An actor’s career isn’t an easy ride, nor is it a cheap one, and anybody who has been at it for at least a couple of years will confirm this. Actors fail time and time again for many different reasons, from lack of motivation to having a very thin skin.
But the primary reason most actors never make it in this business is the lack of money and inability to finance an acting career they have embarked on.
Not only acting isn’t something you won’t be making a lot of money with for quite some time, it will also start sucking you dry every single month: headshots, resume prints, acting classes, demo reels, getting to auditions, private and dialect coaches, more acting classes and the rest of acting start-up kit.
There are too many things you have to invest in if you want to compete on the same professional level with other actors, with barely any return on your investment. This is why careful planning on how to finance an acting career is absolutely necessary.
For those interested in formal training, we also have a great article on how to fund your acting training, check it out.
How to Finance an Acting Career
One of the reasons most newbie actors do not even consider having a financial strategy is all those famous stories of Brad Pitt and Ryan Reynolds coming to Los Angeles with just $300 in their pocket and then making it big.
These stories aren’t entirely accurate, as the years of their poverty, struggle and hunger are cut out of there. Also, not everybody will get lucky as our mentioned movie stars, which means you should better be prepared for a marathon of this career choice and not drop out as soon as you hit your first obstacle.
Have a great financial plan
Like always, having a great business plan for your acting career is crucial. The same goes when you want to finance an acting career — think of the ways you’re going to do it.
Think of this financial strategy before your move: how much you’re going to need at the very start, how much all acting costs will be, apartment, transport, etc. Calculate every single penny before you commit to this journey. This will save you a lot of headache in the long run.
Get a good and stable job
If you have just moved to one of the major cities, your first priority would have to be to find a stable full-time job; any kind of job will do for now. Later on, you might try to focus on the search of a more flexible position that would allow you to sneak out for auditions.
During your first year, a full-time and possibly a good paying job should be an essential task to accomplish. In order to finance an acting career, you need funds. You’ll be investing a lot at the initial stages, which means a stable source of income is vital. Think of a good pay and stability first, and flexibility later, in your first year.
Do not be one of those actors who avoid any kind of work because they are trying to keep themselves available for auditions. If you’ve read our Acting in London handbook (available below), you’ll know how long it normally takes to even start making some money from this career choice you’ve made.
When you decide to go the “I’m the next overnight success” route, you’ll burn out and forget about ever pursuing this dream of yours before you know it. Be smart, not naive.
Save up, and then save up some more
Like it was said before, saving up as much money as you possibly can should be your priority number one before the big move. If you’re already in the city that you’re about to pursue an acting career in — that’s great.
Maybe it’s fair to assume that you have a stable job and an apartment, but you still need to consider having a financial plan when you completely commit to this pursuit of your dream. For those about to move to a different place, spending a little more time in hometown, working full-time to save some extra cash will never be a bad idea.
Some of you might find these encouragements on planning and saving to finance an acting career redundant. Do your ambitions and burning desire feels like it will push you through any obstacle in order to become a working actor? Stop thinking in this direction.
Unfortunately, this is how most actors felt whenever they moved to London, LA or NYC. Yes, most of them did. But these big, costly cities, with the help of cruel entertainment industry, break down people slowly and with pleasure. Do yourself a favor and start tackling this journey not only with big ambitions, but with smart choices, too.