I have two jobs.
One, is my “joe job.” It is the one that, at the moment, is there to pay the bills. Thankfully, I love it. I host and serve at my all time favorite vegan restaurant. The people are glorious, its always crazy busy and the food is….so good.
But my first job, is my life as an actor. Even when it is not paying me money, I see this part of my life as my profession. As I mentioned in Monday’s post, as an actor, you are your own business. And you must see it this way.
With that, I actually never see myself as having a “day off.” When I am not working at the restaurant, I see my day as being there to focus on and further my profession, at least in some way. Like any other personal or “at home” business, this involves a lot of computer work, planning, scheduling and – for me – rehearsing, practicing or prepping material. Some days I have obvious things I must do, like prepare for a specific audition coming up. But on other days I must find the dedication to further my career in other ways. That could be simply taking an hour to read a play. Or starting to learn a monologue I may or may not ever use. Even though not immediately beneficial, these things expand my horizons and make me more knowledgable for whatever future opportunities that may arise. Like an athlete or a runner, these are like my daily stretches to keep myself limber, ready and always learning.
I thought it would be interesting to show you what one day when I was not working at the restaurant looked like. A bit of actor life, if you will. I’m also mixing it up with some What I Ate Wednesday shenanigans.
6:30 alarm(s) goes off
630 – 7:30 alarms continue to go on and off as I continue to sleep through. I am seriously becoming the WORST with this. Does anyone have any suggestions for creative alarm apps to actually get you out of bed? I think my ears have just become completely tolerant to the sounds I use and don’t even acknowledge them anymore.
7:30-8:15 Shower. Wash dishes and clean up as I listen to either CBC or a podcast. Pack lunch and snacks.
8:15 – 8:35 I usually do at least 20 minutes of a lying down meditation mixed with stretching.
8:45 Grab my breakfast, head out the door and hop on my bike.
9:00 Arrive at local cafe. Get a coffee and pull out my breakfast. As a personal business, I see coffeeshops as my “office.” I cannot work or focus nearly as well at home.
Breakfast: I pack my own to save money. Shh. Its often a big piece of baking, but I went a more traditional route this day.
1/2 cup oats quick soaked with a mashed frozen banana, cinnamon and salt + 2 tbsp peanut butter, some yogurt and strawberries on top
9-11:00 I usually spend about 2 hours in the cafe. I let myself have the first 30 ish minutes to do my blog reading. I need to give myself that time to set me up for the day (that’s how great ya’ll are). Then I discipline myself to spend the rest of my time on my audition search.
I belong to a few different subscription sites that send out audition breakdowns for my age/ethnicity/location. I usually receive at least 5 a day. I go through each of them and decide whether I’d like to submit for an audition. Then I write a brief cover letter (depending on the project some are more redundant and general, while some are more in-depth and personal, which takes more time). I attach my head shot and resume and press send.
11:00-11:15 Stop at the library to do my printing. I need to print some new sides (another name for an excerpt from a film script) and a new monologue.
11:30-12:30 Go to the gym. I’m still doing about 3 workouts a week. They are still offering me some mental clarity and a break from the “office.”
12:40-12:50 Bike to my favorite park. There is a super hippy drum circle happening so I “set up shop” by a tree near by to have my lunch. Fact: I will 100% choose to sit on the ground against a tree rather than any bench or picnic table.
1:00-1:30 Slowly eat my picnic lunch and take out my sides for the audition I have the next day. Begin talking to myself as I learn my lines and wonder if the dude nearby with the sunglasses is looking at me and thinking I’m completely insane. I’m used to it.
When I begin to study a scene or learn lines, I do a lot of writing. I must figure out certain things like who my character is, who I’m speaking to, where I am, what I want… all the things I need to know to speak the words with clarity. Sometimes you are given the answers but often you need to create your own backstory and fill in details that help you make sense of the scene. I read the script through a number of times and write down questions that I have. Then I parse through it slowly like a puzzle, clearing up the details as they come to me and fill in any blanks with my own imagination. I can’t learn the lines until I understand what I’m saying and why I’m saying it.
Lunch: Okay I’m sorrrryyy this looks gross.
