To quit or not to quit...

  • User Deleted

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    I've been seriously considering for the last few weeks getting a 'proper job' because the acting work seems to be non existent at the moment and quite frankly I'm fed up! I'm sick and tired of working temp jobs for a rubbish wage and applying for castings on here which don't even get viewed. I just feel as I'm plodding along at the moment and aren't getting anywhere near where I want to be but don't know what to do about it. Anybody else feeling fed or up is it just me? There's no job I'd rather do but as the weeks go on it seems more and more unlikely that I'm ever going to get that 'break' which will make it all seem worth while. ho hum...

    • 12th Mar 2008
    • 1817
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  • Kenny Richards-Preston

    Actor

    Hi Sara.

    I'm sorry you feel this way, but it's a point we all get to, and it's really a matter of what you want to do with your life. Personally I can't think of any other job I'd rather do, but that's just me, and when I get to feeling like that it spurs me on to do something about it.

    You hit a slump in ANY job, if it was meant to be easy, everyone would be doing it.

    Try changing your agent, if you're down about the castings from here, chase your agent to see why they aren't getting you the auditions. There's a general lack of work at the moment, for whatever reason, but this happens every now and then.

    Put yourself a few years in the future and see if you'd regret leaving, or, for the same reasons, staying as you are. As with everything in life, it's about the choices we make and what we've had to sacrifice and overcome to get there that defines us as who we are! we make both bad and good choices, but it doesn't mean for right or wrong reasons. What's important to you? And what do you want out of your career, not life in this instance, we all want happiness and security in that.

    Whatever your decision is Sara, do it for you and nobody else.

    Sorry it's not career advice, I can only offer my opinion as a friend.

    Kenny

    • 10th Mar 2008
    • 1
  • Rebecca Probyn

    Actor

    Oi Bull! don;t give up my lovely you are talented actress. I know how you feel we all get like it sometimes. I was feeling like that a while ago thinking great is this the way the rest of my life is going to be? a bad parady of withnail & I? It gets better we all have low patches... CHin up love it'll get better x x

    • 10th Mar 2008
    • 2
  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    I will say that while you cant control if you get stardome etc, you CAN control a large amount of things- such as honestly looking at your marketability, maybe getting a new agent- perhaps writing off for jobs NOT on CCP etc- and doing a few fringe shows to maybe get a new agent-

    It wont just magically get better-

    You have choices and you have descisions like all us actors. I have come to a place where having a life and being in relationship with others is more important than feeling disconnected and on tour etc all the time- but Im still an actor but its not where I base my ultimate signifigance on at all. I dont relay on it to ultimatley define who I am.

    If I did this I would be a nervous wreck and this is what almost happened.

    Go for some career advice at the Actors Centre, and be brutal with your marketabilty, your agent etc and really seek to change what is NOT working.

    You are a woman first and foremost and a precious human being with inherent value. This is your starting point. You are not defined by the "business".

    x

    • 10th Mar 2008
    • 3
  • Kenny Richards-Preston

    Actor

    Not saying you were meaning this Blake, but I was referring to sacrifice and hurdles in life that define who we are, not the business either.

    We have to do what makes us happy, becoming an actor isn't going to make you a star, it's like every other job, it takes hard graft to make any headway.

    I'm sure Sarah (sorry I called you Sara earlier) knows this, but feels generally down and to rely on income outside her chosen profession isn't making her feel any better.

    I won't lie and say it'll get easier, and as Rebecca has said, something will come along, you only have to read the biographies of Denhom Elliot, Alec Guiness and others of that genre, they were out of work for YEARS at a time, and in some cases they never got a break, as with Burgess Meredith untill they reached their 50's.

    If you still feel passionate about the work you do, or wish to do, then stick with it, because the personal rewards from it are limitless whereas the financial rewards necessarily aren't.

    Blakes response regards re-marketting yourself are really valid, we should, not reinvent, but certanly repacking ourselves regularly.

    Hope it helps

    • 10th Mar 2008
    • 4
  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    I will also say that something which has been life changing to me is that being in a West end show etc will to a DEGREE make me happy, but not if Im doing it for the wrong reasons....the times I am unemployed do not mean that I am sitting around doing nothing but they may be and ( in my case, they are) a God given gift for me to deal with myself, where I place my ultimate worth and focus and the way i respond to others and to the way I feel about myself.

