Filming and being on set is what we thrive on as actors, and whilst we love the sense of creative achievement when it’s all over, it can also leave us feeling physically and mentally drained. Being an actor is all about balance.
With most normal jobs you have set hours and at the end of the day, you get to go home and rest and spend time with your family. Unfortunately, acting doesn’t make it that easy for us. There’s are no guarantees about when your next role is coming up and that’s why most actors also work normal day jobs alongside their acting jobs. Even most Hollywood actors have a second source of income to get them through quiet times of the year.
With the cost of living ever increasing, it’s important to make sure that you have the right balance between work and acting to ensure that you don’t fall into financial hardship. A lot of aspiring actors make the mistake of dropping their day job with the first role they secure or the moment they sign with an agent, and then find themselves waiting for their next role and wondering how they’re going to make it through the month.
Here are a few pieces of advice on keeping the balance:
Plan B isn't there in case you fail, it’s there to help get you to plan A
Most people assume that having a plan B distracts you from working on plan A, but that’s not the case. Plan B could be anything; it could be working part-time at a theatre, freelance social media work, or anything that has flexible hours that doesn’t take up all of your time and focus.
Your backup plan should give you the freedom to take on projects as and when they arise whilst helping you build a career focused on something else you are passionate about. We all need to be able to pay our bills and financial trouble is the last thing you want to be worrying about while preparing for an audition and learning lines.
Find something that works for you. A good example is Emma Watson - she got a Bachelors Degree in English literature whilst working on film sets and between acting jobs.
Don’t be afraid to work
It’s totally normal as an aspiring actor to fear that you will fall into the trap of working a miserable 9-5 job that gives you no sense of satisfaction or fulfilment. And realistically it wouldn’t give you the flexibility to make it to auditions or jobs.
Use your creativity and find things you’re good at or don’t mind doing, and get yourself out there doing it as a way of earning an income. More and more businesses are promoting a healthy work-life balance with flexible hours which is great news for us actors.
Believe it or not Brad Pitt’s first job in Hollywood was actually to wear a chicken costume for work! He had to stand outside in a chicken costume and wave at passing would-be customers. If Brad can do it, so can you!
Don’t take life too seriously
Acting requires determination, persistence and passion, but don’t let your passion for acting damage your well being.
As an actor, you will get turned down for roles, and it’s completely normal to get frustrated and second guess your career choice. But remember that it’s all part of the journey.
Don’t seclude yourself to working all day and training all night. It’s important to get out and have fun with your loved ones too. Giving yourself some time to let your hair down and enjoy new experiences will help keep those creative juices flowing.
Remember it is just as important to work on yourself as much as it is your craft, so whilst it is important to make the time for acting courses and acting classes, it is just as important to find time for yourself. But most importantly just remember to enjoy your acting journey and embrace every moment you get being able to perform.