The Work Behind the Werk: Part 2
While we strive to be the next BIG STAR, we gotta pay the bills. That being said, never lose sight of why you’re busting your ass making over-priced coffee for America instead of settling into a full-time job with perks and benefits. It’s because you’ve got guts, and you’re following your dream. That’s awesome! Remember that the next time you risk losing that part-time job because you have to take a day off work for an audition.
I don’t know about you, but I am not in Chicago to be a professional substitute teacher. I did not quite my awesome full-time Theater and Spanish teaching job in the suburbs to spend the rest of my life being a CPS Substitute by day / Boystown Shot-Boy by night. Hell no. I did it because I would watch my high school students on stage and think, “I could do that again. I SHOULD do that again.”
I love the art – and business – of acting. So when I have to cancel an 8-hour promo at O’Hare again and risk losing that job because I’ve cancelled so many days already for auditions, I’m ok with that. I really hate letting people down, and I hate the thought of someone thinking I’m a flake. But you know what’s worse than that? Letting myself down and flaking on my own dreams.
So don’t do that. Yes, lead with integrity. You can do that by letting your employers know your priorities and that you may need time off for auditions. Keeping an open line of communication may help relieve any potential guilt you feel from cutting work for gigs, and honestly, it’s just the right thing to do. We’re so worried about letting people down and burning bridges, but a job that prevents me from taking off for an opportunity to follow my dream is a bridge I’m more than happy to burn.
Easier said than done sometimes, isn’t it? That’s ok. This business isn’t easy. If it were, far more people would be pursuing it. So whenever you feel guilty for taking a day off work or switching shifts with someone in order to take an audition, remind yourself of this very important fact:
I am not here to be a professional (server / barista / shot boy / nanny / _____ ). I am here to be a professional actor.
Your past self has made the brave leap into this treacherous yet exciting career. Now it’s the job of your present self to return the favor. Your future self will thank you for it.