This is a shout out to my fellow acting peeps out there. First of all, let’s draw a big X over the cliche of the “Aspiring Actor.”
There is nothing I detest more (mild exaggeration) than when someone says to me or one of my fellow actors, “OH you’re aspiring to be an actor.”
Definition of Aspiring: to long, aim, or seek ambitiously; be eagerly desirous, especially for something great or of high value
So, after you just explained to someone that you act in theater, you do commercials, etc, they negate everything you just said by saying you aren’t there yet, which is insulting. I am pretty sure what people mean to say is “OH you’re hoping to be famous and rich and be a well-known actor!” OK so part of this may be true but if actors were defined by this, then there wouldn’t be very many actors.
Let’s look at more stereotypes:
-waiter / waitress
-live in NYC or LA
-agents get all the work for you
-you must be broke
-you must be a “struggling artist”, which I think sums all of this up.
So how can we empower ourselves to use our talents to work in non-conventional ways while we wait to hear back from that audition or agent or casting company?
I have a couple of ideas for you! First of all, I think it is important to find a way to give back. And no, I am not saying giving away your talent for free. Yes, a few unpaid student films in the beginning of your career are awin-win for both parties, but if you’ve been at this awhile, it’s time to buckle down and creative with your creativity.
It doesn’t matter where you live. Reach out to your local hospital and / or university and seek out a professional in the medical program. Ask if they have a simulated patient program and explain that you are an actor. And you are brilliant and so on. This is one of the most empowering and “good vibe” generating experiences you can have as an actor. You are acting in real time with a fully loaded character using crazy improv skills AND helping a medical student learn how to interact with patients. It can also pay very well too.
ACTOR COACHING / TEACHING
If you are a trained actor with a lot of experience, particularly on film, coaching can be a profitable and viable option for you. Start out by branching out in your community, seeking out actors at local and / or community theaters and schools and try to find the green actors (note how I didn’t say aspiring). This makes you feel good because you are helping others AND using your talents to get paid for it.
Teaching can be an iffy one. But I think it’s important for everyone to try it out at least once. Find out if you like little kids, older kids, college kids and then you can seek out drama schools, programs, etc in the area where you live and offer your services. This pays more if you have a Masters Degree, but in my experience it is not always necessary! You can even offer private teaching on your own and make some money helping to shape the young creative minds of the future. That is never a bad thing!
Of course, this can go as paid OR unpaid but I am putting it out there because either way it will save you money. typically if you usher at local professional theaters you can stay and see the show for free! We all know how expensive theater can be these days. You are helping out a local theater while saving some cash!
Some theaters pay their ushers too which of course would be the ideal situation. Ask around!
Sometimes as artists, it is good to get out of our heads and go out there and serve someone else instead of chasing after the next audition and constantly worrying about how we are going to get hired or put food on the table. These are just a couple of ideas and I encourage you to leave some of your own and let me know if you have tried any of these already!
Have a great week and get creative with your work!