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A Day In The Life: My First Job (What I Ate Wednesday)

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. 

My first job

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.

My first job

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. 

My first job

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.  

My first job

My first job

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. 

LunchOkay I’m sorrrryyy this looks gross.

My first job

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. 

My first job

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. 

Snack:

My first job

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. 

My first job

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. 

My first job

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 #eeeeeats #dreams #goals #passion 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. 

Tell me,

Know of any good alarm apps?

Do you prefer sitting on the grass or on a bench?

Where would your ideal “office” be??

 

 

 

40 COMMENTS

  1. Emily Swanson | 6th Jun 17

    Wow, I love how you are so diligent and consistent about practicing your lines and auditioning wherever you go; you sound like the best dependable worker Cora. I <3 that about you. I don't usually set alarms, so I guess that I'm not very much help there. Also, I would almost always rather sit in the grass than on a bench. It's just so soft and easy for my um… old back. πŸ˜€ My ideal office is actually our bedroom. I can focus really well in there (except for when my dog isn't being obedient.)
    Emily Swanson recently posted…Walking the Long Road of An Eating Disorder and Recovery (Janie’s Story)My Profile

    • Cora | 9th Jun 17

      Easy for the back AND bum!
      I love that you and I have a different work ethic and needs. You focus well in your bedroom and in peace and quiet, whereas I’m the complete opposite. That’s what makes life interesting!

  2. Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table | 7th Jun 17

    Have you ever heard of the Sleep Cycle app? It was the only one that could ever get me up for work. It uses the phone’s accelerometer to track you sleep patterns. It uses that to wake you up when you’re in the lightest part of your cycle (+/- 15 mins from your set time). You also get a report of your sleep, which I always found to be accurate based on how I felt.

    I had NO idea how much went into auditioning! I’d be exhausted! Having a flexible day is great though. I’m really lucky to work from home now. No alarms, food at my fingertips, workouts whenever I want… but I admit, I do miss human contact sometimes.
    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table recently posted…Knee Surgery, Leg Day, and MotivatingMy Profile

    • Cora | 9th Jun 17

      Ooooo thank you for the suggestion!! I’m looking it up now.
      Working from home has so many pros, but also those few cons. It needs to be a conscious effort and work in planning to make sure you keep up contact with the outside world. Because that’s so important. Other than that though, if you can find a way to keep your motivation and dedication up, the flexibility with schedule is preeettttyyyy awesome.

  3. Patricia @Sweet and Strong | 7th Jun 17

    I love working in coffee shops, great idea to bring your own food! And I love that you practice lines outside. I would probably prefer the beach though, minus the wind.
    Patricia @Sweet and Strong recently posted…Trigger Point, Shakeology, Summer Vibes and other Friday FavoritesMy Profile

    • Cora | 9th Jun 17

      Haha I think its smart… though the owners probably don’t agree.
      Beach would be nice, too!!

  4. Jamie@TheMomGene | 7th Jun 17

    This was so fun to read! You are so diligent at your craft and right in that so much of the creative arts is behind the scenes unpaid for preparation. My office would be a coffee shop too…with a table outside in case I want to be in the sunshine!

    • Cora | 9th Jun 17

      So, so, so much of it. 90% of it, I’d say. Even when you are getting contracts and pay checks.
      I wish I could see my laptop screen in the sun! When I don’t need it to do my applying and work, you sure as heck will find me at the outside tables.

  5. Heather @ Polyglot Jot | 7th Jun 17

    So fun to read, Cora! I am an outdoor table gal rather than the grass for eating! Love being outside for meals–so energizing!
    Heather @ Polyglot Jot recently posted…A Baby SprinkleMy Profile

    • Cora | 9th Jun 17

      Do you own a picnic basket and blanket? I can see you owning these. And I would want to join you in a picnic, please.

  6. Evangeline | 7th Jun 17

    It’s a pleasure to get to know the budding actor (sorry to steal your words, but they sound perfect) behind the blog. I have a new appreciation for your first job. There are so many different skills you have to utilize, far beyond just memorizing lines (which, in itself is exhausting). That’s probably a source of frustration some times, but you’re the type who always rises to the occasion. I bet you’re learning a whole bunch of new stuff too, which I guess could be fun? Either way, you’re killing it as your own boss.
    Evangeline recently posted…WIAW #21: Building a Healthier Relationship with FoodMy Profile

    • Cora | 9th Jun 17

      I’m making a lot of mistakes. Which also means, yes, I am learning a lot! That’s what needs to happen. I’ll never stop making mistakes but I hope that after these current couple of months, I have many of them out of the way so I can go out there and kill it even more. Thank you, as always, for everything.

