The question I have been asked by actors more than any other, is what job should you do to support your acting. The oldest question of them all…We know we have to work when times are tough, but how do we work and still be available for auditions without having to call in sick, declare there’s a snow storm in our area, or lie and report a gastro problem. Yes, the fatal truth is finding a job that suits you as an actor is like finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
The reality is that until we are billing work regularly we can’t afford not to have another job (unless parents or friends are willing to put us up – lucky you if you can get that arrangement). Some actors choose professional work, others wait tables or work at a bar, some opt for promotional work. It really depends on you and your experience.
While there are no right or wrong answers, where b.a.b.e. is concerned, I believe there are some classic mistakes that actors make when selecting their secondary job. And remember, if you are absolutely serious about your acting then it is secondary job. This week is all about the mental preparation that goes into finding the right job, rather than the job itself. And in future weeks I’ll be sharing ideas about what the perfect secondary job might be.
1. The all consuming: You take a job
(or jobby job as Bob Fraser calls it) and find that within a few months your hours suddenly shoot up to 40-50+ per week and asking for time off from your boss is like pulling teeth from an elephant. This other job should never consume you, but now it does. It sucks the life out of your creative juices making you unable to think about scripts, auditions or anything else that could help you propel your career forward.
FIX: Been there, done this. Get a check on the job immediately. Whether it’s the guilt monkey riding on your back, or a fear of failing in acting land, it is only you and that job that are standing in the way of your next big acting role. If you don’t have the guts to take a day off of paid/sick leave for an audition, or to leave on time then you need to seriously question your goals. I bet if you were asked to attend a daytime red carpet screening for a top billed movie you’d find the gusto to attend it.
2. Show me the money: The money is too good. You’re stuck in a mouse wheel and can’t get out. The designer dresses, the pretty Jimmy Choo shoes, the expensive dinners. If you cut back your hours your lifestyle will surely suffer.
FIX: Umm mental check here please people – I am sure I mentioned some weeks ago that Brad Pitt was dressed up as a chicken first before making it… a chicken!! You are going to have to accept many sacrifices if you are serious about your craft. The first will be getting serious about your finances. Spend £100 less per month and save it for that rainy acting day. Cut back slowly until you only shop once a month. You are more than just the designer garments you sport.
3. I can’t find any suitable work: You have tried to find a more flexible job but there’s nothing around.
FIX: This has definitely got to be the worst excuse of them all. How have so many actors before you managed to find a balance? Or were they just one of the “lucky ones”. You honestly can do anything and everything you want in your lifetime. And this starts with taking a job that meets with your minimum criteria. Set out what YOU want, what you can live on, and find that comfortable place. If you put that out into the world it will suddenly appear exactly as you wanted.
So how does this magic work?
Einstein could do anything….so can you!
There are no explicit rules to life, no bible for pursuing your dreams (or I’d be a millionaire), and no hard and fast rules on what job you must take. But there are some things you can do. Everything you put out into the world comes back in the same way. If you project positivity, love and good energy then guess what?….yes indeed, you get that back in various ways. In the same manner, if you set your mind to believing that the perfect job that offers you flexibility, reasonable money and something that is also interesting is just around the corner – it will be! What you want is what you get.
TRUTH: We can create a whole future for ourselves that is real, and exactly what we want if we just believe it.
DARE: Spend 10-20 minutes this week with a pen and a pencil writing down your number one goal for the 2011, and how good it would feel if you got it. Literally map out what you want in a big picture in the middle, and all the things that are positive about realising that dream. What are the things that lead you there. Then stick that bad boy piece of paper to a prominent place in your bedroom or personal space where you will see it daily. Watch what happens.
FACT: I spent a lot of time letting the monkey ride me because I felt I was letting down my family and myself by not pursuing the corporate dream. Turns out nobody but me cared. And I have never been happier in my life than I am now chasing my dreams daily.
This article appeared as a guest blog this week in Beckicklesie. Be sure to check her wonderful blog out.
One thought on “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, which job will I do?”
i agree with all of above. I have had a succession of GREAT JOBS with that have been very much second to acting work/castings/etc/etc – with supportive bosses, fun people and that pay enough to survive even when working part-time hours. These jobs didn't fall into my lap – I just kept looking for the right job – and saying 'no' to the wrong one – even when I could hardly do food shopping let alone clothes shopping (!!!) and was desperate to say 'yes' to any job – and to just have some money – i really made an effort to persevere until I found the right job (ANG – you told me to do this!). Friends and family understand re having no money (in the periods between the jobs that suit doing acting as well) and never being able to do things / go on holidays etc – in fact, they support 'the dream' by getting excited with me about the fact that I am doing all I can to get there. It isn't easy to have zero funds to do things that I want to do BUT I am happier in general than i would be doing a job I hated whether I had money or not (have done this too!). the minute a job gets in way of what i really want to be doing then I know that's it's time to leave. I truly believe that if we want a job that works alongside an acting career then we will find it. be prepared to slog and do things that you don't really want to do for hardly any money … you'll be smiling on the inside :-)) – AND might just land a job that you enjoy and that works for you and your acting career!! leaving a job that doesn't allow you to do what you want will take you one step closer to the job that does. it just takes a little bit of courage, a leap of faith and a positive attitude 🙂