“Jen, what do you do to make money while waiting for acting work that pays, you know, like real money?”
Here’s the short answer: Do anything you can to bring in money that doesn’t completely kill your spirit and harm yourself (or others.)
Really though… we all do what we need to do if this acting business is really what we want to do with our lives. Here is a list of jobs I have had on my way to being a full time actor and some of these jobs…I still do:
Counter Help at a Bakery
Deli Worker at a Health Food Grocery Store
Church Rectory Secretary
Counter Help at a Bakery (a different one)
Personal Assistant (a different one)
Drug and Alcohol Counselor
Thought Ideation Facilitator
Pretty much FREELANCE EVERYTHING.
Now…I’m older. So I have had a lot of gigs. But still, many actors also work other jobs. Sometimes lot of other jobs. Some actors have a steady 9-5 gig and still make room or auditions and acting jobs. It just depends on how you want your life to look and feel. Things will also vary if you want to just do theater, just do on camera work or do both. This will determine what kind of jobs or jobs you get and what kind of schedule you need work wise.
If you are lucky you will be able to find a job or jobs that bring in enough money to live AND are flexible enough to allow you to pursue your acting. And HOPEFULLY there will be a tipping point somewhere along your path where you are able to transition into full time actor and can lovingly say ADIOS to your other gig or gigs…if that’s something you want to do. This is the dream for many actors right? To JUST be acting? And while I believe this is totally possible and if you want that…I want that for you. However, I am also a firm believer in keeping options open in terms of bringing in money.
Be open to money coming in from expected AND unexpected sources. Don’t shun money-making opportunities just because they aren’t in “your field.” Some of my biggest monetary wins have come from non-acting gigs, which have allowed me to keep auditioning and acting.
It also should be said…non acting gigs have been SUPER instrumental in building my character and exposing me to people and experiences that have greatly enriched my life both in terms of acting and just like you know…being a well rounded human being.
Onward! Xo Jen B
Jen Bosworth is a professional actor and Creative Consultant with Blue Door. If you would like to schedule a creative consultation with Jen, click here.