  7. Lyss | 7th Jun 17

    hmmm my ideal office is def a cute little coffee shop. But I do love sitting on the grass! If I have a big towel and a nice little set up I will be perfectly content. πŸ™‚ As far as alarm apps I just use the one on my iPhone LOL. I used to have an alarm clock but I stopped using it!
    Lyss recently posted…Let’s Catch UpMy Profile

    • Cora | 9th Jun 17

      I think you and I have the same office set up!

  8. Sarah @ Bucket List Tummy | 7th Jun 17

    Girlll, I am with you at needing a new alarm spark. Also, I have to bring meals with me to coffee shops too. There’s a fine balance between buying all of their muffins and bringing my own fuel. I’m buying their coffee though, so that counts right? Love reading this about your days and seeing all that goes into your monologue preparations!
    Sarah @ Bucket List Tummy recently posted…Weekend Excursions and EatsMy Profile

    • Cora | 10th Jun 17

      I like to think me buying their coffee accounts for my sitting there…. aha.

  9. Joyce @ The Hungry Caterpillar | 7th Jun 17

    Okay I have multiple comments and questions. First of all: What are pencil crayons? Just based on the name, these devices sound fantastic.
    Second: There’s a really powerful and highly-regarded collection of literary essays by Leslie Jamison called The Empathy Exams. The title essay is about being a standardized patient. I actually couldn’t get through the book, simply because it’s about some pretty dark material and I was in a pretty dark place when I read it, but the title essay “The Empathy Exams” itself is beautiful and eye-opening. I’ll be interested to hear about your experience if you get the job.
    And on a final note: I love the idea of thinking of acting as your “first” job. As you know, I also have an arts degree, and when people ask what I do with that arts degree, I often have to clarify that I do multiple things. I teach to pay the bills and I write because it’s my passion. I’ve said this in previous post comments, but you are so amazingly diligent and goal-oriented about your career. It’s an inspiration! Can’t wait to hear when you get cast! πŸ™‚
    Joyce @ The Hungry Caterpillar recently posted…Health at Every Size Is for EveryoneMy Profile

    • Cora | 10th Jun 17

      Wait, really? Pencil crayons? Do you guys call them something else?! Colored pencils??
      Wow, the empathy exams sounds fascinating. I’m going to look it up. Thank you!!

  10. Kat | 7th Jun 17

    Oh I am SUCH a grass girl. Well, unless its wet – then I prefer a bench πŸ˜‰ But seriously, I love taking my shoes off and just feeling the grass!
    As for the alarm app – I can’t help you there! I wake up really easily and have no issues with getting out of bed [unless sick]. More often than not I feel lazy laying there!!
    Loved getting a peek into this part of your life girl – I may have to swipe this idea for myself πŸ˜‰
    Kat recently posted…Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Crispy BarsMy Profile

    • Cora | 10th Jun 17

      Yay for grass!!
      I knowwww you get up crazy, crazy early. And you find it easy!?!? HOW do you do it!?

  11. GiGi Eats | 7th Jun 17

    Girl, you have to put your alarm clock on the other side of the room so you can’t press SNOOZE!!!! That works like a charm. Once you’re out of bed. You are OUT OF BED.

    PS: your life sounds a lot like mine when it comes to the auditions. My husband is a TV and FILM actor and I am constantly reading sides with him and taping his eco-casts and what not. I too have auditions but not for FILM… Mine are for TV Hosting.

    GOOD LUCK with your audition tomorrow – I hope you NAIL IT!
    GiGi Eats recently posted…Orange Is The New Black… In The Kitchen TooMy Profile

    • Cora | 10th Jun 17

      Ugh. I knoooowww that’s what I should do. But I don’t want to have to get out of bed to turn it off!! Hahaha. That’s my damn problem.

      Cool!! I didn’t know your husband was an actor. You definitely know what the life is like then. Lucky him to have you help him!!

  12. Ellie Pell | 7th Jun 17

    I like where I work, so I’ll take that as an office actually. You could try setting your alarm and then putting it someplace across the room so you have to get up to turn it off. Then you’re already up so you might as well get up. But then again, if you don’t need to get up, just set the alarm for later and let yourself sleep πŸ™‚
    Ellie Pell recently posted…Cayuga Trails Marathon 2017My Profile

    • Cora | 10th Jun 17

      But I don’t want to get uppppppp.

      But yeah, I should really do that.

