Your everyday life as an actor might not always look pretty. You could plan your whole day ahead of time and then a last minute audition throws your planning out the window. Most actors can agree that keeping your schedule open is crucial when it comes to your day job, your rehearsal schedule, and even personal time with family and friends. However, remaining too open can also create messiness in your life and your acting business.
Many actors forget to use their creativity when it comes to their everyday schedule. With a desire to stay open to possible auditions and bookings, too many actors live week to week with no plan in place. Instead, you spend your days simply reacting to what happens around you rather than proactively creating the career you desire. Even sculptors and painters have some kind of plan when they go to start a new piece of work. Without that planned approach, it’s too difficult to measure how far you’ve come, to know when your work is finished, and to visualize what’s possible for your future.
The secret to juggling your day job and your personal commitments with your acting opportunities is seeing each day as a work of art—something you create and can have control over. And, though it may sound like a simple place to start, imagine each day like a blank canvas. Having a plan to “color it in” or paint it a certain style and give structure to your day will truly set you free.
So let me share three tips to help you treat your day like a work of art with plenty of room for creativity, flexibility, and of course, auditions and booking work.
1. Keep some space open. You wouldn’t color every single inch of the canvas at the same time. You start with one area—the area that needs the most attention that day—and leave some spaces open for later. In turn, you should also reserve ninety minutes of open space on your calendar each day. This will allow you to catch up on tasks when you’re running late and move appointments easily when auditions come up. With the extra time built in already, unexpected changes won’t stress you out.
If you have a day job, you color that space in ahead of time. Then you can use the empty space to take an extended lunch break from work and still have time to catch up on work before you head home for the day.
2. Pick a color for the day. You can assign a color or theme to similar tasks and do them all the same day. Perhaps, every Thursday could be blue for errands. Begin the day at the laundry mat, stop by the grocery store, and finish up at the post office. As errands arise during the week, there’s no need to drop everything else because now you’ve got all day Thursday to run around town getting things done.
Then you assign a different color to Tuesdays when you have acting class. Tuesday’s “color” is creativity where you work on writing your screenplay, do some reading, and arrive at acting class already artistically plugged in.
3. Get another set of eyes on your work. Most artists benefit from having their work critiqued. As you make progress in your day-to-day tasks, it’s a good idea to check in with a buddy about your daily actions. Find a likeminded actor from a film you shot or a class you attended to form a powerful accountability partnership. Then, commit to a phone call at least once per week where you share your weekly goals and celebrate one another’s progress.
Your daily life can be lived like a work of art with a little planning. In fact, planning provides the confidence you need to make quick decisions, the energy to finish your to-do list, and the time to be creative. So—just like creating—with a little planning, you can live your days with a bit of artistic flair.
Dallas Travers teaches the career and life skills often left out of traditional training programs. Her book, "The Tao of Show Business," garnered five awards including first prizes at The Hollywood Book Festival, the London Festival, and the National Indie Excellence Award. Through her workshops, Dallas helps thousands of actors increase their auditions, produce their own projects, secure representation, and book roles in film, television, and on Broadway. She is a certified life coach and entrepreneur with over a decade of experience implementing marketing and mindset strategies that work.
For more information about working with Dallas, visit www.dallastravers.com.