Unless you have the magic bean that sprouts a money tree or, better yet, have been blessed with a surplus of financial funds, the reality is that every actor will need a day job at some point in his or her career. Whether it’s the beginning of the artistic journey, between gigs, and, more often than not like myself and hundreds of other Broadway and on-camera pros, as a complement to performing endeavors to ensure a financial cushion well into an artistic career for years to come.
Finding that perfect day job can be challenging. Before you rush into taking any old money-making offer that comes your way, check out these four tips to not only keep money coming in, but also to positively enhance, complement, and even propel your endeavors.
1. Enhance your network.
There’s a lot of truth about the business being all about who you know or, more importantly, who knows you. Finding a day job where you can forge positive relationships with other folks within the realm of where you want to focus your performer career is helpful and can create a positive reaction in opening up job possibilities. Great day job options to consider would be working backstage, in a casting or production office, in a restaurant that caters to the industry, or even starting your own entrepreneurial venture to work with other artists.
2. Stay creative.
A day job can become drudgery if you aren’t staying creative. I mean, isn’t that why we love being a performer to begin with? Thinking on our feet, using our imagination, problem-solving, creating characters and stories—it’s the foundation of what a performer does. Finding these same creative qualities in a day job will, in turn, keep you creatively inspired so you’re in the right mindset when auditions come along. Jobs like a teacher, coach, instructor, party planner, or working with kids will help fulfill that creative need.
3. Seek flexibility.
This is a big one! Ask yourself if your day job allows you time off for auditions—or the ability to swap shifts or find substitutes—so you can attend that EPA, ECC, open call, or appointment. Let’s face it, you can’t be a working actor unless you have the ability to actually audition for jobs.
Waiting tables or temping are some of the go-tos that offer the most flexibility, but you can think outside the box as well. Jobs like a babysitter or nanny, working with companies that cater to artistic types that understand the need to take off for auditions, background work on a TV or film set, or even doing assistant jobs where you can work from home all offer flexibility as well.
4. Look for something that can enhance a performing skill.
Does your day job enhance a skill that can make you a better performer? Wouldn’t you love to be paid to help better your performer skills? Whether it’s assisting at one of the many actor schools where you can learn and work at the same time, hosting corporate events, or doing product demonstrations where you are literally performing at your day job, and being a personal assistant with someone whose career you aspire to emulate will all keep you constantly and consistently learning or practicing your performer skills and paying your bills at the same time.
Happy job hunting!
*This post was originally published on Jan. 25, 2019. It has since been updated.
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and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.