  13. Kristy from Southern In Law | 7th Jun 17

    I feel like my ideal office would be a cosy light filled space with a huge window and a great view… but that’s asking a lot πŸ˜›
    Kristy from Southern In Law recently posted…Recipe: Healthy Soft Baked Muesli Slice (Gluten Free & Vegan!)My Profile

    • Cora | 10th Jun 17

      Never asking too much when it comes to your happy place!!
      A big window yessssss.

  14. danielle | 8th Jun 17

    I love the variety of your day yet still having structure and purpose. There is so much freedom yet intention and joy, I love it.
    I’ve ran the gamete of alarms and alarm apps. It wasn’t till I had a baby that I actually get up now when my phone chimes. Before it was terrible how often I would hit snooze! When I was a kid my mom said I literally slept through a fire next door to us and my glass pane window was right next the the blaze of activity and fire engines. haha blaze. No lives harmed! but anyhow, I’ve been know to sleep quite deeply. Like in a fog or coma. On the other hand I have also battled with insomnia at times so it’s quite extraordinary to have those two issues but ce la vie.
    I love how you have your dinner then a couple hours later have dessert. I tend to jam every food into our evening meal because I’ve just always done that, and it’s not a good habit. I’d much rather space things out… so I iwll have to wrap my head around this and see if we can logistically make that happen. I like challenges πŸ™‚
    I’m a fan of a nice comfy chair on a blanket in the grass, only because of my spinal fusion. I have a hard time sitting on the floor because I’m incredibly stiff and non-bendy. However before surgery I would have sat on the grass all day.

    • Cora | 10th Jun 17

      Blaze. Groannnn.
      Ha – that’s interesting about our opposite dinner/dessert patterns. To be honest I think before I was in the hospital for ED recovery I had dessert soon after dinner, like you. In the hospital I got set on this damn schedule that its just how I still do things. I like this part of it though… spaces out my evening I suppose.

  15. Susie @ Suzlyfe | 8th Jun 17

    Something that is really cool about Chicago is that there is such a start up and consultant culture here that we have a lot of work away from home spaces–basically, places that you can go, use their wifi, and just work. They have little spaces that you can rent for meetings or consultations, classes on everything from self publishing to budgeting, and cafes inside of them. Those places are awesome. I do love a good cafe.
    I love your dedication to and love for what you do. And I am in awe of writing so many cover letters, etc. I HATE cover letters….
    Susie @ Suzlyfe recently posted…This is not about National Running Day (Coaches Corner)My Profile

    • Cora | 10th Jun 17

      That’s so cool about Chicago. It sounds like my kind of place and somewhere I could feel very comfortable in. More reason to visit….
      I do hate cover letters. I guess I’m getting more used to them now but they still hurt me inside.

  16. Patrick@looneyforfood.com | 8th Jun 17

    So someday when your famous I can say I left a comment on your blog! That’s a very busy day! Love all the outdoor time. Good luck on the audition

  17. Cora | 10th Jun 17

    Thank you!! Thanks for coming by! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  18. Kaylee | 11th Jun 17

    Rather than snooze my alarms, my bad habit as of late is spending a lot of time checking social media first thing in the morning. Any tips on how to say no to Instagram? Nguhh
    Love this post! So fun to get to see what your life looks like especially the acting side–something I know absolutely nothing about.
    Also, I too am definitely relishing the perks of working at a bakery/restaurant. All the free goodies!!!
    I prefer sitting on the grass for sure!! It makes me feel more connected to the earth.
    Kaylee recently posted…Recent Eats: MayMy Profile

    • Cora | 11th Jun 17

      Ugh. I know. I have found that turning off notifications has reallllyyy helped me not spend as much time on instagram or other apps. Without it popping up on my screen I actually tend to forget about them. Its a struggle though. Especially in the mornings. One of the first things I do is check my email. Blegh.
      My bum loves being connected.

  19. Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets | 11th Jun 17

    I like a chair or bench mainly because I don’t want my non-ass ass to get wet or grass stained. These days though it’s all about the grass because the tiny human.

    Thank you for sharing your day in the life. It was really eye opening since I had no idea what an actress does. Also that dinner looks amazing.
    Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets recently posted…Airing My GrievancesMy Profile

    • Cora | 11th Jun 17

      I’ve gone to work now a few times with definite dirt stains on my ass. Ah well….

  20. Heather | 12th Jun 17

    Super interesting DITL! I would love to be able to work at a park or a coffee shop. Definitely the grass/ground to a table for sure. You have so much more self-discipline than I have (something I’m working on), but that’s so necessary when you are your own boss. Part of me worries I wouldn’t have the drive to work for myself because I’d get too distracted. Haha!

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