Back Stage welcomes letters on performing arts issues. Each letter should include the writer's address and phone number, is subject to editing, and must be limited to 250 words.

Advice For the Discouraged

I found Mike Millis' story on careers behind the scenes in show business (Back Stage, Dec. 10, 1999) to be most insightful, realistic, and to the point.

A couple of years ago, I tried to pursue a career as an actor. But the only role I ever got was an extra part in a movie. The desire to act left me before I got my feet wet. I was angry, hurt, depressed, and bitter. Despite that, I still wanted to do something in show business.

I'm currently involved with two community playhouses near where I live. With one, I'm training to be a make-up artist. At the second, I'm the light board operator. This, I think, has been a great start for a career behind the scenes in theatre. It's given me a good idea about how a theatre works. Reading your wonderful story on off-stage roles has only increased my desire to pursue a career back stage, whether as a make-up artist, light board operator, or in some other position.

My advice to any actor who is discouraged over trying to find work in front of the camera would be to look for opportunities behind the camera. I've never regretted my decision to do so.

Dawne E. Williams

Bronx, NY