It’s a rare occurrence that us actors get to be just actors. The majority of us need to be available to audition at any moment, while taking acting classes and honing our craft whenever we get the chance… All while paying rent and feeding ourselves along the way. How can one possibly achieve all of this? Well, there are many factors that actors must take into account to obtain balance in their life. Starting with good survival side job.
Finding a job that meets all the needs of our chaotic lives can be a challenge, but not impossible. Ultimately, your side job only needs to meet three requirements:
- It needs to be flexible for auditions.
- It needs to cover all of your expenses (rent, bills, food etc.)
- It needs to be something that you can somewhat enjoy, or at the very least won’t cause you to pull your hair out every time you need to be at work.
1. Restaurant Jobs
It may feel cliché, but there’s a good reason for this famous actor trope… Tips. Most jobs that check the above boxes pay minimum wage or somewhere in that ballpark, but the great thing about restaurant jobs like serving or bartending, is the fact that you also receive tips on top of your hourly wage.
You may not get the tips you’d get by working in a restaurant, but you may get employee discounts. As an actor, working in clothing stores is a great way enhance your wardrobe for auditions at a discounted price, while achieving your primary objective of paying the bills. Most stores are also great about allowing you to trade shifts with other employees in order to cover those last minute auditions.
3. On Set Grip or Production Assistant
If you’re an actor who is actively auditioning for local productions it can sometimes be challenging to be a background performer. Certain productions may bar you from actor roles if you’ve been on the show as an extra. However, if it’s the set experience that you’re looking for, there are other alternatives to get you behind the scenes. As long as your able to put your ego aside and do some heavy lifting occasionally, working as a grip or production assistant (also known as a PA) can be a great way to make a little extra cash and gain some insight on how professional sets are run.
Keep in mind that a car is definitely an asset for these types of jobs. Locations will vary day to day and using public transit may start to eat up your savings.
If you’re good with kids, babysitting or nannying could be a great fit for you. You’ll get your exercise in by running after the kids during the day and you can work on your sides while they sleep.
5. Dog Walker
So, maybe kids aren’t your cup of tea, but who doesn’t want to spend their days outside walking around with some adorable puppies? Early morning, late evening, and weekend hours make it easy to work around auditions. You can freelance by putting up flyers and handing out business cards, or you can look at into some staffing companies (check out Rover.com) where they can help match you up with potential clients.
6. Specialty Instructor
What specialty skills do you have listed on your resume? If you’re trained at a high enough level, you may be able to become an instructor in that field. If your physically fit, maybe personal training is something you could look into. You could also get certified as a yoga instructor, dance teacher, or whatever else you have to offer. You can try your hand at running your own classes, or check in to see if there are any local establishments looking to hire some new instructors or on-call substitutes. Teaching is not only a great source of income, but a very rewarding experience as well.
Similar to our above points, tutoring offers the option to go freelance or work for a staffing company who will match you up with parents looking for private tutors in specific subjects. Maybe that physics class will come in handy after all.
8. Standardized Patient
Want to make some money and stretch your acting skills? Check in with some local medical programs to see if they need some actors to help in their training courses. Local hospitals, colleges and universities often need help from actors to allow their students to simulate real world experiences and put the skills they’ve learned into action.
9. Promo Work
You can find these jobs on Craigslist.com, or sign up with a promo company. You might spend the day handing out flyers in or hosting different events in your area. As long as you’re outgoing and energetic, this could be a great way to spend your days and put those networking skills to the test.
10. Food Delivery
These days, food delivery goes way further than Domino’s Pizza. With services like Foodora and Just Eat, delivery people are more in demand than ever before. As long as you have a car or a bike, you can make your own hours and pick up some extra shifts any time you’re available.