When you think of a struggling actor in New York, what do you imagine? I’ll bet you it’s an overworked server trying to squeeze auditions in before lunch shifts. Or maybe it’s a Starbucks barista reading sides in the break room. While this works for a lot of people, it doesn’t have to work for you! I’m here to tell you that this is your life, so why not create the life that YOU want? While of course we’re all waiting for the day to get paid doing what we love, who’s to say we can’t be happy in the meantime? Life’s too short to spend any portion of your day doing something you don’t enjoy! I’ve found that if I do work that fulfills me and makes me happy, I’m much more apt to have the energy and the wherewithal to really make progress with my artistic work.
In the years I’ve lived in New York, I feel like I’ve worked every job under the sun. The experiences have been varied, to say the least. When I worked in fast paced food service jobs, I realized that there was no way I could do that AND try to be an actor (I also wasn’t very good at it – SHHHH). Some of us are capable of moving swiftly and efficiently for a double shift at work, then having enough energy to work on acting stuff on our days off. If that’s how you do you, then that’s great! I’m jealous! For me, however, I had a hard time keeping up the stamina to really pursue my creative aspirations in my down time.
After spending a lot of time searching, I found a work life that’s conducive to my creative pursuits. What works for me is working with kids and writing. What works for you may be totally different. You could be the type of person who loves to work in an office during the day, and enjoys having evenings and weekends off to see shows or work on new projects. Or maybe it’s serving cocktails that excites you. If you’re not happy with your “survival job,” keep looking until you are! There’s no right or wrong way to be an actor. All that matters is piecing together a day to day life that makes you happy, and leaves you with enough energy to go after what it is that you really want!