Veggie burger (made with beets – hence the red – carrots, nuts and grains) made into a sandwich with garlic mayo, dijon, lettuce and a super awkward looking slice of tomato. It was good I swear.
In my water bottle is a homemade ginger ale made with juiced ginger (strong) + soda water + lemon and agave syrup
1:30-2:30 Decide I’m a) a bit too close to human contact to be speaking to myself this way and b) want to be more out in the sun. I move to the open grass to continue learning my lines in more privacy. Eventually I change to the script for my upcoming fringe show and speak through it a number of times to see how off book I am.
2:30-3:00 Both my brain and body have had enough heat, so I hop on my bike to go home.
3:30 I’m hungry. I have a bowl of ice cream while I set up my table to do more desk-y work things.
Vanilla ice cream + Dream Big B Happy Peanut Butter
3:45-4:45 I spend time on my computer researching and applying for job stuff. Aka more ways to make money in a way that is forgiving to audition schedules —-> another constant part of the job. I research temp agencies and apply to be a standardized patient (actors who pretend to be patients for medical students) while checking in on some more audition breakdowns that have come through.
4:45-5:00 Put on make up and get dressed while rehearsing the sides I learned the previous day. My friend is coming over to help me tape three self taped film auditions. More and more auditions are asked to be self taped nowadays. Mostly this is great, because you don’t have to put the time into scheduling an audition and getting yourself to and from the location, and you have the luxury of doing as many takes (or “tries”) as you like. However it is also very impersonal and chances are you don’t have the good quality equipment or lighting to make yourself look as good as you’d like. And you have to do the tech stuff yourself. #notmything
I have a self made “studio” set up in the corner of my room with a homemade “tripod” and blank wall. Some people use their bathroom. Whatever gets the job done.
5:00-6:00 Film auditions with friend’s help. Usually I do 2-3 takes of each set of sides. There was a lot to do today so it takes longer.
6:00-7:30 Scoop up a super easy dinner of leftovers and eat while I begin editing my self tapes. This is why I’ve had no interest in cooking lately. Too many other things to focus on. The editing process is a super tedious part of the job. I have to upload the takes to my computer, then to my movie editing program, then cut them to the proper lengths, add transitions, export to the right file type, then send them away. Blegh.
Dinner: Speaking of “job #2,” I’m also lucky that my job feeds me for a hefty discount. There’s also often mistakes that I get to bring home. This is good both for the budgeting needs of a budding actor and for a busy schedule.
Hodge podge mash of brown rice / adzuki beans / sauerkraut /sprouts / carrots / grilled spinach / broccoli and tofu in a smokey miso tahini dressing
7:30-8:00 Start to wind down and spend some time with my planner, catching it up with any new appointments or auditions I’ve made. Before getting up, I take out my pencil crayons and give myself some color therapy while listening to a podcast.
8:00-9:00 Clean up, put stuff away and get in a hot epsom salt bath.
9:00 – 10:30 It depends. Some nights I get out of the bath, get my plate of dessert and veg on the couch with blogging stuff. Other nights, if I’m still feeling the creative bug and the desire to be productive, I’ve been taking my dessert back at my table and have been going through my collection of monologues. I’ve been prepping some new Shakespeare pieces, which includes defining and scanning the text to know all the definitions of the words and the rhythm of the poetry.
Dessert: So this has been happening a lot lately…. cake. In all forms.
Vegan carrot cake + strawberries and chocolate sauce
10:30 Alright I’m tired. I brush my teeth, go to bed and pull out my completely non related to anything acting or life corny teen drama novel and read anywhere from 5 – 45 minutes before falling asleep.Day In The Life of A Self Managing Actor and What I Ate Wednesday #actorlife #whatiatewednesday… Click To Tweet
My days are always very different, which for me is something I really like. Some days, as you read on Monday, may include commuting to auditions or classes. Some may involve more time in a coffee shop doing research or self promoting. And then some days I need a complete break from trying to sell myself and learning lines and scheduling appointments, and so I don’t do very much of any of it. I need those days to stay sane and motivated. But in general, I’m happy filling my days being my own business.
Know of any good alarm apps?
Do you prefer sitting on the grass or on a bench?
Where would your ideal “office” be??