This is a debate I have seen before. It begs the questions: What is art? What does it mean to be an actor? It seems being an actor is something everyone thinks they can do. I hear it often. I was watching a show with a friend and he said, "I could do that." At the time I laughed and nodded, but after thinking about it, I was really offended. I have studied acting for 30 years. I have 2 degrees, both a BFA and an MFA in acting, and have worked professionally for over 10 years. Prior to my first paid acting job, I would answer the "are you an actor" question with, "I am trying to be." I think I have always had a reverence for the bravery and commitment this profession takes. I can treat my son's cut, but I would never refer to myself as a doctor or a nurse. I can change a headlight but does that make me a mechanic? No. It takes training and skill and a lot of hard work to do the work that true professionals do.
Anyone can get up and say the lines on the page. This is true. But without creating believable characters with objectives and tactics, who have done analysis and have technique, it is devaluing the true art of acting and those that do it as a career.
That is why AAMT is a training facility. We don't focus on the product but the process. Many times I have told my students, "if you are the most talented person in the room, find another room." Surround yourself with like-minded people pursing this passion together. Train hard. Is building a resume important? Absolutely. But not at the expense of good training.
I am not attempting to knock anyone who pursues this as a hobby. I think community theatre is important and vital to encourage an appreciation of theatre. But I find those people to be hobbyists. Playmakers.
There has been a huge battle in the commercial industry for years because so many "hobbyists" are willing to do a commercial for pennies. Those who are professionals are being devalued. Those who have trained and sacrificed and depend on commercial work to help support them and provide their health insurance are now struggling to survive. The advertising agency doesn't care about anything much more than money. Why not hire the person who just wants to do it for "fun," instead of paying the professional what they are worth.
All this to say, if you want to be a serious actor--be serious about your training. Put in the work.