1. Understanding Your Needs
If you’re looking to pursue your dream: train and work as an actor, and become successful at it, you must have a clear vision of where you’re going. Once you commit to this goal, you must know and wholeheartedly believe that whatever you’re doing is in some way helping you to get to your final destination. Clarity is vital here.
As soon as you’ve decided to become an actor, this very question, “How to fund the pursuit of your dream” popped into your head. If it didn’t, then you need to force in there, because fortunately or not, financial stability is the foundation of this journey. You need to be able to cover all those acting expenses, as well as living costs.
When it comes to money, here’s what you’ll need:
- Save up cash for the very beginning of this career to cover first acting expenses
- Make sure to have a survival job that will help to support your financial needs
- Have some extra money saved up for a rainy day (there will be a lot of those)
2. Budget Wisely
If you have plenty of cash saved up even before you begin pursuing an acting career, then you’re in luck. Depending on how rich you are, you might be able to afford to not need a job and focus completely on your acting career. Very few actors today have this opportunity. However, make sure that you always keep an eye on your financial status. This journey is LONG.
For the rest 99% of actors who cannot afford the luxury of living off their huge savings, you need a survival job. You’ll soon notice that when you’re trying to balance living expenses, social life and acting needs all at once — your budget will suffer. For some rough numbers, see how much actors on average spend in London and Los Angeles.
If you don’t have wealthy parents to support you, then regardless of whether you’re going to train in a drama school or take acting classes in the city, your first priority should be to minimize all of your expenses!
- Find a place to live with cheaper rent
- Research best offers on everything you pay for
- Find a suitable bank that you can depend on in case of an emergency
- Cut out all unnecessary spending
Most of us are accustomed to a comfortable living: going out when our friends call, ordering pizza when we feel like it, buying that dress that we really want. Unfortunately, you will have to choose between one or the other — acting career or a regular life.
In our eBook, we have already talked a little bit about how some people aren’t cut out to become actors because they cannot give up the regular lifestyle: house mortgage, raising a family, going to a stable 8-5 job and so on. It’s fine — acting career isn’t for everybody. You can still pursue it as a hobby though. But you need to choose NOW.
Speaking of cutting out all unnecessary spending: all of the money you save will be (and should be!) invested in good acting classes, professional headshots and cover any other necessary acting expenses. Once again, YOU are the product in this business, and you need to make an investment in yourself. Someday, it will pay off.
3. Perfect Survival Job
It’s much more difficult to have a survival job when you’re studying in a drama school (see below). That’s one of the reasons most actors choose to take acting classes and work, instead of spending 3-4 years getting formal education. Although, a degree in something that isn’t acting (e.g. business degree) would really help you out. More on this later.
Keep this in mind:
- professional auditions (theatre, film/TV, commercials) take place from 9 to 5, Monday to Friday
- auditions for student and low-budget films take place on weekdays’ evenings, and any time on weekends
- professional production filming can take place any day of the week, 24/7
- professional stage production rehearsals take place from 9 to 6, Monday to Saturday
- professional stage production performances take place… you must know that yourself!
- drama school classes take place from 8 to 5, Monday to Friday (additional rehearsals on weekends)
- most acting classes take place in the evening on weekdays, and afternoon on Saturdays
Based on the information above, you are going to need to find yourself a perfect survival job that will both cover your expenses and let you train and work as an actor. Yes, it’s complicated. Financing your acting career is no easier task than becoming a movie star (sort of).
As you can see from the list above, if you’re training in a drama school, there’s almost zero chance to be auditioning for anything, and almost no time to even work. It will have to stay this way for another 3-4 years.
If you’re going to evening acting schools (well done!), then your most ideal survival job would be something like a bartender or a waitress, a job that takes place on evenings/nights. This way your afternoons would be free to auditioning for ALL kinds of productions, and you can also take classes. That’s the best option in my book.
Based on the information provided, draw conclusions:
- Plan out and calculate your budget
- Cut out unnecessary expenses
- Choose the right path, and then…
- Get a survival job that allows you to progress as an actor
It will take some getting used to, but after a while you’ll cherish this crazy actor’s lifestyle. Once you’re transformed, you won’t find the regular sedentary 8-5 lifestyle that appealing. Here’s another short article on how to fund the pursuit of your dream. Hopefully, you make all the right decisions and prepare yourself for this insane journey.