Every time I bump into one of my actor friends, and the subject turns to sustaining yourself financially while pursuing a career in this crazy industry, I bashfully explain that I've already found the most ideal "income supplementing" job. I get a lot of jealous groans when I explain that I work in an office, my tasks are repetitive and uncomplicated enough to let the mind wander into a fantasy world of scripts and characters, that if an audition comes up I'm able to leave and come back, and if I were to book something, my job would be there waiting for me after I finished shooting! Yeah. I know. I really had it made.
But alas, all good things must come to an end. So you can quit your jealous groaning now too, because a couple of weeks ago, I lost that job. Gone. Bye-bye. With no notice. All of a sudden, I am utterly unemployed and cannot even begin to fathom the idea of where to start looking for a new one. Like I said, I had the best set up an actor could ask for, and now...well, now what?
The interesting thing about this all, is that the day before I lost my job, I had attended a seminar (through an organization I'll be telling you ALL about soon!!) that was entirely centred around this whole subject. It was all about sustaining yourself while pursuing acting, what kinds of jobs were ideal for actors, and how to make a living while you worked towards making a living acting. One of the speakers had talked about how he had started a new job, and instantly felt the soul-crushing qualities of it and knew it wasn't going to work for him. He went straight to his agent's office, to clear his mind and check in; upon arriving, he found an audition notice, pleaded with his agent to submit him, and - wouldn't you know it - booked the part!
Well, I thought that sounded alright. I knew the job I was in was starting to crush its way through my soul as well, and after the seminar, I had even expressed to a friend that I could feel a big change coming - was I ever right! So, in a desperate spot, I took every sign I could find...and I could find a sign in about anything. I called the big change, and it was related to the seminar, and this one speaker's story had stood out to me, so my first move was to call my agent. I sat down with him to catch up and check in, and - of course - spill my guts and frustrations about my new situation all over his cool agenty office. Guys, get yourself an agent like mine. For real.
I also told everyone how unemployed I was, and I wasn't afraid about being a little pathetic about it either. I have no pride. And that's ok. I figure, take a step away from the gentile ego and put yourself out into the universe (oh...being unemployed is humbling and puts words in your mouth, like "out in the universe") and see what happens. I can tell you from experience, you never know what is waiting out there for you until you do! It only took me a week and a half to embrace the freelancer life. The first week was more about learning the joys of day-drinking! And once that got old (that's a lie...it doesn't really get old) I realized that there are a lot of odd jobs out there, and if you're willing to say "YES" and try something new (you know, within reason...and the law, unless you're reeeaaally desperate, of course), you may find yourself turning a really upsetting situation into a really exciting new journey!
Check out my unemployment uniform - note the total lack of bra and F-words given.
It certainly isn't going to all be glamorous, believe me. I promise I'll provide photo evidence of that next week. Trust me. You'll want to see what I'm talking about. BUT! Don't let that sway you - especially for us actors. One acting teacher I worked with recently, spoke a lot about adopting as many "languages" as possible. And he doesn't mean going out and learning Spanish or Yiddish or what have you, but trying on the different languages that go along with different jobs or careers or personalities. I tell you what, when I'm through with this new phase of my life, I'll have experienced a huge new array of "speak" and I'll be a better actor for it - I hope.
Be sure to check back to get an updated list of Taylor's Odd Jobs next week...it'll be worth the wait!