Having no acting work can feel pretty deflating. Many actors worry about where the next job will come from and how long they’re going to be chained to the day job for. This period of instability in an actors career can lead some to wonder whether they should just quit and whether it’s worth it. Acting has to be a way of life or things will move v-e-r-y-s-l-o-w-l-y, that’s why I’m going to share 10 things actors can do when out of work to stop the negativity, procrastination and lack of productivity setting in.
Are you ready?
10 things actors can do when out of work
- SAVE, SAVE, SAVE – Being back in the day job may not be your idea of fun, but it certainly brings in the pennies, which you could save a portion of for things you may need in the future such as headshots, travel for auditions, showreel editing expenses. Acting is a business, and all businesses work best when they have a healthy injection of cash.
- TRAIN – Investing in your craft is super important. Your talent-o-mometre should regularly be topped up, to keep you in tip top shape and ready to smash that next audition or role you’re cast in. Like a car doesn’t run without petrol, an actor doesn’t run without a sharp craft. Remember there’s always something new to learn.
- READ – Reading scripts is a great way to keep your imagination ticking over – something many actors feel disappears in the day job. Reading scripts is also good for improving memory (if done regularly), great for those actors who dread line learning AND you may just find a fantastic monologue.
- GET ON THE RADAR – Let’s face it you’re probably more likely to get struck by lightening than have Hollywood’s biggest director call you up out of the blue and offer you a role. My point is, you have to let people know you exist. Contact those people you’ve worked with in the past to see if they’re involved in any projects you could get involved in too, contact casting directors (with something to say other than “Yo Shaheen, I’m out of work”) and contact your local theatre companies. You could be one phone call or message away from your next job…
- APPLY, APPLY, APPLY – If you’ve got online profiles on sites such as Mandy, Backstage, StarNow, Casting Networks or any other, then now’s the time to take full advantage of these. Schedule around an hour each day (can be less or more depending how quick you work) and apply for all the roles that fit into your type.
- UPGRADE YOUR SIGHT READING – Everyday (yep 7 days a week) pick something up and practice, practice practice your sight reading. You never know when it will next be thrown upon you, or how close your next audition is. Doing this will help you improve how quickly you connect to scripts, obviously it will improve your reading, it will also keep your imagination ticking over and help you get into good habits with diction and projection. It’s a no brainer isn’t it?
- GET INSPIRED – go to the theatre, drop by the cinema or do both. Watching other actors is a great way to get fired up, it’s also a great place to learn; observing the choices other actors make can greatly help you in your own work.
- GET SELF-TAPE SAVVY – so you’ve got no auditions on the horizon, does that mean you should just wait until you get asked to do a self-tape to do one?? HELL NO!! Practicing in private pays off hugely when it comes to the real thing. For one you can nail those damn technicalities – lighting yourself properly, perfecting how to frame yourself, the best place in your apartment/house to film, how many books you need to get your camera at the right height (I’m kidding) and of course you can see how you’re coming across on camera and what needs tweaking. Practice with a variety of scripts.
- GET CREATIVE – If you really want to take your career into your own hands create your own work! Do you know anyone that writes, or someone who loves to direct? Who do you know who would love to collaborate? Creating your own work will help keep your creative juices flowing, keep you focused and you’ll feel like you have purpose. It’s also a great excuse to write to casting directors.
- STOP STRESSING – stressing out is only going to cause frustration and possibly resentment, leaving you feeling unfulfilled. The more you stress over the lack of work the bigger the problem seems to be, so let go. Do things you find relaxing to take your mind off of the dry patch, accept that every actor has periods of not working, see it as a good time to re-fuel and reflect and live in the moment, look back on what worked for you in the past. You’ve got to learn to ride the waves, not fight them.
So there you go, 10 things actors can do when out of work! I hope it’s helped you. Please let me know in the comments below if it has. If you do something else when you’re out of work that really helps you, I would love to hear it, tell me about it in the comments below.
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STOP BEING INVISIBLE & GET NOTICED!
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