One of the most annoying encounters from an actor's perspective is the classic interaction with a non-thespian where they say something along the lines of "Oh, you're an actor? Why don't you phone up EastEnders and ask to be in?"
"Well, because it's not that simple, you ********!" (I'll let you decide on your own expletive).
The performing arts industry - particularly film and television - is extremely competitive and getting more and more so each year. In order to get so much as an answer at the door, let alone get a foot in it, years of grit, determination, sacrifice and experience on set as background artists and minor roles are necessary to establish your name and reputation. But even then, that is often not enough.
A small handful have been in the public eye since their days as child actors, for instance, Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson, whilst most others didn't get their breaks until later on in their careers; Christoph Waltz and Harrison Ford being classic examples.
Like their characters, artist's journeys are vastly different, and everyone has to start somewhere.