Im an actress you may or may not know, iv trained and worked various jobs since graduating from drama school and I am based in London regularly auditioning. No iv not had that ‘big break’ or huge tv role but watch this space. One day ;). Before I trained, I really did not think twice about having to survive in the real world doing what I love. It didn’t occur to me that it would actually be difficult…
Now, this is not a doom and gloom post because let’s face it, who wants to read a depressing post about how difficult life is and paying bills and working out your schedule blah blah blah. You’ve probably all heard it before and everyone has struggles regardless of your career so I will not go into that.
What I will do is be a little more honest with you. If you’ve ever thought about acting, being an actress or going into the industry then you may want to read. If you’re in the industry you may relate or disagree etc. Either way, I hope to give you some kind of insight.
- When your working, it does not feel like work
This is so true! I will start with the positives. So iv been acting since I can remember and iv always had a passion for it. Creating something that leaves an impression or impact on someone has always given me a buzz. I love it! I love being on stage or working on a role or a song. Digging deep into a character and digging deep into myself to bring out something real when I’m playing a role. It’s all very fulfilling and I could very happily do this for the rest of my life. Being an actress does not feel like a job!
- When you’re NOT working, it is tough
Now I will be honest with you. Unfortunately, there’s no stability and you could be out of a job quicker than your in one. You have to hustle! As a working-class actress, I have to pay my own rent, bills and afford to live in London. On top of juggling auditions, callbacks, castings and working shifts or jobs. I currently work about 4 different jobs which allows me to have a flexible schedule and move things around quickly for auditions. It’s tough!
- The hustle will make or break you
Now what I mean by this is, sometimes you have to make ends meet and sometimes things don’t go to plan. So much instability and constant rejection can take its toll. BUT if you keep going and take each day at a time you can get through it. Don’t take the rejection personally and try and learn from each audition or role. A lot of friends in my year at drama school have quit and I don’t blame them. It’s a tough industry and can make you miserable. Or it can make you into an entrepreneur. Self-employed and teach you how to constantly sell yourself. Learn how to succeed in difficult situations and be the CEO of your brand. Like how i turned that round then ;).
- Actors are very supportive
I never usually hear people talk about this. But its true. Actors are so supportive of each other. I can’t tell you how many times iv moaned about the industry to my fellow acting friends. They listen, understand, sympathise and always without fail, motivate me to keep going. Whenever anyone books a job, you will see hundreds of likes on facebook, supportive messages and love. People are generally happy for others when they book a job because they know how incredibly difficult it is. They also know that you have to love your craft to even be in the industry in the first place. We all have something in common and that is such a lovely community to be in. Regardless of how difficult it can be at times.
- Money comes and goes…
Ha! This is just a fact but I can’t tell you how relevant it is. So iv had times when Iv earnt crazy amounts and other times iv earnt just enough to cover my rent. Because of how unstable it is you do have to be smart with your money. Since being out of work Iv learnt about investments and other ways to earn a regular income without working a regular 9-5. eg blogging. The money will come and go and especially while your in your 20’s. You’re figuring it all out anyway without worrying about saving for a house etc. Although that is a goal of mine in a few years. I’m focusing on keeping a steady income from being creative, smart and investing my money at the right times. Do your research guys, it will help you out.
- Sometime’s you have to choose between a call-back or a ‘side job’
This is something that bothers me! I try my hardest to be in line with the universe so this does not happen but now and then it does. Iv had times where iv had a few call-backs for a role, it’s going well and then the final call-back would be on the day you had work. You’ve already cancelled loads of shifts and you have to make that choice. Possibly lose your side job or possibly lose out on a role? No one can ever make that decision for you but what I would say is always be realistic. Follow your dreams and sort it out afterwards. Your doing the side job in order to audition so why would you choose that over a call-back? Don’t get caught up in your side job that it takes over. Although it easily can, remember why you started.
- Acting outside of ‘work’ is just as important
Now what I mean is, some actors and actress feel like they are failing if they are not constantly in a contract or role. However, I feel this is where the mistake happens. When you’re not currently in a role. Why are you not going to class? Or workshops or working on scripts, songs, learning an extra craft to help your work? Its vital time to improve your craft and simply focus on yourself. When you’re in a role your focus is on that particular part or production. Your learning and improving but it’s relative to that part. When your not, what better time to work on yourself. I learnt this and I’ve improved so much. Also opened my mind to different parts of the industry. Being an actress has helped me outside of acting in so many ways.
- Self Development is just as important
As an actress, we deal with a lot. Let’s be honest. Rejection, pressure, expectations, stress. It’s a very personal business, however, the trick is to not take it personally. Iv also found working on my self, and developing my own mindful skills has helped me grow in leaps. I try to read books, listen to youtube videos or podcasts. All about improving yourself, mastering your mind and how to make the most out of your 24hours. All of these things improve you as a person and expand your knowledge which you can then take into your next audition or role.
As I said, this is not a doom and gloom post. I simply wanted to clear up a few things but also shed some light on the situations us working class actors may come across. There is always a way!
I hope you enjoyed reading this post. Its a very honest one for me and I hope it can help anyone somehow. Iv tried to give you some insight, being realistic yet positive.
Being positive is the key, no one wants to audition or employ a negative person. Stay hopeful and take each day as it comes, I’m sure it will all work out. We have one life, why not spend it pursuing something you love?
Lots of love