    Too many of us actors are subtly trying to get the industry to affirm us in a place where it cannot ever do that- and this is a problem. Im still focused on getting jobs but its not the ONLY thing anymore.

    All of us have had hardships and unemployment and topugh times- this does not mean you are meant to leave the business- it may mean you are to readjust your priorities and see things in a different way so you can continue.

    If we palce ouir value on a good job, a mortgage, or even having achieved certian things, maybe that is not good- I have this same battle- theres nothing wrong with ambition at all- but it is not the centre of what defines us.

    Just a thought.

    • 10th Mar 2008
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  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    No, Kenny- not at all- was in no way directed towards you.

    :)

    • 10th Mar 2008
    • 6
  • Kenny Richards-Preston

    Actor

    "certainly be repackaging ourselves"

    repacking? What was I thinking?

    • 10th Mar 2008
    • 7
  • Sharon Cannings

    Actor

    We've all been there- most of us still there, in fact! There's no reason why you shouldn't be working- you've got loads of credits, you look gorgeous...and that's the real problem- when everything is right and there still aren't any castings it's SO demoralising. It's a cliche to say that this business isn't fair but it really isn't.

    Talk to your agent, ask them what he/she has been putting you up for. It may well be that they are working really hard too but the luck isn't with you. If the relationship's not working, certainly change your agent, but don't ditch them before signing with someone else. If you think it's hard with representation, it's twenty times harder without! (trust me on this)

    It comes down to cold hard cash at the end of the day. If you can stomach the next decade temping then do it. It's a means to an end, ie paying the bills whilst you pursue far more interesting things. Never think that you are stuck there- it's a temporary measure to get what you want, without getting in the way of your career.

    But stay as busy as you are, either doing classes or fringe work to remind yourself who you are. If you could afford it, I would recommend a post grad course at one of NCDT schools which would raise your profile in some employers' eyes.

    But again it's money, money, money. If we could live on fresh air and pay the bills with our talent the world would be SUCH a better place!

    Keep smiling

    xx

    • 10th Mar 2008
    • 8
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    To be...

    Or...

    Not to be...

    That IS the question!!!

    Well the minute you jack it in...

    You will find a great acting offer of work coming your way...

    Thats life...

    What you can look for, is a job that offers a certain amount of flexibility, so you can still go for that all important part!

    Nothing is easy otherwise we would all be doing it...

    There is nothing like persistance and determination; it is one of the (few) talents I have !!!

    **:~))

    • 10th Mar 2008
    • 9
  • Kenny Richards-Preston

    Actor

    hehe, you're not wrong there Clive :-)

    • 10th Mar 2008
    • 10
  • Kevin Patrick Buxton

    Actor

    I ask the same question at least 4 times a month. This proffesion has cost me 2 marriages and god knows how much money. I tend to set cross road chech points in my life say this time next year or by the time I reach a certain age etc where I have to sit down and take stock of where I am, how much it's cost me (not always money) where I expected to be, what it will still take if needed and if I have time or if it's still worth it. There comes a point when you wont be able to get out even if you want to because you will have lost contact with the real working world so you have to keep a very close eye on what you are prepaired to pay for this very demanding line of work. me,I must be mad as Im still battleing on and expect to burn all other bridges very soon, so in some ways I now have no other choice but to see it through. Off to find a long bit of rope now and a dark room with high ceiling !!!!

    • 10th Mar 2008
    • 11
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Its a bit like getting a days work from your agent, ofering peanuts; and then getting an offer of a well paid job - on exactly the same day...which you have to turn down...

    Grrrr; and it was the only days work you did for the whole of that month!!!

    Ahhhrrrr X*Z!!!*XX

    • 10th Mar 2008
    • 12
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    First be reassured you are not alone every actor feels like that from time to time.

    An awful lot of actors do give up mostly due to financial pressures. Out of my contemporaries at drama school there are now only three of us still working as actors. Only recently one of my best friend gave up after 30 years even though she'd had some very impressive credits on her CV. She said after 30 years of being an actor the fire had gone out of her belly and she was heartily sick of living on the breadline. I think in a way those of us who give up are much braver than those who carry on plodding away. And if an actor chooses to give up there should be no shame in that, as at least they had to go and found out what it was like.

