How to survive in between acting jobs
Surviving in between acting jobs is something I am very familiar with and most professional actors are currently doing. This is a positive because it means you CAN survive and pursue your career at the same time.
There are many options, so let's start with the easiest.Now as you will know, being an actor, we need to work flexible hours and require the freedom to be able to drop work for an audition or acting job at a minutes notice. And in my experience it has literally been minutes!
So look into temp agencies. Temp agencies hire staff on a flexible 0 hour contract and the majority will give you the freedom to update your availability, as to when you can and can't work, on a weekly basis. The only downside is that you are not guaranteed work for all the days you are free, but I assure you that you will get work and plenty of it.
Now temp agencies come in all different shapes and sizes, so choose one that is most suited to you. The options include retail, office and teaching assistant jobs as the main areas covered. But I'm sure if you do your research there will be other options.
These jobs aren't the most inspiring for us actors but they pay the bills and you will usually be paid on a weekly or fortnightly basis.
Another option is promotion work. Working in promotions can be fun and you can earn a lot more money than temping. With promotions you can be called up at any time to work on a variety of exciting campaigns that can span a couple of days or sometimes weeks. The work varies constantly, one day you could be handing out leaflets dressed as a giant chicken, another day you could be roller blading up and down the high street throwing sweets out to people.
Promotion agencies love to hire actors because they are confident, good communicators and great improvisers. They will usually ask for professional photos when recruiting and will sometimes treat the hiring process as a casting. The downside to promotions is that you won't always get work, it can take a while to build up your popularity within the agency. But if you do a fantastic job on your first campaign you are sure to be booked. Also if you have any unusual skills or talents be sure to let them know, you never know when they will require someone that can balloon model whilst skateboarding.
It's all about being friendly, bubbly and fun in promotions.
If you go down this route it is best to sign up with as many agencies as you can to guarantee you the best chance of working. Again you will be on a 0 hour flexible contract and you can always turn down work if you are unavailable.
It doesn't hurt to have a temp job and be signed up to promotion agencies to improve work and variety.
Another popular option for actors is in Children's entertainment, parties and theatre workshops. There is always a call for party entertainers, I could work every weekend if I wanted and it pays well if you are with a good company. Do your research. There are lots of companies that hire actors for teaching theatre workshops and running parties, but some pay better than others. For a 2 hour party you shouldn't get paid anything less than £70 and ideally you will be earning more. Look into companies in your area running theatre workshops for children and get in touch with them. They are always on the look out for more workshop leaders because all their staff will be actors and won't always be able to commit to the work. These companies usually require you to be self employed and are also very flexible with working hours.
Another great thing about working in Children's entertainment is that you will get to know other actors working for the same company who will cover your shifts if you have an audition, offer you their shift if they have one and it's also great for networking. Most importantly it is creative work that allows you to use the skills you have trained in.
My final option for you is to use your talents and skills, whatever they may be, and work for yourself. I trained as s fitness instructor and currently run my own classes 4 days a week and I also work as a Jazz singer. All the money I make is my own and if I need time off then I'm the boss! I know a lot of actors that have their own little business on the side. It keeps the money coming in and gives you a bit more stability in your roller coaster life as a performer. We are entertainers and people want entertaining.
I currently have a temp job during the week, run children's parties at the weekend, teach fitness classes in the evenings and whenever I get a Jazz gig I will squeeze that in too. I love it because it never gets boring and I am in control. It also allows me the opportunity to have time when I need it to work on my skills, attend castings and have some time for me.
I hope this has been helpful, there are lots of options available and many more that I haven't covered so do not fear pursuing your dream.
Go for it and don't work too hard!