Catherine is finding it difficult to motivate herself to get a job when she has her ideal job of working as an actress but this isn’t bringing in enough money to pay the bills.

To pursue her dream she will want to be flexible with other work enabling her to pick up work as it becomes available.  She could look to expand on her acting portfolio, perhaps seeking assignments as a role player in business (helping with assessment centres), acting as a patient for medical school training, or perhaps as a costumed interpreter in historical venues.
An alternative is to develop a career which would still allow for flexibility. Temping is the norm, but perhaps to develop skills and experience so she could work as a freelancer, for example graphic or website design or market research interviewing.  Many jobs are part-time but would allow swapping of shifts, thinking of acting related options this could include youth or community work or box office at a theatre.
To keep motivated when out of work Catherine can develop herself through e.g. learning a new computer programme, reading books and also building her contacts via networking.
There are other options, but something to get you thinking … I’d love to know your thoughts and any other suggestions you may have.

Published On: March 16th, 2012 / Categories: Career Coaching / Tags: , , /

6 Comments

  1. Daniel Jude Gennis March 18, 2012 at 4:10 am - Reply

    An interested article that seeks to address many of the issues facing actors, especially when one’s chosen career path isn’t bringing in the money to pay the bills. The one area where I managed to make ends meet (with difficulties at the best of times,) was the area of temping for five years. I was fortunate that of the many agencies I registered with one was fairly consistent in getting me work. Since last year, I found myself cut adrift from this agency and the world of temping has few doors open to me. Since then I have devoted myself pretty much ot acting full-time. Over the past two years I have been heavily involved in theatre, most of which wasn’t really paid. As a result I have really struggled. State benefits are no longer accessible to me so I am in sitution where if I don’t work, I don’t get paid, if I don’t get paid, cannot meet my obligations or responsibilities.
    I found (temping aside,) there are very few options in other areas of work that allow me to fully pursue my acting career. It is not lost of me that during my time working as a temp, I was not actively involved in acting. I still attended auditions but my focus was on keeping the job I had. While my current situation is far from desirable, it is not lost on me that I have done more acting (in film, commercials and theatre,) in the past two years that I have over the five years I was temping.
    I have advertised a CV Writing Service at one point, which resulted in one telephone query that came to another and another from one gentleman who wanted a CV but didn’t access to a computer or any written history of what he had done. That didn’t go anywhere despite me forwarding a set of forms to him to fill out.
    Simply put, I have not done 9 to 5 for more than a year. My working life and lifestyle involves my being flexible and available at a moments notice. I am not sure doing 9 to 5 would enable me to do what is necessary in order to pursue and develop a successful acting career. We have a problem in the UK with the actng profession as it seems to be going backwards to the days of the keen amateur who does it part-time and holds down a full-time job.
    I am told I am doing everything right but I feel at times and that I am standing still, irrespective of what my CV says.

  2. Denise Taylor March 18, 2012 at 7:12 am - Reply

    Hi Daniel
    Thanks for commenting and I really wish you well in your acting career.
    I’m not sure if the options I suggest could work for you, but worth considering, also e.g. murder mystery dinners.
    If setting up a CV writing business hasn’t worked (and that type of work would fit in brilliantly around gigs and auditions) are there other services you could provide.
    Have a look at what’s offered on http://www.fiverr.com and perhaps there is a niche that could bring in some money as you think of other things.
    But any self employed job takes up lots of energy – so thinking about your CV writing business, those of us who work for ourselves need to do a lot of activity to market our business, the closer the work to your acting career the easier it could be – presentational skills training perhaps?
    All the best,
    Denise

  3. Daniel Jude Gennis March 18, 2012 at 8:30 pm - Reply

    Hello Again Denise,
    Thank you for taking the time to consider my options. On the murder mystery dinners, I have made submissions for these themed dinners/weekends and never ever got a response so never bothered again. My problem is I have tried or done a little of everything. I have attended one day/half-day audition processes for Theatre In Education (TIE) and always found them a wasted effort and a drain on my time. Unless you are going up for the role of James Bond or a high profile role in a major film, television or theatre production, I don’t see the need to waste half a day or an entire day on an audition. I have found from personal experience (from being both sides of the casting process,) that decisions are made within the first few seconds of a person walking through the door. This has been even more clearer from an experience I had several years ago with one Dr. Bruce Wall, when I attend his audition/workshop for a Shakespearean theatre project called ‘Blacking Iago. It was clear I wasn’t ever going to be cast in anything he was involved in but spent the whole afternoon jumping up and down and making stupid noises. When I go to an audition, it is with the sole aim of getting the job/role on offer. It is not to spend valuable time and energy, jumping around and playing theatre games. I can attend workshops for that. I am straying from the point.
    You are right Denise, running any kind of self-employed business takes up lot of effort, as I am finding with my acting career, which is why I let the CV Writing Service fall to the wayside, There doesn’t seem to be a need for it so my energies are better served elsewhere i.e., developing, promoting and marketing myself as an Actor.
    I write a lot, I have two Blogs I write on a semi-regular basis. I am also developing an idea for a Play and a Screenplay. I also have ideas for short stories and a Novel. These have been languishing in Development Hell for a while now. However, it does seem that Acting and Writing is where the future lies because put simply, nothing else I have tried or done, has never really worked for the reasons I have discussed above. I have tended to find people will accept my services more freely if they don’t have to pay for them. I have written CVs from scratch for people who went on to land interviews and in many cases jobs from CVs I have done for them. It is another matter entirely when you know you are good at something and stop doing it for free. Only then does one discover what people truly think of you and how they value you. Especially when you put a value and price on what you do.

  4. Denise Taylor March 21, 2012 at 10:03 pm - Reply

    Ahh … people love the work when we give it away – it is a big step change to move into expecting and getting payment.
    Probably a good idea to choose on thing and to go for it or to keep plugging away at the marketing … it can take years to be an overnight sensation

    • Daniel Jude Gennis April 17, 2012 at 9:49 pm - Reply

      People do indeed love a freebie. Another matter entirely when they have to pay for it. Only then do they become discerning.
      I have been sticking to one thing of late and that has been my acting career. So far attended auditions, done two short films and at time of writing, in rehearsals for a Shakespeare Play (Twelfth Night). Also have another film script to look and have to arrange an audition for that.
      Amazing how much recognition one gets when they focus on one area of importance.

  5. Denise Taylor April 18, 2012 at 5:34 am - Reply

    Sounds like things are going well, focus is often good. 2 short films and a play, plus another script …. wishing you all the best for these.

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