We are actors, dancers, singers, aerialist, directors, creatives with passion. We are not born to be behind a desk, to join the 9 to 5 commuter crew. We are however also law abiding citizens and need to pay bills and taxes. That's one thing we can't create our way out of... legally.
So we find a job to pay the bills. Or loads of jobs in my case.
My family think I'm crazy for not having a consistent, stable income. But I always have an income. No matter what, I pay my bills, buy my food, swipe for my travel, go to the theatre and take class from the money I have accumulated over time. Since moving to London I haven't been unemployed for anything more than two weeks and am never just doing one job. And I love it that way!
It seems chaotic - lord knows it could be but I have three diaries. That's right three! One on my phone, that links with a separate one on my laptop and in my hand written diary. Yes we want to create masterpieces with wanton abandon but we also want to hone our skills in pricey but worthwhile classes. Being organised is essential to take on the world.
Fail to prepare?
Prepare to fail.
In the past two months alone I have worked for FOUR different companies in four very, VERY different places, all who pay different rates and at different times. I never expect anything. I just arrive early, do my job well, behave myself (mostly) and move onto the next. That being said I have been lucky enough to have been called back to different companies some offering promotions and even some making fantastic friends.
Aside from being paid the other benefit of having a plethora of jobs is the people you meet. My friend says he doesn't network, he makes friends which I think is a great way to approach not only this industry but just life in general. Be pleasant to everyone you come across because you never know who they might be. Don't think how could this benefit me just do your best in that moment and life will do the rest. I've been asked to recommend friends for work and have had others recommend me all because our hardworking, happy reputations proceed us.
But yes, the main benefit is that dollar dollar so just be sensible. Find the tricks, use loyalty cards at coffee shops, find the more cost effective times and routes to travel, go to Itsu in its last half hour and stock up on 1/2 price sushi because that money that you work hard for needs to work hard for you. Invest in yourself. Its all well and good to do all these jobs to a high standard but then spending all your money on pornstar martinis and holidays to Tenerife kind of defeats the point. Whatever pay I get be it a £50 cash in hand job or a healthy monthly wage 20% is automatically saved. Obviously then rent, bills and travel consumes the majority of the remainder but then I can use the rest for workshops, plays, scripts and a bit of tomfoolery with friends.
You can decide to either detest the instability or embrace the flexibility or it all. If you're happy in flexi jobs then when auditions come around you don't see it as a welcome escape, or your underprepared because you got in from serving canapés at the Emirates at 3am, or are because your grumpy that this is your first audition in two months. Enjoy that you are one of the lucky few creating your life. Because that's who we are, actorss, singers, directors, writers, dancers - creators.
Phewee its February! A whole month has swooshed by and we're sailing straight into 2016, full steam ahead. I've seen a few 'where did the last month go?' And 'Wasn't it just Christmas?' Statuses pop up. Well, the month did travel through the continuum of time and Christmas was ages ago - so much has happened since!
A few weeks a go I sat with one of my fabulous #positiveposse to discuss our 2016 goals. We had done the same thing. Split the year into months and given each a theme or a starting point for a goal. We decided great minds think a like and went on to talk about how each month we were going to put the wheels in motion for a particular move in our careers and lives and I realised it makes everything so much easier to manage.
Even though I have relaxed massively over the years still at my very core, I am an over thinker, always having a whole bunch of things whizzing through my head at once. You know when you win at Solitaire on the old Windows 97, the cards multiply and come bouncing at you? That's my brain. One of my home girls used to help me simplify it for me putting my life in phase - that once I reached one phase I could make a change and move on. That system is what got me through the final year of uni!
So thinking about these two things I hatched a plan. That each month would be focused on one thing that will elevate my life. From Theatre month to Travel month and Family month too I would create a year that focused on evolving step by step rather than panicking that I wasn't where I thought I should be at that moment. I even found a pocket diary that matched my mentality. Every Day Matters by is now with me at all times. With weekly tasks to bring joy into my life and a few pages at the end of each month to look back at what Ive learnt and I am grateful for means I don't have to feel like time is whizzing by. Because I am filling each day with something fun or amazing, something that is moving me forward. Rather than having a list of 100 things to do and not knowing where to start.
January was my month of Workshops. From casting director sessions, to physical theatre classes and working with motivational TV and film directors I began the year with focus and determination. Not only that but I met some fab new fellow actors who too are making now their time! Being surrounded by like minded people is important for self development. You can see in others what you see in yourself and learn more about not only the world around you but who you are and what kind of performer and person you would like to be.
And once I've got my goals down in writing it gives me another sense of drive. Seeing what I want to achieve written down in my own swirly handwriting is so much more powerful to me than just saying 'Oh I would quite like to do this.' Ticking things off and writing little notes of well done to myself in my planner shows me the progress I am actually making.
So I urge you not to worry about the empty days gone but fill the days coming with exciting possibilities that will carry you forward. Share your goals with you #positiveposse and see if they can help or you can help them as having teammates makes the ride even more fun. Put you life into manageable chunks, some may see things in years others take time to do it week by week, you may feel more comfortable not planning too far ahead and just living day by day. Which ever way it works for you don't let the next 28 days (we got an extra one this year!) go to waste. Put your goals in writing and you may surprise yourself how far you go.