Job balance.

  • Craig Burke

    Actor

    I know that we all want to be in this industry because we are talented individuals right, but westill need to earn money at the end of the day whether it comes from acting or maybe another industry altogether like a 9 til 5 job. but how do you plan do it.

    • 4th May 2010
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  • User Deleted

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    Dont do 9-5

    Try and get a flexi hour job,box office waiter bar man ect.

    less stressfull in terms of getting time off for auditions ect.

    • 19th Apr 2010
    • 1
  • User Deleted

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    I agree, 9 - 5 is not a good idea. I'm working one at the moment and it seriously restricts the auditions I can attend, but I'm so far in at the moment that I cant afford to NOT be in a 9-5. At the moment I have to be very selective with the jobs I take and just pray that I get 'the one' that means I can get out of the office for good.

    I'm fast running out of holidays to take and am probably gonna end up taking unpaid leave and balancing it with paid work.

    • 19th Apr 2010
    • 2
  • Jonathan Goodwin

    Actor

    I think that, ultimately, the money issue (in order to avoid selling The Big Issue!) is what dictates to what extent an individual succeeds in our industry. Bills have to be paid, and if you're single, or without a partner who can support you when times are lean, then it's tough to carry on regardless and gun for auditions et al.

    • 19th Apr 2010
    • 3
  • User Deleted

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    How do Londoners do it???

    • 19th Apr 2010
    • 4
  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    Some of you won't like the answer:

    1) If possible live in a crap house or digs so you pay little rent unless you find a really good deal.

    2) Shop at Primark, avoid expensive meals, etc

    3) No agents will take you seriously if you do 9-5. Agents will tolerate it for a while and eventually drop those who won't do castings.

    Sadly, no one said it was easy being an actor.

    • 19th Apr 2010
    • 5
  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    Yes, there are 9-5 jobs, and 9-5 jobs, of course. What everyone is agreed on (and quite rightly) is that, if you are holding down some kind of standard job, it has to have FLEXIBILITY, otherwise it is a non-starter for you. It can be hard enough finding energy after working long hours at another job to do your best work at auditions or in performance, let alone finding the time to actually win time away from work so that you can go to auditions. But you have to do it if you are serious about your acting career. The trick is to be working in either a) situations where the employers owe you personally very little e.g. most temp jobs and, where if you are 'let go' because you require too much time off, it is not exactly of life changing significance - although you may gain a bad reputation with temp agencies if they feel you are consistently unreliable. Alternatively, many temp jobs are on short term contracts, and you work on the basis that you earn money in spurts of activity, and then take 'downtime' to find acting work inbetween or b) situations where you find a job that you can do in close personal agreement with friendly and symapthetic management who will agree to work around other commitments and allow you flexible patterns of working so that, when you are working on a play, say, you can get away without having to be present at specific hours of the day, but can e.g. work evenings, weekends, call your own shift pattern. Another alternative is to have a skill that can be used from home.

    Most actors are divided over whether or not it is desirable to be performing at all for no money. The current state of the industry (especially at its 'lower end') is such that 95% of all easily accessible jobs are paying nothing or next to nothing. Some will argue that this doesn't matter if you can find projects of good quality, nonetheless, and need to raise your profile through actual performance in order to secure the elements that *may* serve to increase your earning power within your chosen career, such as having a decent agency representation. Others would say that you are missing out on nothing by turning down non-paying jobs as a default, and working solidly to earn money elsewhere in the meantime, while waiting for relevant sounding auditions that will pay. Clearly, if you are being paid decent rates (not that these are always massively good in themselves, but still...) for the work you do while you are doing it, then you (temporarily, at least) should not need to be worrying about alternate supplies of money. So, you look for the paying work only, and spend the rest of the time outside of acting working to accumulate the money that will see you through the lean times. The only issue is whether or not, by failing to do acting work except sporadically, you are lessening your chances of being cast because you are not seen to be working, and you are failing to make good networking connections within the industry that help to smooth your path. This remains a very contentious debate, and every actor responds to the problem differently, though most find, after perhaps a year or two of being prepared to do non paying projects for the sake of experience, that they grow more and more reluctant to accept these.

    One certainty is that, if you feel you can only sustain the lifestyle you want through being paid at the rate of 9-5 work, or that 9-5 work is of such abiding concern to you that you have no spare time (or money) to continue to improve your acting craft, and keep your interest rooted in the industry, then there is no point in trying to make it as an actor. You may as well keep acting as a hobby and go back to working steady hours.

