5 Tips for Jobbing Actors

5 Tips for today's young Jobbing actors.


A survey by Queen Mary's university shows that 90% of actors are out of work at any one time. I am sure that none of you are shocked by these figures but perhaps you are curious as to what the out of work 43,740 -ish actors get up to while they are waiting for that phone to ring.

Well my only hope is that ‘waiting’ is what we are not doing. Building a life that feels meaningful, social and successful in between work can be a tough code to crack. Especially when the reality is, we would have to drop this for whatever acting job comes knocking. Only to pick it back up again in a matter of weeks, months or sometimes years.

So here is what I have leant and perhaps some advice for anyone trying to walk the tight rope of a jobbing actor.

  •  Tip # 1.

Spend time finding that part time job. This is clutch. The criteria is long and the jobs available are few. Finding something flexible yet fulfilling can be really challenging, but the more you get to know what you find valuable the easier this task gets. Knowing what you want to prioritize and enjoy will lead you to the right fit and into a job that you can handle for those slower patches. For example; if you enjoy being social find those bar positions or perhaps hosting at big event companies. The work is sometimes grueling but no doubt you will enjoy working alongside other creatives in the same position. If you prefer the daylight hours and moving about; Spread A Smile, is a company who employs actors to go in to children's hospitals to entertain the children. Sometimes this will be as fairies or various marvel/ Disney characters. This is a great example of work out there which uses our skillsets and is fulfilling on the way home.

 So first figure out what is important to you, income, time, interaction, mental stimulation. And delve headfirst into the world of zero hour contracts online or through asking around.


  •  Tip # 2.

The work we find usually doesn’t support a particularly affluent lifestyle, but, keeping a healthy social life really helps to get one through those dry patches. Keeping up with friends and loved ones can give you the support you need but also just allows you to have fun that isn’t connected to the industry and how ‘well’ we feel we are doing. So send a text to your favorites and get out to the park with the gang or walk round one of the many free exhibitions/events your town has to offer. Go to the birthday drinks, have movie nights, host game nights and generally keep in contact with those around you. This will be an amazing anchor during those in between phases.

  •  Tip # 3.

Stay inspired. Inspiration ebbs and flows in any industry. The great thing about ours is that we can find it in bucket loads all around us; listening to the radio, watching our favorite TV programmes, going to the cinema or seeing a show. All of these and more are enough to relight that fire in us and keep us turning just that bit longer. And there are plenty hacks to do this affordably, TodayTix, for example is a great website offering discount tickets for shows around London. Joining your local library will give you access to plenty plays and books on performance, practitioners and the theatre. The National theatre offers £5 or £10 tickets for 16 – 25 year old's as you can see here This is by no means out of the ordinary below is a link to a list of all the London theatres you give discounted tickets out to various age groups So theatre doesn’t have to be expensive, scour the web and find those tickets.




  •  Tip # 4

Something we have been engaging in more progressively than ever recently is our mental health. Understanding your own mind and where you are at any giving time is becoming quite an encouraged point of conversation and I for one believe it's a game changer. Putting our mental health first can really help to prevent burn out, in a race that has no end and an industry that shifts faster than any of us keep up it is important to disconnect our worth form our work. And this takes time and effort. Feeling whole outside of a job can sometimes feel difficult but it is crucial that we try. Apps like Headspace or Calm,  are great for learning those beginning stages of mindfulness and breathing exercises, YouTube is also a great resource for some free guided mediations or even yoga. If this isn’t your thing then maybe a hobby that encourages you to take your time and possibly create something would be worth exploring. A friend once bought me a pottery kit, and even though the pots I made leaked and were complete eye sores, I thoroughly enjoyed to process and felt soothed by the time it took to create them.

So get creative, make something, go for a run, write, find whatever allows you to engage with something effortless, new and has pretty much zero stakes.



  •  Tip # 5

This is one I have discovered during the pandemic, and is something I will never forget or give up. Keep training. It's vital. Our industry is changing at a vicious rate, we are expected to be actors, videographers, lighting, sound and editing… just for a first round audition. This may not be fair, but it is the reality. So we must evolve with it. Companies such as Mixing Networks are fantastic at breaking this all down and honing those taping skills. It can also be taken online so location isn’t an issue. The courses are created for all levels, and I can vouch, as someone who has been in the industry for over ten years it really is a brilliant resource to keep learning the craft. There are plenty of workshops and courses out there; Anthony Meindls classes I would also recommend as checking out as well as the Actors Center which does not only provide workshops but Q&A’s and talks on the industry.




 The truth is there is no magic spell to make the waiting game more fun, there are just hacks to make your life more full and whole. I hope you can find some of this useful or pass it on to someone you may know who needs that boost. Take your time, enjoy the ride and here’s to the 43,000.

#actorslife #acting #performingarts



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