If you’re struggling to make it as an actor, you understand how hard it can be. It seems like your life is taken over with auditions, endless casting calls and of course, your real paying job. Unless you’re incredibly fortunate to be earning enough to survive without picking up extra work, managing the two together can be a real challenge.
One of the most important things to consider is having a job with flexible enough hours that will allow you to attend auditions. An often seen TV trope is the struggling actor who works as a waiter or bartender. The reason for this is because it’s quite often the case – these types of job offer flexible working patterns with lots of opportunity for shift swapping. A lot of these kinds of jobs also involve evening work – helpful as the majority of auditions will take place during the day. It’s important to be up front with your boss about your extra-curricular activities and be helpful and accommodating where possible. This is more likely to enamour your boss to your acting career and hopefully make them more likely to allow you time off if you need to go to an audition.
Try to get a job which is stimulating enough to keep you busy and not wishing away your days while waiting for the next audition to come along. Sometimes a long period of time can pass between auditions, and sometimes if these auditions aren’t successful it can get a little wearing. Having a job that you can enjoy will take your mind off this and won’t leave you feeling like you’re not accomplishing anything in life. This is a double edged sword, as you don’t want a job that’s too stimulating as it may distract your attention from what you really want to be doing. Try to find the right balance between them and you’ll find it a lot easier to juggle the two.
Another important point is that if you are highly skilled in something, you are likely to work less hours. This is because you can charge more for your services. Servers and other such jobs often are quite low paying because they don’t require massive amounts of skill or training. However, jobs which require a lot of skill generally pay more. This means you can probably work less hours – for the same amount of pay. Leaving you with plenty of free hours to go to casting calls and auditions. Also make use of weekends, bank holidays, annual leave and sick days. Most jobs offer this time off and while it can be tempting to not do a lot on your days off, try to discipline yourself into using those days for advancing your acting career. Plan ahead and use this time to book auditions, or attend acting classes, even to take part in small am dram productions.