Just like most of you, readers, I still have a side job to pay the bills while I build my acting career. Soon I'll be able to leave this jobby-job behind, but right now, it's my safety net. It keeps me in class, with up-to-date headshots, with a reliable car, with a comfortable foundation so I don't have spend an ounce of my precious energy on worrying if I will have this month's rent or if I can really afford to take my best friend out to dinner on her birthday.
Because I've been there too. I've seen the days when I looked at my bank account balance and saw a big fat zero and knew it had to stay that way because it was Tuesday and I wasn't getting paid till Friday. It's really tough to keep your head up and walk into an audition like you don't need it on those days. As much as it's possible, feeling stable and secure financially is more important than many people in this industry admit. You've all heard it, persistence and tenacity over the long-haul is how people succeed here. Stay at it, be smart, be present and work like a dog, You will make it. Having a good side job is a part of eliminating the "struggling" from your title as actress.
And that's what I remind myself every morning when I drive to my nine-to-five job. That's right folks, I work full-time in corporate America. It may not be the right choice for everyone, but it has made all the difference to me. I've spent a lot of time as a waitress, but I had an opportunity to take a job that was a little more intellectually stimulating, and being hired for something other than my looks or ability to carry a cocktail was a welcome change. I wavered, recalling all the cautionary tales of "golden handcuffs." I was not willing to abandon my acting for a steady paycheck. While discussing my offer with the decision-makers, I plainly stated that I would only accept if I would be guaranteed the flexibility to adjust my schedule on short notice to attend auditions during the day or to take a day or two off as needed for a shoot. Because they had known my work ethic and reliability, they agreed. Hell, they're even fans! Ridiculously supportive. When I finished my new demo reel recently, we all crowded into one person's office to watch it as a group. Did I mention I'm one incredibly lucky girl?!!
Anyway, today I had an audition for a pilot I've been trying to get in on for a month. (Remember, I mentioned my friend works at a production company and I was hustling her to put my headshot in front of the right people? It worked.) So I took an extended lunch break at my jobby-job, changed my outfit in my car in the parking garage to zip across town and read for this part.
It is my personal opinion that the more people who see you on the way to your audition and think you're crazy, the better your audition will go. Allow me to explain... Now because my side job is in corporate America, most of the people I work with don't really interact with actors too much, especially in the workplace. There are no casting offices in our building and actors don't roam the halls. These business people don't really know about things like why actors are always talking to themselves when they walk through a lobby or across a studio lot. I was running the scene to myself in the empty elevator on the way to my car, stretching out my face, getting warmed up. I was playing with a moment in which I'm shocked at the other character's behavior just as the elevator doors open. Yeah. Some dude in a suit and briefcase was standing there as the doors opened and there I am, alone in the elevator, looking like I'd just seen Superman stroll by in a pink leotard.
My first instinct was to explain, but then I just realized I'd sound like those crazy people who adamantly deny that they're crazy -- psychotic. I just chuckled at the awkward silence on the way to the next floor and knew good audition karma was coming my way.