    • 20th Apr 2010
    • 6
  • Claire Dodin

    Actor

    This very question is probably the hardest part of being an actor.

    But you've got to set your priorities and decide what is most important.

    In my case, I did everything that I needed to do in order to never miss a casting.

    I do not have a family to sustain, my choices may have been different then.

    The best advice I can give you is to maintain very tight accounts and only spend what you have in order to not get into debts; because repaying debts will be much harder than not get into them.

    Getting an evening and week-end job will reduce the possibility of castings clashing with it.

    Also only applying for paid work will reduce the time wasted on auditions and jobs that will not really further your career nor help your finances.

    Tough choices need to be made, and not everyone will manage to ditch the day job. But it is possible to juggle everything if you work hard and make smart choices.

    Good luck!

    • 20th Apr 2010
    • 7
  • Simon Burbage

    Actor

    And if you get an acting gig - don't spend the money before you've been paid! I learnt that the hard way...

    • 20th Apr 2010
    • 8
  • User Deleted

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    I think the point about only doing paid work is a good one - it can cost so much going to castings anyway, why bother for one that won't even pay? I'm lucky enough to have a flexible part time job as a musician, working 2 and a half days a week (ostensibly set days, but they are flexible and as long as i do the hours they don't mind). If you have other skills, see if there is a acreative or flexible way to use them which will work around castings etc.. Blake is right about agents not seeing actors as serious unless they are really throwing themselves into their acting. When you do find a job that fits, be choosy about the acting work you do so you're not shooting yourself in the foot :) And ALL the best!!! x

    • 20th Apr 2010
    • 9
  • Simon Burbage

    Actor

    I was lucky to find a job that offered me flexibility, if i'm good to them, they're good to me. The work isnt great, but I recognise the value of a workplace that understands and is sympathetic to my acting needs - my point is if you get a job like this, do everything to keep it!

    Saying all that, i'd love to be in Vanessa's position, being a musician when not being an actor sounds awesome! Lucky you :-)

    • 20th Apr 2010
    • 10
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    I completely agree with Simon! Finding a job that understands your circumstances and is willing to accommodate them is very rare indeed so it is in your best interest to scratch their back if they scratch yours! I was lucky enough to be offered a rolling contract for a company which means being paid at an hourly rate at minimum wage BUT I am free to go auditions whenever and leave for a job if i get it. It's also nice to know that if a job is over and there's nothing for the next while, you can still earn to pay those bills that seem to cripple us at the worst of times. I had no idea that this sort of thing existed until the beginning of the year so I would encourage people to look into it!

    And yeah, being a musician when not acting sounds immense! I want to be you...

    • 20th Apr 2010
    • 11
  • Amber Elliott

    Actor

    I've tried all different ways to balance my acting career with my paying bills job and I found the 9-5 much easier to juggle and far more flexible that Bar/Ushering work.

    Yes in bar work you can leave at anytime but they started getting funny about me not being able to sign up to masses of shifts weeks in advance - knowing all the time I was an actress.

    If you can find SM/Stage Management I found that a good source of money (if a little disheartening) but actually temping offered me the best all round flexibility - and while doing that I found a really lovely company who understand what I do and allow me time off and I can use the facilities to apply for acting work. I take holiday when I need to and half days to cover auditions etc. They even come and see my shows :O) And have made it very clear that when I need to leave, I give notice and leave.

    It's really a personal choice and what ever works for you - if you try a few different ways I'm sure you'll find something that fits...it's not as good as actually being paid money to acting all the year round but for now its fine!

    • 20th Apr 2010
    • 12
  • Christine Hounslow

    Actor

    A friend of mine stacks shelves for M & S from 7.00 a.m. to 11.00 a.m. in the food department, and delivers the local free paper, and is also a Kleeneze rep. He manages fine and is free for most of the day. Tesco offer a "twilight" shift - I think from about 6.00 p.m. to 12.00 midnight - another friend does this and gets by OK

    • 20th Apr 2010
    • 13
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Similar to Vanessa i work as a singer and work weekends and sometimes during the week, ive got a seperate agent for this and can take and leave jobs as i wish which is great.

    Its good to find something you can do to do with the skills you have like teach even, its flexible your still working within the industry also you will be working alongside people that understand if you have a casting to go to and would support you.

