this as well and a part of me agrees but then I started thinking deeper and I was uncomfortable with this devaluation and dismissal of entertainment. While I don’t believe it’s a competition and I don’t feel there’s any need to compare one profession to another, I think entertainment is very important. The problem is that we humans are not good with amorphous and intangible things. We want everything to be quantifiable.
A doctor’s job, for instance, is very tangible and quantifiable. He sews up your wound. She transplants hearts! They fix brains! Entertainment is much less tangible. It makes you happy. It makes you feel things. It makes you think.
Many people seem to view entertainment as “fluff” or just pure leisure and luxury, but I don’t believe that. I believe there’s a reason that entertainment has been around in some form or another since the earliest recorded history. There’s something to be said for something that can affect your spirit. Make you laugh. Make you cry. Make you think. Manipulate your emotions. I believe it is a vital part of a healthy brain and soul.It feeds you in so many ways you probably don’t realize. Inspires you. Relieves stress. Puts things deep into your DNA that you don’t even realize.
I also experience this on a more microscopic level. As an actor, I love what I do. It doesn’t feel like “work.” It feel easy and effortless (not that it isn’t sometimes hard and challenging) and just like what I do. I’ve often found myself saying what many others say in that actors have it so easy! We play pretend and get trailers while other crew member haul around heavy equipment and get there before us and leave after us, etc. But then on certain occasion, a crew member has said to me “Man, I don’t know how you do that. I could never do what you do,” and expressed a real appreciation for the work an actor puts in and it re-framed everything for me.
There is great value, skill and work in what I do. As there is in whatever you do. As with most things in life, it’s all about perspective. It’s not about comparisons.
Whatever you do, don’t devalue yourself. Entertainment is as important and noble a profession as any and a very important part of life. It may not be as easily quantifiable, but I promise you it not meaningless fluff. It changes lives. It is magic. It is not merely an extraneous luxury. It is a vital nutrient.