    Having said that I did a conference last week which was all about the drama education section of this industry. I found this conference really inspiring and many of the people who work in this sector passionate and interesting people. Many of whom started as actors. There was one lady at this conference who had spent many years working with a theatre company who work in prisons. Another person at this conference started as a actor and is now a very experienced youth theatre director. He so obviously loved his work and got a huge amount of pleasure from seeing the personal growth of his youth theatre members. There were two actresses who ran a youth theatre company for deaf and hearing young people. I did a workshop with them and have never had such a good time and remember just how much I used to love my youth theatre group when I was young. There was also a lovely actor who now has a well-paid job running the Midlands section of the National Youth Theatre. And again it was so obvious how much he loves his job.

    I know it's especially hard for female actors in this industry as it's a very overcrowded profession. But perhaps rather than thinking about giving up. Think about moving sideways. There are a huge amount of well-paid jobs in the education sector, from being a youth theatre leader, to corporate training, to working with excluded young people, working with young people with learning difficulties, working with young offenders. There are also all the administration jobs and hundreds of literary departments who employed all sorts of people many of whom are former actors.

    I don't know you so I don't know what your strength and passions are. But I do know that Equity provide a careers advice service, where you can talk to an adviser, find your strengths and weaknesses and re-examine your goals.

    Good luck stay happy

    Cheers

    TRACEY

    • 10th Mar 2008
    • 13
  • Kenny Richards-Preston

    Actor

    Very true and insightful Tracey, though can I go off-topic a little?

    The only thing I don't agree on is what you wrote regarding

    "harder for the females of the industry"

    I read a recent article, a woman's magazine actually (professional woman or something like that) while I was sat in the doctors waiting room, that provided a study of working professionals. Available female roles have gone up considerably in the last 2 yrs, offerring almost twice as many female roles to male roles in that time.

    (I belive this is a TV/Film survey, I'd have to check)

    There are 38,000 registered female actors to 22,000 males registered in this country alone, with a large proportion of females, in consideration to males, that're are in the glmaour industry it'd probably make 26,000 actresses to 20,000 actors. And if those studies are correct, and there's almost twice as many opportunites for females than males right now, I don't really see how men have it better? If those facts are indeed correct!

    We're all feeling the pinch with lack of work at the moment, there's no need to regard who has it worst, men or women, let's just say it's a general lack of work!

    • 10th Mar 2008
    • 14
  • Sheri Copeland

    Actor

    I heartily agree with Tracey, working with and encouraging other actors is a wonderful way of getting some fulfillment from this business and broadening your skills at the same time. The saying, 'those that can't, teach' is incredibly misguided I feel.

    • 10th Mar 2008
    • 15
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Thank you so much guys for all your words of wisdom and entheusiasm. I know everybody feels this way at some point, I just seem to be feeling it more of late! I'm sure it will pass but you've all made some really good suggestions which I'm definitely going to take on board. Thanks again, it certainly helps hearing of other peoples misery also... he he! Just kidding : )

    • 10th Mar 2008
    • 16
  • User Deleted

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    You need to find something else that interests you while you wait for your break. Relying on acting for your happiness can be dangerous. I've just been on a buddhist retreat and in buddhism happiness is not about getting anything its about quietening the mind and being peaceful. Feelings come and go. Somehow i think the more you work on the inner-peace the more acting jobs you might get.

    • 11th Mar 2008
    • 17
  • Alan Brent

    Actor

    Or...Do It Yourself! Start up a company of like minded people in your own area to put on those plays you've always wanted to do. A co-operative.

    That way as soon as you finish one job you can be on to the next.

    If you can get that going you will find that you can also take and help train youngsters in formal class environment. All you need is a regular work space.

    Up in North Yorkshire I work with our local Rural Arts doing just that. When I'm not on tour, I teach!

    • 11th Mar 2008
    • 18
  • Simon Griffiths

    Actor

    Ionce sat in a class and we were all asked the same question, what is acting to you? I heard a variety of the usual cliche answers and then it came to my turn. I listed it as 98% rejection, 1% falling at the final hurdle and as for the final 1% then they are some of the most sublime moments in the universe when you actually get to do what you love.

    That answer got me a better round of applause than some of the plays I've done :-)

    • 12th Mar 2008
    • 19