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?
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.