Tips on staying motivated as a working actor through the thick and thin

Authenticme By Authenticme, 5th Oct 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Art>Forms & Genres

Wondering how to balance working as an actor with paying the bills and maintaining your relationships? Here's some tips on keeping afloat

How to balance your life as a working actor

This is the eternal question, and the challenge most drama graduates face once they take the leap of faith into the profession.

The first thing to say, is if you have the desire to act, that is likely to persist. You may need to get a 'day job', you may have wolves at the door so to speak, or family issues to attend to, but the passion will still be there- which is good news. Who we are inside remains constant, even if adversity and set backs threaten to overwhelm us at times.

The difference between those who forge a path as a working actor, versus those who give up is more persistence than luck. Your acting career needs to be central to what you do, yes you need to have income, but your acting career is your 'baby' so to speak. Nurture it, feed it, and do something towards it daily. It will not run itself, even if you have an agent you need to keep it 'on the boil'. Slow and steady wins the race, there is no set 'career path' for actors - only jobs that lead to more jobs, and contacts which lead to further contacts.

Whatever you give your attention to will grow, and there are enough hours in the day to juggle acting with other, sideline income. In terms of what that income is, one person may take on a 9-5 job, and find time to fit in auditions during evenings and weekends. There are also sideline jobs like telesales, ushering, tutoring, which can support acting - your chosen vocation, but need to be manageable in the longer term rather than soul-destroying. There are those who have a trade alongside acting which is often advised, but make sure that does not detract from your goal. The good news is actors have many transferable skills and usually strong interpersonal skills which can be selling points for sideline jobs. If you want to act, you will find a way. If you want to make anything work, you will find a way.

It's so easy to become derailed and feel uncertain in your pursuit of 'the dream', that is being a working actor - but if you are not prepared to commit to it, don't do it at all. Commitment is key in anything, and will reap rewards. Acting is a job, so needs to be worked at, with the same diligence as any other profession. If you know you are doing your best in terms of your daily pursuit of becoming a better actor, you will be able to remain confident in what you have to offer and keep your personal integrity. There is always something you can work on, whether it's by reading up on your craft, attending rehearsed readings or watching theatre - always keep your hand in and feed that baby.

It's important to do a self-inventory every so often and make sure you are happy in what you're doing. The profession will always be there, after all there are roles for all ages, so if you need to take a break then so be it. You need to have your basic needs in place and know your bills are taken care of to approach the job of acting in a professional way. And casting directors can smell desperation a mile away - if you desperately need a role, it's more than likely you won't get it. How much better to walk into an audition knowing it isn't life or death, infact I heard one actress say doors started to open the less desperate she felt, and therefore came across.

Another piece of advice is to stay connected to others, and pool your resources with other actors. Ideas will be generated, theatre companies may even begin, and acting is after all about the people you are working with, rather than being a solitary art. Everyone needs help, and although the industry can seem quite hush-hush about certain issues, often with a strong sense of competition, there are also helpful actors to support you on your way. There is room for everyone, and the key is to find people you are comfortable working with, just like directors work with the same actors again and again.

Use your time wisely, turn off that tv, stay focused and surround yourself with people who support what you are working towards. If that means some people need to be 'trimmed' from your life - namely those who don't support your talent - make those changes. The longer you stay in the profession, the more knowledge there is to be gained, but just make sure you are moving forward and not stagnating. Self belief is key, fake it til you make it if necessary but keep your pot on the boil.


Acting, Actors, Balancing Acting And Life, Making A Living As An Actor

Meet the author

author avatar Authenticme
I'm an actor, musician, teacher and life coach. I will be publishing articles related to those topics, as well as common interest topics

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