Recently a friends put out a call asking how other actors do it. The it being hold down regular work and still manage to get time for castings, gigs, callbacks, classes and so on. His recent new job has turned out to be nowhere near as flexible as it was originally marketed as being and he finds himself in a pickle, as we all have at sometime or another. It’s no less of a panic than the episode of Family Ties where Alex finds himself with 2 dates to the senior prom!
So what do you do?
- Improvise Cleopatra’s death scene and call in sick or
- give it to them straight and tell them they can just fire you if they don’t like it.
Either option can cause you intense anxiety which (unless you are auditioning for a Mamet play) can does not behoove good acting.
And how do we pick jobs that give us our freedom whilst allowing us enough money to pay the rent, acting classes, headshots, casting websites and enough cheap goon to drown our sorrows? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
From my perspective there came a time recently where I realized that the halcyon days of doing indy and amateur theatre were over outside of a big advert coming my way. It does seem disheartening that the only way to practice the craft that you studied 20 years is to pay for it yourself no matter how many hundreds come to see you.
So what was my permanent solution? Sadly I don’t have one, BUT a working day-by-day plan helps. My day job is fairly flexible and very understanding and CASUAL because it’s in the theatre industry. I also broadened my focus from TV, film and theatre to looking for more payed acting jobs. When I went to acting school there was no mention of the paid work that’ll give you, if not a living at least a close semblance of one. They are Corporate Video, Corporate Roleplay, Voice Over and Advertising. Stuff I’ve done less of (but are the bread and butter for friends) are Theatre in Education, Puppetry, Presenting & Radio.
I’ve talked recently about how Corporates can be some of the best workshops you’ll ever do. I think it’s also worth noting that they can also be some of the most rewarding and life changing work that you’ll ever do. I think back to the amazing performances I saw as a kid at school that got me hooked into acting. If I bumped into any one of those amazing people today I’d punch them in the face (kidding). Main point is that these jobs all pay, and for the most part pay well. They are highly skilled acting jobs that’ll be appreciated and will help you get by and get more skills and work (if you leverage them). Just with out the built in glam of TV, Film and Theatre (which ironically is less glam once you are there).
Anyhow what’s your take, and how do you make it work? Or what make you lose your mind in frustration? We’re all here to help one another.