    I live in the lake district and do quite alot of promotional work around the north too which is also flexible, great pay and can be fun.

    To be honest its not easy financially to be an actor but thats the risk you take becuse you love what you do :) x

    • 20th Apr 2010
    • 14
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Where ever you work, however understanding they say they are...it all changes when you start getting auditions. Even if a job says they're flexible, as soon as you start having to take time off for auditions, they will start getting funny. This is understandable I suppose as they want you to be fully committed to them. There really is no solution or ideal job out there. I'm lucky enough to work a 9-5 job where they understand that I need time off for auditions, shows, etc. Personally I think it's best to find somewhere regular and get to know people....if they know you and see how dedicated you are then most of the time they understand. I would rather this than work in a bar or stacking shelves...but this is my personal choice. I've done shift work, casual work. It doesn't mean I'm less dedicated to acting...far from it...but unfortunately I'm not in the position to not work! If only life was as simple as living in a shit house and shopping in Primark!

    • 20th Apr 2010
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  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    Life is that simple Geri- but many times actors want to have the expensive tastes and still work as actors.

    Ive learnt that half of what we think we need are actually wants and not needs. Although unpaisd work isnt the ideal.. a temp job gives you the flexibility to take time off, do an unpaid job etc.. the main problem, is that people max out thier overdrafts cos they arent prepared to scrimp and save.

    Lats year when the recession hit- I took a night job as a janitor for crap pay cleaning floors- many people refused to take the job when I told then they needed people. I have no sympathy for such people then.

    I dont think people should even consider a mortgage or such commitments if you are an actor- if you have a good amount saved up and can do it, fair enough but for the most part- actors are GYPSIES. They historically moved around and were never settled... I donmt think its changed.

    You dont HAVE to live in a trendy area, or buy clothes at H and M or even NEXT etc when Primark will do etc.. its about cutting costs- which is the spirit iof what Im saying. The majority of your capital should go on advancing your career- thats what it takes.

    The point I am making is that I see so many actors ( sadly the younger ones) who assume they can live, drink, party and shop till they drop and everyone else must accept that, when they dont have time for auditions!!( obviously this is a generalisation) This career is a stern mistress and you have to sacrifice comfort, convenience and dignity sometimes to survive. I HATED the janitor job but I did it cos I would rather be working than living on benefits.

    Feel free to disagree with me, but thats what i think.

    • 20th Apr 2010
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  • Andrew Baguma

    Actor

    Hi guys, I am glad someone asked the question! and I have just been reading each and everyone's posts and I would not even compare myself to the talent you guys posses but the only way you will probably able to survive is start doing something else on the side that can generate something for now. After uni I couldn't live anywhere nor afford anything so I decided to get a 9 to 5 not only to support myself but 2younger brothers, however I still went for castings and found myself getting drawn to doing extra work! Anyway before the violins start playing! I was made redundant last year in November and took it as a sign to do what I love but I still freelance as a web & graphic designer and DJ as well. Money is not that great but do take on some contract work here and there to get by. Good luck.

    • 20th Apr 2010
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  • Robin Miller

    Actor

    I do supply teaching. A lot of supply teachers are artists, singers, dancers, musicians and actors. It can be hard work, but it's very flexible.

    Other actors I know do agency nursing, telesales, promotional work, front-of-house, bar work and office temping. All these are reasonably flexible.

    I agree - if you want to act, you have to have another way of earning a living, and it has to be flexible enough to allow you time off for work and auditions (albeit unpaid time off).

    (This is another reason why it makes me so mad when actors are expected to work for no money. We work hard at our 'other' jobs in order to live - we shouldn't be expected to prop up the acting industry as well!)

    Good luck.

    • 20th Apr 2010
    • 18
  • Simon Burbage

    Actor

    I think the difficulty of balancing the two can work as a positive thing. Every time i do a non-acting job and don't enjoy it, it reminds me that I couldn't do it for a living! I cant find the right words right now (just finished day job - tired - boo!) but it all makes me think that i'm now an actor by default. Does that make sense? It's only been two years but every other bit of work has always been to fund the acting, it's never become about the work itself. I've known others fall into the trap of full time work and watch acting slip away as they commit themselves to earning a crust, there's nothing wrong in that, i've just never felt that way. In conclusion... Day jobs re-enforces my acting will!

    • 20th Apr 2010
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